sciencehabit writes: A new study of Facebook data shows that machines are now better at sussing out our true personalities than our friends. One of the standard methods for assessing personality is to analyze people’s answers to a 100-item questionnaire with a statistical technique called factor analysis. There are five main factors that divide people by personality—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism—which is why personality researchers call this test the Big Five. People can accurately predict how their friends will answer the Big Five questions. … Compared with humans predicting their friends’ personalities by filling out the Big Five questionnaire, the computer’s prediction based on Facebook likes was almost 15% more accurate on average, the team reports online today in PNAS (abstract). Only people’s spouses were better than the computer at judging personality.
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