By Mike Love, March 31, 2008

Turkers help us answer: what can you tell from a face?

How do photos uploaded to social networking sites reflect back on you? We scraped the profiles of about one hundred people on a social network and had Turkers guess those people’s traits – including age, ethnicity, intelligence, political affiliation, and intoxication. To be fair, we included pictures of ourselves in the batch.

You can see the photos ordered on three axes here:

More details after the jump:

There was mostly consensus from Turkers on guessing ethnicity. Next time we might compare Turker opinion against the profiles’ self-reported ethnicity.

The median error on guessing age was 2 years too young – which makes sense, as the photos were likely taken a year or two ago. Some of the larger negative errors appear to be on photos of 30- and 40-year-olds from high school. Here is a histogram for the error on the guesses:


Unsurprisingly, perceived intelligence correlates with perceived age.


As you can tell we are mostly having fun with this set of questions, but we have some good ideas on how to refine the experiment. If you’re interested in being analyzed in the next round, join the Dolores Labs Facebook group.

Look for some intoxication analysis in the next post.