Computer can read your personality based on Facebook likes
- January 16, 2015
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A computer can read your personality as well as your spouse if you give it 300 Facebook “Likes” to analyze, a study has found.
The researchers behind the work developed a computer model that they said could predict a person's personality more accurately than most of their friends and family, just from Facebook Likes. Such cheap, automated and accurate personality assessments could be useful for applications ranging from job recruitment to dating services, they added.
The findings were published Jan. 12 in the research journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“In the future, computers could be able to infer our psychological traits and react accordingly, leading to the emergence of emotionally-intelligent and socially skilled machines,” said lead author Wu Youyou, from University of Cambridge in the U.K. But he and his colleagues added that the results raise privacy concerns, so they support policies giving users full control of their digital footprint.
The study found that a computer could more accurately predict the subject's personality than a work colleague by analyzing just ten Likes; more than a friend or a roommate with 70, a parent or sibling with 150, and a spouse with 300 Likes.
An average Facebook user has about 227 Likes, the study authors said.
The findings build on previous work from Cambridge, published in March 2013, which showed that Facebook Likes could serve to predict a variety of psychological and demographic characteristics with startling accuracy.
In the new study, researchers relied on 86,220 volunteers on Facebook who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire through the ‘myPersonality' app.
The findings provided self-reported scores for what psychologists call the “big five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (or “OCEAN.”) Through this, researchers could establish which Likes equated with higher levels of particular traits. For example, liking Salvador Dali or meditation showed high “openness.”
Users of the “myPersonality” app were then given the option of inviting friends and family to judge their psychological traits through a shorter version of the personality test. Researchers were able to get more than 22,000 participants judged by one or two friends or family members.
To gauge the accuracy of these measurements, the online personality judgments were corroborated with an analysis of previous studies on how people judge personalities. Researchers found their online results similar to the averages from years of person-to-person research.
Michal Kosinski, co-author and researcher at Stanford University in California, said machines have a couple of key advantages over people: the ability to retain vast amounts of information, and to analyze it with algorithms, or formulas.
“Big Data and machine-learning provide accuracy that the human mind has a hard time achieving, as humans tend to give too much weight to one or two examples, or lapse into non-rational ways of thinking,” he said. Nevertheless, the authors concede that detection of some traits might be best left to human abilities, those without digital footprints or dependent on subtle cognition.
Source : world-science.net