In the study of personality, self-report questionnaires have been the gold standard for several decades. However, they only reflect one aspect of personality, which is people's explicit theories of what they think they are like. In contrast, the researchers propose a complementary model that draws on big data analysis of the words people use. Language use is relatively reliable over time, internally consistent, and differs considerably between people.
Language-based measures of personality can capture lower-level personality processes more closely associated with important objective behavioral outcomes than traditional measures. Moreover, advances in statistical methods and technological power are creating new opportunities for studying personality at a "big data" scale, enabling researchers to better understand the fundamental nature of personality.
The study suggests that language-based measures of personality can provide valuable insights into individual differences in behavior and functioning. By analyzing the words people use, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of personality processes and their relationship to objective behavioral outcomes. With the increasing availability of language data and technological advances, the field of personality research is poised for a new era of discovery and understanding. A complementary approach to self-report questionnaires, language-based measures offer an exciting opportunity to study personality at scale and gain new insights into the fundamental nature of human behavior.
Read the research: Language-based personality: a new approach to personality in a digital world