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Personality Can Be Predicted Based on Social Networking Behavior

Update Date: Apr 26, 2012 12:00 AM EDT

Various social networking behaviors are a good indicator of personality type, a new study found.

Based on a study involving over 200 Chinese students, a team of researchers in China have proposed "an automatic and objective personality prediction system based on user's behaviors on Social Network Sites." 

"Comparing to the conventional inventory-based psychological analysis, we demonstrate via experimental studies that users' personalities can be predicted with reasonable precision based on their online behaviors," authors wrote.

Shuotian Bai, Tingshao Zhu of Beijing's Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Li Cheng of Singapore's Bioinformatics Institute had over 200 Chinese students with accounts on Renren, the most wildly used Chinese social network site, take the Big Five Inventory, a test of the five core personality traits — agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness — developed at Berkeley in the 1990s.

The researchers then analyzed the Renren pages of each student, tracking things like age and gender, as well as the frequency of the participants' blog posts and the emotional content of the posts. 

Cross-referencing the data gleaned from the personality tests and the Renren content analysis, the authors found strong correlations. Social media sites reflect personality.  

The experiments also show that extraversion is positively related to one's status republishing proportion and neuroticism is positively related to the proportion of one's angry blogs - blogs making people angry.

"The automatic personality predicting can open a new window not only for computer science but also forpsychology," said the researchers. "SNS[Social Network Site] servicer can recommend resources based on user's personality in the future."  

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