Digital data is the product of our technological uses. Simply opening your smartphone and googling something personal can push the phone to recommend ads related to your search. The phenomena made social scientists curious to see how the vulnerability of generated digital data can offer some insight into personality traits and social behavior.
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To provide some answers to their curiosity, researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich (LMU) conducted a project referred to as ‘PhoneStudy’. They aimed to answer if conventional data collected by smartphones actually provides insight onto the user's behavior and social aspects. The answer? "Yes, automated analysis of these data does allow us to draw conclusions about the personalities of users, at least for most of the major dimensions of personality," says Clemens Stachl, who used to work with Markus Bühner (Chair of Psychological Methodologies and Diagnostics at LMU).
Findings were published in the journal PNAS.
"By far the most difficult part of the project was the pre-processing of the huge amount of data collected and the training of the predictive algorithms," says Stachl. "In fact, in order to perform the necessary calculations, we had to resort to the cluster of high-performance computers at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching (LRZ)."
Source: Science Daily