Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Behavioral Patterns in Smartphone Usage Predict Big Five Personality Traits

Stachl, Clemens, Quay Au, Ramona Schoedel, Daniel Buschek, Sarah Völkel, Tobias Schuwerk, Michelle Oldemeier, et al. 2019. “Behavioral Patterns in Smartphone Usage Predict Big Five Personality Traits.” PsyArXiv. June 12. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The understanding, quantification and evaluation of individual differences in behavior, feelings and thoughts have always been central topics in psychological science. An enormous amount of previous work on individual differences in behavior is exclusively based on data from self-report questionnaires. To date, little is known about how individuals actually differ in their objectively quantifiable behaviors and how differences in these behaviors relate to big five personality traits. Technological advances in mobile computer and sensing technology have now created the possiblity to automatically record large amounts of data about humans' natural behavior. The collection and analysis of these records makes it possible to analyze and quantify behavioral differences at unprecedented scale and efficiency. In this study, we analyzed behavioral data obtained from 743 participants in 30 consecutive days of smartphone sensing (25,347,089 logging-events). We computed variables (15,692) about individual behavior from five semantic categories (communication & social behavior, music listening behavior, app usage behavior, mobility, and general day- & nighttime activity). Using a machine learning approach (random forest, elastic net), we show how these variables can be used to predict self-assessments of the big five personality traits at the factor and facet level. Our results reveal distinct behavioral patterns that proved to be differentially-predictive of big five personality traits. Overall, this paper shows how a combination of rich behavioral data obtained with smartphone sensing and the use of machine learning techniques can help to advance personality research and can inform both practitioners and researchers about the different behavioral patterns of personality.

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