Can (Should) Social Media Be Used to Identify Psychopaths?
By Kashmir Hill | Forbes.com
Peopleís 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 ďhate.Ē Using the word ďwe.Ē Using periods. Using filler words such as ďblahĒ and ďI meanĒ and ďum.Ē
(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 ďThe Prince.Ē Which may well be an accurate assessment.)
ďThe FBI could use this to flag potential wrongdoers, but I think itís much more compelling for psychologists to use to understand large communities of people,Ē 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.
ďIt led to a lot of sensational headlines,Ē says Sumner. ďThe next obvious stage was the application of the study to peopleís social media usage.Ē
One of the articles to come out was: ďCan twitter help expose psychopath killersí traits?Ē
Sumner wanted to find out whether that was actually a possibility. As you may imagine, based on his organizationís name, heís concerned about the intrusion on privacy posed by developments like this and the impact they will have on peopleís enjoyment of the Internet. Klout, which rates Twitter usersí influence, gave rise to Klouchebag, which rates their, um, ďklouchiness.Ē This study could theoretically give rise to a ďKlychopathĒ rating. Talking to him, I got the sense that he hoped the study would disprove the usefulness of this type of analysis. But that didnít turn out to be the case.
The research team recruited regular Twitter users to take part in the study. Those efforts were helped by British actor/comedian Stephen Fry and skateboarder Tony Hawk who each tweeted about it, and sent users to BigFive.me, where participants took a personality test which rated them from 1-5 for eight traits, including the ďdark triad: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism,Ē says Sumner. Over 3,000 users then allowed their public tweets to be downloaded for study ó Incentive: one lucky participant won an iPad ó and over 2,900 of those were put into a data-set that the Online Privacy Foundation turned over to Kaggle users to work their big data magic on. Of the 2,900, about 41 users were certifiable, i.e., rated high for all of the nasty traits. Everyone else fell in a spectrum. (We all have these traits, to a greater or lesser extent.)
To determine their degree of darkness, participants were asked to say whether they agreed with statements like these:
Payback needs to be quick and nasty.
I like to pick on losers.
I have been compared to famous people.
I insist on getting the respect I deserve.
You should wait for the right time to get back at people.
Most people are suckers.
ďJust because someone scores highly doesnít mean theyíre criminally minded,Ē says Sumner. ďUsing this to try to spot someone whoís going to commit a crime is going to result in catching people who arenít going to. But in general itís interesting. You can use it to look at large groups of people and ask are we becoming more antisocial?Ē
ďWe do realize that in the future it might be used,Ē he says, pointing to some programs ó not necessarily involving social media ó that are already in place to predict crimes, including Floridaís use of IBM technology to predict whether juvenile delinquents will offend again. ďOur default position is that itís a bad thing.Ē
Read the full article at: forbes.com
Also tune into Red Ice Radio:
Thomas Sheridan - The Labyrinth of the Psychopath & The Intraspecies Predators
Mike Cross - Hour 1 - Philosophy of a Psychopathic Society
Rauni-Leena Luukanen-Kilde - Depopulation, Mind Control & Out-Of-Body Experiences
Mike Cross - Hour 2 - Template of Conformity & The Psychopathís Utopia
Kevin P Miller - Generation Rx, SSRIís & Happy Pills
Why (Some) Psychopaths Make Great CEOs
Pre-Crime: police predicting crime before it occurs
Four Arrested for Preparing Terror Crimes in Gothenburg - Swedish "pre-crime" in action
Terrorist "pre-crime" detector field tested in United States
Pre-Crime? Try Pre-Diagnose and Pre-Drug: Psychiatrists Target Infants as Mental Patients
Can a Kid Be a Psychopath?
Psychopaths and The Multicultural Myth
Are Psychopaths ďBrain DamagedĒ?
Speech patterns: 5 ways to spot a psychopath
Psychopaths Run The World
Why women really do love self-obsessed psychopaths
Does Facebook attract Narcissists Or Turn Us Into Them?
The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality
The Secret of the Cult of Narcissism
The Prince by Machiavelli - Cliff Notes
Psychopaths - Dead Giveaways (satire)
Forensic Psychology: Criminal Psychopathy
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