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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 27;112(4):1036-40. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1418680112. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, United Kingdom; and yw341@cam.ac.uk.
2
Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, United Kingdom; and.

Abstract

Judging others' personalities is an essential skill in successful social living, as personality is a key driver behind people's interactions, behaviors, and emotions. Although accurate personality judgments stem from social-cognitive skills, developments in machine learning show that computer models can also make valid judgments. This study compares the accuracy of human and computer-based personality judgments, using a sample of 86,220 volunteers who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire. We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants' Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores. Computers outpacing humans in personality judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.

KEYWORDS:

artificial intelligence; big data; computational social science; personality judgment; social media

PMID:
25583507
PMCID:
PMC4313801
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1418680112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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