Michal Kosinski (Stanford Business School)

"Predicting Personality from Digital Footprints" - Social-Personality Brown Bag Series

Oct 19, 2015
from 12:10 PM to 01:30 PM

166 Young Hall

Abstract: Personality traits form a key driver behind people’s behavior, cognitions, motivations, and emotions; therefore, assessing others’ personality is a basic social skill and a crucial element of successful social interactions. However, based on a sample of over a million participants, I show that personality judgments made by computers―and based on generic and pervasive digital footprints (Facebook Likes)―are more accurate than those made by participants’ friends, family members, and even romantic partners. Furthermore, compared with humans, computers achieve higher inter-judge agreement and superior external validity (i.e. are better at predicting life outcomes). In some cases, computer-based personality judgments are even more valid than self-reported personality scores. I conclude by discussing the consequences of computers outpacing humans in this basic social-cognitive skill.

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