Deciphering people’s personalities through their phone movements

Washington: While many studies have said a lot about people’s phone using habits and their health, a new study took into account people’s phone movement patterns and found the relation between the movement and their personalities.

“Activity like how quickly or how far we walk, or when we pick up our phones up during the night, often follows patterns and these patterns say a lot about our personality type,” said Prof. Flora Salim, a leading expert in human mobility data.

For the study, researchers used data from mobile phone accelerometers- the tiny sensors tracking phone movement for step-counting and other apps to predict people’s personalities.

MS Education Academy

Physical activity is proven to have a strong correlation with human personality. Therefore, researchers analysed physical activity features from different dimensions like dispersion, diversity, and regularity.

The findings published in the journal ‘IEEE Explore’ state that people with consistent movements on weekday evenings were generally more introverted, while extroverts displayed more random patterns, perhaps meeting up with different people and taking up unplanned options.

Another finding stated that agreeable people had more random activity patterns and were busier on weekends and weekday evenings than others.
Friendly and compassionate females were found to make more outgoing calls than anyone else.

On the other hand, conscientious and organized people didn’t tend to contact the same person often in a short space of time.

Sensitive or neurotic females often checked their phones or moved with their phones regularly well into the night, past midnight. Sensitive or neurotic males did the opposite.

More inventive and curious people tended to make and receive fewer phone calls compared to others.

“There are applications for this technology in social media with friend recommendations, online dating matches and targeted advertising, but I think the most exciting part is what we can learn about ourselves,” said Nan Gao, study’s lead author.

“Many of our habits and behaviours are unconscious but, when analysed, they tell us a lot about who we really are so we can understand ourselves better, resist social pressure to conform and to empathize with others. Most importantly, being who we truly are can make our experience of life richer, more exciting and more meaningful,” Gao added.

The results from the study were analysed in accordance with the big 5 personality traits- Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism.

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