Andrew McAfee: The Virtuous Cycle of Existing Theory and Big Data

InsightaaS: Andrew McAfee is well-known as a commentator on the business of (and investment trends within) IT. In this post from his “The Business Impact of IT“ blog, though, McAfee shifts focus somewhat, looking at how insights from a new analysis of Facebook data supports (and extends) commonly-held perceptions of how introverts, extroverts, neurotics and emotionally-stable individuals, and men and women think about the world around them.

In recent decades a ton of research has led to the conclusion that while some aspects of our personalities change over time, others are remarkably stable. There are now pretty accurate (we think) pencil-and-paper tests you can take that will give an accurate measure of how extraverted you are, how neurotic, and so on.

I just learned via Facebook and Business Insider (!?!?) about a fantastic study —  “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” – that used the Facebook statuses of about 75,000 people to demonstrate just how accurate those assessments are. Here, for example, are status word clouds for the extraverts in the group vs the introverts (as measured by existing tests), and the neurotics vs people with high emotional stability (contains R-rated language)…

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