Sunday, August 24, 2014

New program can analyse your personality (and a politician’s)

Yair Neuman: Personality Analyzer
Prof. Yair Neuman, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed such a program, and has used it to analyse the views of President Obama and Hillary Clinton towards Israel:

Neuman’s method, which he describes as augmented intelligence, works with any text of a person’s words – from a speech, interview, essay, or online post. The text is processed by computer software he developed. An expert must interpret the results.

Among other things, Neuman has used the program to profile political leaders and school shooters, to predict behavior on Twitter, and to evaluate online customer reviews.

How does it work? You feed a speech you made into the program, press a button, and voila! results arrive which an expert can interpret:

Built into the program are semantic signatures for dozens of personality dimensions, including the ”Big Five” personality types – extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience – as well as emotional and psychodynamic characteristics. The signature of each dimension is based on a handful of words that describe it in the psychological literature.

For example, the profile of unfriendliness is based on the use of these words: remote, solitary, apathetic, and indifferent. Unfriendliness is a psychodynamic characteristic, meaning it has unconscious causes. This dimension of the program has not been systematically validated.

The semantic signatures of the words from the text are compared to those of the personality dimensions. The more similar the signatures of the words are to that of a dimension, the higher the person in question scores on that dimension of personality.

Neuman says his program does not allow him to profile a person’s entire personality – just how it is expressed in context. A person’s true character, he says, becomes clear only with time.

I can’t wait for the day when any discussion of any politicians views on a topic are accompanied by just such an analysis: politicians’ ability to hide their true feelings will be much more difficult when this happens.

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