User Personality and User Satisfaction with Recommender Systems

  • Tien T. Nguyen
  • F. Maxwell Harper
  • Loren Terveen
  • Joseph A. Konstan


In this study, we show that individual users’ preferences for the level of diversity, popularity, and serendipity in recommendation lists cannot be inferred from their ratings alone. We demonstrate that we can extract strong signals about individual preferences for recommendation diversity, popularity and serendipity by measuring their personality traits. We conducted an online experiment with over 1,800 users for six months on a live recommendation system. In this experiment, we asked users to evaluate a list of movie recommendations with different levels of diversity, popularity, and serendipity. Then, we assessed users’ personality traits using the Ten-item Personality Inventory (TIPI). We found that ratings-based recommender systems may often fail to deliver preferred levels of diversity, popularity, and serendipity for their users (e.g. users with high-serendipity preferences). We also found that users with different personalities have different preferences for these three recommendation properties. Our work suggests that we can improve user satisfaction when we integrate users’ personality traits into the process of generating recommendations.


Human factors Personality Recommender systems Big-five personality traits User preferences Recommendation diversity Recommendation popularity Recommendation serendipity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tien T. Nguyen
    • 1
  • F. Maxwell Harper
    • 1
  • Loren Terveen
    • 1
  • Joseph A. Konstan
    • 1
  1. 1.5-240, GroupLens Research, Keller Hall, Department of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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