Computers can be better judge of your personality than friends are

Researchers from Cambridge University say that computers may be better at predicting your personality than your family and friends can.

Published in the journal PNAS, the research team tested 70,520 Facebook users by running their “likes” through a computer and categorizing them into five personality traits:

  • agreeableness
  • conscientiousness
  • extraversion
  • neuroticism
  • openness

The participants then filled out a personality questionnaire. Their friends and family completed a character survey about them as well. These surveys were compared to the five traits the computer picked based on the person’s “likes.”

The scientists found that the computer came closer to the participant’s self-assessment than their closest friends had. After analyzing 10 Facebook “likes,” the computer guessed the personality better than a co-worker. After 70 “likes,” the computer rivaled a friend or roommate in their personality judgment. With 150 “likes” the computer did better than a family member. It took around 300 “likes,” however, for a computer to match closely the knowledge of the person's partner.

The researchers found that because people spend so much time on the Internet, it gave computers an advantage. Computers, it was noted, may also have the advantage due to their memory capacity and their nonbiased judgments.

Advertisers already collect information based off our digital footprint, and this may show just how much they know. It was noted, however, that personalities can be much more complicated than these findings suggest.

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