Are you a typical biologist?

The market research company YouGov has released a new tool for profiling users of brands and services. The web-based app, called the YouGov Profiler, shows the “quintessential member” of each group – readers of particular newspapers, for example.

The app also profiles people based on their interests in particular subjects. Let’s assume, then, that the common interest of this blog’s readers is biology. Of all the Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), biology had the largest sample size (8692), so we’re off to a good start. So how well does the YouGov Profiler describe you?


According to the profiler, you’re probably female and aged between 25 and 39. You’re most likely to live in the west country and work in healthcare, research or agriculture. Meanwhile, those interested in physics are generally male, are more rightwing in their politics and have much more money to spare each month than biologists. Biology is the only Stem subject where the quintessential person interested is a woman.


The demographics of people who are interested in biology, according to the YouGov profiler.


If you’re YouGov’s typical biology fan, your interests are generally related to science and nature, although you also like drawing and pottery. You like roast pigeon, Burmese curry and chicken teriyaki, enjoy swimming and are most likely to have a cat as a pet. Those interested in maths have less creative hobbies, with chess and board games rating highly.

Lifestyle of people interested in biology

Do these interests match yours?


If you like biology, the profiler lists Xbox 360, ITV and Cineworld among the brands most likely to have your custom. The quintessential group member shops at Iceland, keeps her money at NatWest and drives a Toyota. Those interested in English literature, meanwhile, keep their money at Lloyds and spend it at Sainsbury’s Pret a Manger and Accessorize while driving a Renault.

Brand loyalties of those interested in Biology

YouGov predicts that these are the brands people interested in biology are most loyal to. Are they right?


What about the TV shows you enjoy and the music you listen to. Well, if YouGov is to be believed, you like TV documentaries, and lots of them. Whether the night’s TV pick is Planet Earth or Wonders of the Universe, you’ll be watching. You like Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and (wildcard) Kelly Rowland, and you count 1992 movie sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid among your favourite films.

Two of your favourites: Honey I Blew Up the Kids and Kelly Rowland. Photo credits: JaDangerz/Disney Wiki and Eva Rinaldi/Flickr

Two of your favourites: Honey I Blew Up the Kid and Kelly Rowland. Photo credits: JaDangerz/Disney Wiki and Eva Rinaldi/Flickr


Finally, your media choices. In terms of the time you spend consuming media, if you’re the quintessential biologist YouGov is describing, you spend over 50 hours online each week, but watch less than an hour of TV. Those interested in scientific subjects are divided in their newspaper choices (as a biology fan, you’re most likely to read the Independent), but united in their readership of New Scientist.

Media choices of Biology fans

Do these media habits match yours or has YouGov got it wrong?

Of course, this description is very unlikely to match you perfectly, if at all. The profiler is aimed at companies so that they can find out what distinguishes them from similar brands based on their customers. According to YouGov, the app “does not show the typical fan or customer. If it did, most groups would look very similar.”

YouGov’s results are based on comparisons between groups and specific ‘comparison sets’. For example, the profiler would compare people who like biology with those who rate any academic area. Biology fans are represented by a woman here, not because most people who like biology are female, but because more women than expected like biology compared to similar areas.

So how much of yourself did you see in the YouGov biology profile?

Mabon is a PhD student in Enrico Coen’s lab at the John Innes Centre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s