It’s said that our eyes are the windows to our soul. This was once a proverb, however, it appears now to be scientific fact. A study took place that employed artificial intelligence or deep neural network technology to track the eye movements of students and, from that data alone, determine their personality types.
The A.I. was programmed to identify the “big five” known personality traits: conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism. The technology has not yet been polished but the way it works is by finding multiple correlations between eye movement and personality type.
It’s said that curious individuals move their eyes around relatively often while neurotic people tend to blink faster and open-minded people tend to stare at abstract images, something that cannot be immediately understood or mutually agreed upon, for long periods of time. Interestingly enough, the pupils of conscientious people tend to dilate and contract more frequently than average.
The study was a joint project between the University of South Australia and the University of Stuttgart. 42 participants were placed in front of a video-based eye-tracker and the data the machines produced was cross-referenced with well known questionnaires which are designed to predict personality type. The A.I. was able to successfully determine whether someone was extraverted, conscientious, agreeable or neurotic.
This is the first time eye movements have been used as a predictor of personality. Tobias Loetscher, lead researcher from the University of South Australia, said that their main goal is to improve human-machine interaction.
“People are always looking for improved, personalised services,” observed Loetscher, “however, today’s robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues. This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals.”
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