Culture 3 min read

Researchers Predict Personality Type Using Phone Movement

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

The researchers at RMIT University have used data from a smartphone’s accelerometer sensor to predict people’s personality type.

In a previous study, RMIT computer scientists had been able to predict personality types using messaging activity and phone call logs. Now, the researchers are adding accelerometer data to improve the result’s accuracy.

Researcher at RMIT and leading expert in human mobility data, Flora Salim said:

“Activity like how quickly or how far we walk, or when we pick up our phones up during the night, often follows patterns and these patterns say a lot about our personality type.”

The Link Between Smartphone Usage and Personality Type

Previous studies have established a link between physical activity and human personality. Since most activities today often involve our using our smartphone, it makes sense that the researchers would use the data.

That was precisely what they did. From dispersion to the diversity and regularity, the researchers analyzed different physical activity features under the BIg Five Personalities.

These include:

  • Openness: how open you are to trying new things.
  • Conscientiousness: How organized and mindful of details you are
  • Extraversion: How excitable, friendly, and talkative you are
  • Agreeableness: How warm and compassionate you are to others
  • Neuroticism: how nervous and sensitive, rather than confident and secure, you are.

Here’s what the researchers discovered.

Key Findings of the Study

More introverted people showed consistent movements on weekday evenings. The extroverts, on the other hand, displayed a more random pattern – from meeting up with people to taking up other unplanned activity.

Like the extroverts, agreeable people also showed random activity patterns. They were also busier on weekday evenings and weekends than others.

The researchers noted that agreeable females made more outgoing calls than any other personality type. Meanwhile, neurotic females regularly moved with – and check – their phone into the night, and past midnight.

Neurotic males did the opposite.

People with Openness personality made and received fewer phone calls than others, while the conscientious tend not to contact the same person within a short period.

According to RMIT University Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, Nan Gao, the potential application of this research are exciting.

“There are applications for this technology in social media with friend recommendations, online dating matches, and targeted advertising. But, I think the most exciting part is what we can learn about ourselves,” said Gao.

The researchers conducted the study on a public dataset from participants at a U.S. university. Since findings may vary in a different group, the team intend to expand the sample size to prove the research’s effectiveness.

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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