What do you get when you cross a psychopathic schizophrenic with a meth user?
Eventually, folks tell on themselves.
Using Twitter To Identify Psychopaths
People’s nasty traits have a way of revealing themselves on social networks: in writing. Or rather in how they write. That means an analysis of how someone tweets could reveal whether he or she is narcissistic, Machiavellian, or psychopathic, according to researchers who plan to present their findings at DefCon next week.
What are some of the Twitter stylings of these undesirables? Curse words. Angry responses to other people, including swearing and use of the word “hate.” Using the word “we.” Using periods. Using filler words such as “blah” and “I mean” and “um.”
(I suspect that an analysis of the Twitter streams of many a blogger would suggest they are potentially a narcissist, a psychopath or an avid reader of “The Prince.” Which may well be an accurate assessment.)
“The FBI could use this to flag potential wrongdoers, but I think it’s much more compelling for psychologists to use to understand large communities of people,” says Chris Sumner of the Online Privacy Foundation, which collaborated with Florida Atlantic University and big-data competition site Kaggle to conduct the study. He imagines the algorithmic models his team developed could be used to compare character traits between different countries based on Twitter.
The study came about as a response to a paper published by Cornell researchers last year who had studied the writings of clinical psychopaths and found discernible patterns.
“It led to a lot of sensational headlines,” says Sumner. “The next obvious stage was the application of the study to people’s social media usage.”
One of the articles to come out was: “Can twitter help expose psychopath killers’ traits?”
Sumner wanted to find out whether Read the rest of this entry »