Do our personalities affect the way we use digital devices or is it the other way around? This month, we dive deeper into certain truths about who we are, as affected by our relationship with technology.
Whether we realise it or not, our phones have become our closest confidantes. They hold silly selfies that didn’t make the cut for our social media feeds, they’re where we get to relive intimate conversations, and they’re even holders of our passing thoughts. So it makes sense then that someone would be able to get to know us on some level if they were to get a hold of our phones. In fact, in a 2020 study, researchers found that data collected from smartphones correctly predict personality traits like openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion.
We put this hypothesis to the test and had three people from Team Clozette — Campaign Manager Ave, Cool Japan Senior Business Development Manager Kaz, and Digital Media Manager Vicky — predict someone’s personality by taking a peek at their phone’s home screen. Follow along and see if you can also guess right!
Mystery home screen #1: A hotshot?
Mystery home screen #1 reveal
Mystery home screen #2: A bold, creative person?
Ave: I feel she's a female aged 33-35 because her home screen — nice and organised — looks like my boyfriend's sister's home screen and she's around that age. She’s probably a vegan because of the zen vibes her home screen gives. This person likes to meditate, do yoga but at the same time likes adventurous stuff (because of the life quote). She’s a fashion designer because of the artsy background. I think there's a possibility that she lives or has lived abroad because of the language app.
Kaz: I'm guessing she's a young female college student with a major in literature or psychology. This person seems to love studying and is introspective. If I were to meet her in person, I would easily spot her because of her artsy, distinctive style.
Vicky: I think she's a female because of the calorie tracker. I feel most guys don’t do that (count calories). She most likely is in her early 30s or older because her chosen quote is “all things dissolve in time” and I feel only someone who has experienced a lot would appreciate the meaning behind the quote. Her artistic flair would also likely reflect on how she dresses. Maybe her hair has some bold colour streaks. Or maybe she likes bold colour in makeup and clothes. Overall, I'm guessing she's a very artsy, cheeky, person who is also funny and fun to hang out with. Her home screen background is very bright so I feel her occupation is in the creative industry as well — maybe she's an artist or like someone who draws and this job that she has allows her to express herself. I feel she lives in the United States, because of the Duolingo app which is very popular there.
Mystery home screen #2 reveal
Say hello to Tisha. The panel was way off the mark on her age; Tisha is just in her early 20s, but admits that she has the personality of an auntie. “My friends like to think of me as an old soul and I'm usually the advice-giver tita (Filipino word for auntie; also used to refer to older female acquaintances) of our friend group,” she said. Comments on her age aside, Tisha shares that she’s amazed at how surprisingly accurate the panel’s predictions are. “I'm very big on spirituality and self-awareness, that's why I have my favourite 'mindful' song lyric on my home screen as a reminder for myself. I don't practice yoga that often anymore, but I meditate daily and that totally puts me in a zen state of mind,” she shared.
And Vicky was spot-on that Tisha works as a designer and that she’s into bold colours. It’s also true that Tisha used to have bright-coloured hair and she plans on having it again. “Right off the bat, people who barely know me figured out half of the things that make up who I am and that's super interesting to learn! I guess I can speak for most of us when I say that our phones are an extension of who we are,” she said.
Mystery home screen #3: A quiet girl?
Ave: I feel she's a 22-year-old female. I think she’s very organised, quiet and shy because her wallpaper is very calming. I think her zodiac sign is Cancer — always has a song in her head, always in the mood for some actual Netflix and chill and is a little bit of a drama queen. I think she works at a bank because I find people working in banks really quiet, calm and don’t like noise. They also like things to be in order. So I have this gut-feel this person works in a bank.
Kaz: I'm guessing he's a 29-year-old male. If I were to meet this person, he would look organised and wear clothes mostly from UNIQLO. He has so many unread notifications so I feel this person is busy. He likes to listen to chill music so his work must be stressful so I would say he works at a mechanical or automotive or something very industrial but it’s a start-up because he seems to be very busy.
Vicky: I think she's a female in her early 30s because of the very calm pinkish palette of her wallpaper. Also, she's very organised and has a certain level of maturity, and knows the boundary between life and work (because of the neat "work", "rest" folders) that naturally comes with experience in life. I see myself in her. I think this person would like a simple, minimalistic makeup look and easy-to-manage hairstyle. She wears comfortable clothes and loves monotone kind of clothing. She wants to be social but can’t keep up; hence, the unread messages. I think she's an account executive at an advertising or creative agency. She has a very organised way of lifestyle.
Mystery home screen #3 reveal
We present to you, Jazzlyn. She’s not a banker, nor does she work in the automotive industry. She is 23 going 24 who works as an account executive — as Vicky guessed correctly — at a public relations firm. Out of all the predictions, Jazzlyn found it interesting that she showed traits of the Cancer sign because she’s a Gemini who’s not really shy.
But the panel was correct in predicting that Jazzlyn is a chill person who picked her wallpaper for its calming vibe and listens to chill music to destress. However, she’s surprised that someone mistook her for being a 29-year-old male. “I think this assumption surprised me the most, as I wouldn’t guess that a 29-year-old male would have such a purple/pink hue as their wallpaper,” she said.
As for her fashion choices and working style, Vicky was right again. “My closet is mainly monotone! And I do try to keep my work and lifestyle as organised as possible, so as to be more productive,” she said.
Even though some of the predictions turned out to be the opposite, Jazzlyn still thinks that for the most part, the impressions people got from her phone’s home screen were true. “I think our personality traits do play a part in the type of home screens that we have, as we are spending a lot of time on our smartphones in this day and age. The apps we use most, and how we organise them all have reasons,” she said.
Home screens can predict our personality but they’re not the whole picture
Just like the clothes we wear, our phone home screens reflect some facets of our personality — not just our tastes but also our priorities in life. The apps on our phone’s first page, after all, are there for convenience because those are the things we use the most in our day to day lives. But accurate as some of the panel’s predictions may be, they don’t make up the whole story.
Some gender stereotypes — such as it’s mostly girls who curate their Instagram feed — don’t hold up. The same goes for age-related expectations such as that maturity comes with age. However, it’s not always the case and younger people can surprise you with their introspection or financial savviness.
When it comes to getting to know someone, there’s still no substitute for conversation and spending time with each other.
Next, see how people react to their screen times.