Predicting personality with social behavior: a comparative study

  • Sibel Adalı
  • Jennifer Golbeck
Original Article


In this paper, we study the problem of predicting personality with features based on social behavior. While network position and text analysis are often used in personality prediction, the use of social behavior is fairly new. Often studies of social behavior either concentrate on a single behavior or trait, or simply use behavior to predict ties that are then used in analysis of network position. To study this problem, we introduce novel features based on a person’s social actions in general, towards specific individuals in particular. We also compute the variation of these actions among all the social contacts of a person as well as the actions of friends. We show that social behavior alone, without the help of any textual or network position information, provides a good basis for personality prediction. We then provide a unique comparative study that finds the most significant features based on social behavior in predicting personality for three different communication mediums: Twitter, SMS and phone calls. These mediums offer us with social behavior from public and private contexts, containing messaging and voice call type exchanges. We find behaviors that are distinctive and normative among the ones we study. We also illustrate how behavioral features relate to different personality traits. We also show the various similarities and differences between different mediums in terms of social behavior. Note that all behavioral features are based on statistical properties of the number and the time of social actions and do not consider the textual content. As a result, they can be applied in many different settings. Furthermore, our findings show us how behavioral features can be customized to a specific medium and personality trait.


Personality Trait Social Behavior Broadcast Message Social Circle Voice Call 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research was sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-09-2-0053. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the US Government. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation here on.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.College of Information StudiesUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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