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Study: Twitter Analysis Can Be Used to Detect Psychopathy

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Researchers at Florida Atlantic University, the Online Privacy Foundation, and Kaggle recently invited 113 teams of computer scientists to develop models that can identify psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism (known as the "dark triad") through people's Twitter usage. Each of the 1,071 models analyzed more than three million tweets from 2,927 volunteer participants in 80 countries.

The models examined profile information, the number of tweets sent, re-tweets and replies, the user's Klout score, and the words in the tweets. The participants also were asked to take a personality test that rated them for eight traits, one of which was the dark triad. The researchers generated psychopathy scores based on a checklist created by University of British Columbia professor Del Paulhus. Of the 2,927 participants, the researchers found 41 certifiable psychopaths according to the personality test.

The results show there are "a number of statistically significant correlations between an individual's darker personality traits and their Twitter activity," says Florida Atlantic researcher Randell Wald. The researchers believe they could potentially use analytical tools to identify potential troublemakers at public events.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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