Can You Measure Personality Through Social Media Use?

Language use is a psychologically rich, stable individual difference with well-established correlations to personality.  A new article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology describes a method for assessing personality using an open-vocabulary analysis of language from social media.  Researchers compiled the written language from 66,732 Facebook users and their questionnaire-based self-reported Big Five personality traits, and then  built a predictive model of personality based on their language.  They used this model to predict the 5 personality factors in a separate sample of 4,824 Facebook users, examining (a) convergence with self-reports of personality at the domain- and facet-level; (b) discriminant validity between predictions of distinct traits; (c) agreement with informant reports of personality; (d) patterns of correlations with external criteria (e.g., number of friends, political attitudes, impulsiveness); and (e) test–retest reliability over 6-month intervals. Results indicated that language-based assessments can constitute valid personality measures: they agreed with self-reports and informant reports of personality, added incremental validity over informant reports, adequately discriminated between traits, exhibited patterns of correlations with external criteria similar to those found with self-reported personality, and were stable over 6-month intervals. Analysis of predictive language can provide rich portraits of the mental life associated with traits. This approach can complement and extend traditional methods, providing researchers with an additional measure that can quickly and cheaply assess large groups of participants with minimal burden.

For the abstract

           

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