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Proceedings of the Fifth Italian Conference on Computational Linguistics CLiC-it 2018

 | 
Elena Cabrio
, 
Alessandro Mazzei
, 
Fabio Tamburini

Contributed Papers

Is Big Five better than MBTI?

A personality computing challenge using Twitter data

Fabio Celli et Bruno Lepri

Résumé

Personality Computing from text has become popular in Natural Language Processing (NLP). For assessing gold-standard personality types, Big5 and MBTI are two popular models but still there is no comparison of the two in personality computing. With this paper, we provide for the first time a comparison of the two models from a computational perspective. To do that we exploit two multilingual datasets collected from Twitter in English, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

Il riconoscimento automatico di personalità è diventato popolare nelle comunità di linguistica computazionale. I test Big Five e MBTI sono due modelli differenti per valutare la personalità, ma ancora non c’è un vero confronto dei due in ambito di riconoscimento automatic di personalità. In questo articolo per la prima volta forniamo una comparazione dei due modelli dal punto di vista computazionale. Per fare questo abbiamo raccolto dati Twitter in Inglese, Italiano, Spagnolo e Olandese in due corpora paralleli annotati con i due test.

Texte intégral

1 Introduction

1The last decade has been characterized by the rise of personality computing in Natural Language Processing (NLP) (Vinciarelli and Moham Mohammadi, 2014): for example, several works have dealt with the automatic prediction of personality traits of authors from different pieces of text they wrote in emails, blogs or social media (Mairesse et al., 2007; Iacobelli et al., 2011; Schwartz et al., 2013) (Rangel Pardo et al., 2015). Personality computing is also broadening its application to many fields in academia as well as in industry, including security (Golbeck et al., 2011), human resources (Turban et al., 2017), advertising (Celli et al., 2017) and deception detection (Fornaciari et al., 2013). Historically, there are two popular but very different psychological tests to asses personality: (i) the Big Five (Costa and McCrae, 1985; Costa and McCrae, 2008), which is widely accepted in academia, and (ii) the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (Myers and Myers, 2010), which is very popular and widely used in industry. The Big Five model defines personality along 5 bipolar scales: Extraversion (sociable vs. shy); Emotional Stability (secure vs. neurotic); Agreeableness (friendly vs. ugly); Conscientiousness (organized vs. careless); Openness to Experience (insightful vs. unimaginative). In contrast, the MBTI defines 4 binary classes that combines into 16 personality types: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Perception/Judging, Feeling/Thinking. Correlation analyses of the personality measures showed that Big Five Extraversion was correlated with MBTI Extraversion-Introversion, Openness to Experience was correlated with Sensing-Intuition, Agreeableness with Thinking-Feeling and Conscientiousness with Judging-Perceiving (Furnham et al., 2003). A reason for the recently gained popularity of MBTI is the fact that it is easier to collect gold-standard labelled data about MBTI than about Big Five, as an MBTI type is a 4-letter coding (e.g., INTJ) that could be retrieved with simple queries. In a field like personality computing, where data is costly and difficult to collect, this is an enormous advantage.

2In this paper we address the question whether it is easier to predict Big Five or MBTI classes with a machine learning approach. To do so, we collect two Twitter datasets in English, Italian, Dutch and Spanish, one annotated with the Big Five personality types and one with MBTI. We believe that this work will be useful for the scientific community of personality computing to better understand the heuristic power of the two models when applied to machine learning tasks.

3The paper is structured as follows: in the next section we provide an overview of related works in the field of personality computing in NLP, in Section 3 we describe the datasets we used, in Section 4 we report the results of our experiments and in Section 5 we draw some conclusions.

2 Related Work

4Brief overview of personality computing The research in personality computing from text begun more than a decade ago with few pioneering works recognizing personality traits (Big Five traits) from blogs (Oberlander and Nowson, 2006) and self presentations (Mairesse et al., 2007). Other related fields have developed in the same years, like personality computing from multimodal and social signals, such as recorded meetings (Pianesi et al., 2008). In that period the research on MBTI was limited to find correlates between personality types and behavioral expectations, such as job preference (Cohen et al., 2013). Thus, MBTI was marginally used for personality computing until 2015 (Luyckx and Daelemans, 2008); while many works demonstrated the validity of Big Five for the automatic prediction of personality from different sources, including Twitter (Quercia et al., 2011) (Pratama and Sarno, 2015) (Qiu et al., 2012). The most common features used by researchers to perform such tasks were extracted from text, such as sentiment (Basile and Nissim, 2013), Part of Speech (PoS) tags, psycholinguistic tags (LIWC) (Tausczik and Pennebaker, 2010) and from metadata, such as number of followers, density of subject’s network, hashtags, Likes and profile pictures. The rise of personality computing by means of the Big Five model brought fruitful collaborations between the communities of computer science and personality psychology (Back et al., 2010), and very interesting findings came out: for example that several personal characteristics extracted from social media profiles such as education, religion, marital status and the number of political preferences have really high correlations with personality types (Kosinski et al., 2013), or that popular users in social media are both extroverts and emotionally stable as well as high in Openness, while influential ones tend to be high in Conscientiousness (Quercia et al., 2012).

5Overview of datasets The scarcity of data annotated with gold standard personality labels, difficult and costly to collect, was a major problem and the few large datasets available (MyPersonality, about 75K users, and Essays, about 2K users) soon became standard benchmarks (Celli et al., 2013). These available datasets covered mainly English language, while all the other datasets were much smaller, around 200 or 300 instances. In this scenario a dataset of 1500 instances collected by means of a simple Twitter search came out, and it was in English and annotated with MBTI labels (Plank and Hovy, 2015). This demonstrated that MBTI labels are very common and easy to retrieve from Twitter, unlike Big Five labels. Soon thereafter, TwiSty came out (Verhoeven et al., 2016), a multilanguage dataset of 17K instances annotated with MBTI and including Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, French and Spanish.

6State of the art The MBTI model formalizes personality types as classes, while Big Five as scores. Despite this, works in computer science and computational linguistics split between those who use scores (Golbeck et al., 2011) and those who turn Big Five scores into binary classes in order to have a better control on class distribution and easier-to-interpret prediction tasks (Mairesse et al., 2007) (Segalin et al., 2017). In particular, Mairesse et al. obtained an average of 57% accuracy in the prediction of Big Five classes using the LIWC psycholinguistic features, also reporting that Openness to Experience was the easiest trait to model. Verhoeven et al. (Verhoeven et al., 2013) obtained a 72% of F-measure in the prediction of Big Five using trigrams and ensemble methods in a small Facebook dataset trained on a larger essays dataset. In a following study, Verhoeven et al. (Verhoeven et al., 2016) obtained an average of 63.8% of F-measure in the prediction of MBTI on Twitter in multiple languages using word and characters n-grams. Again, Farnadi et al. (Farnadi et al., 2013) obtained an average accuracy of 58.6% to predict Big Five classes on the same dataset using mostly metadata. Finally, Plank and Hovy (Plank and Hovy, 2015) used words and Twitter metadata to predict Extraversion/Introversion and Feeling/Thinking with 72% and 61% of accuracy, respectively. They reported that the best performing features are the linguistic ones.

7The different settings and datasets used by previous works in the field makes it impossible to compare the results. Here, we aim to fill this gap.

3 Datasets

8We collected from Twitter two multilingual datasets, of 900 users each, one annotated with MBTI and one with Big Five. First we collected the Big Five set by means of queries with Twitter advanced search1, retrieving the results of different Big Five tests, ranging from the short 10-items test to the 44-items test. The language of the tweets were English, Italian, Spanish and Dutch, so we replicated the language distribution in the MBTI set using a portion of TwiSty (Verhoeven et al., 2016) and Plank’s corpus (Plank and Hovy, 2015). The details about language distributions are reported in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Distribution of the languages in the two datasets. The x-axis represents the number of users.

Figure 1: Distribution of the languages in the two datasets. The x-axis represents the number of users.

9As expected there are many more tweets containing the results of the MBTI with respect to the Big Five. We use a concatenation of all tweets of a user, and a limit to 40 tweets per user in order to balance those who have too many tweets those that have few. In the end we used two comparable datasets with 900 users each, 265K words in the Big Five one and 290K words in the MBTI one. The classes are balanced in the Big Five set, as we obtained them with a median split from the original scores, on the contrary in the MBTI set there is a strong imbalance in the distribution of Sensing/Intuition and Feeling/Thinking, reported also in Plank’s corpus. In the experiments, described in the next section, we balance the classes of both datasets and test different combinations of the features to evaluate the performance of machine leaning algorithms in the prediction of classes derived from the two different personality models.

4 Experiments, Results, Discussion and Limitations

10Experimental settings We compared the performance of algorithms for the prediction of Big Five and MBTI classes in 9 binary classification tasks. To do so, we used the following features:

  • Character n-grams (1000 features): we extracted from tweets 1000 characters bi-grams and tri-grams with a minimum frequency of 3. We did not remove stopwords and punctuation;

  • LIWC match ratio (68 features): we computed the ratio of matches of the words in the LIWC dictionaries in all the four languages. LIWC provides mapping from words to 68 psycholinguistic categories, including words about others, self, space, time, society, family, friendship, sex, and functional words, among others;

  • Metadata (10 features): this feature set includes the followers/following ratio, favorite/tweets ratio, listed/tweets ratio, link color, text color, border color, background color, hashtag/words ratio, retweet ratio, whether the profile picture is the default one or not. As feature selection procedure we used a subset selection algorithm (Hall and Smith, 1998) that reduces the degree of redundancy. We balanced the classes assigning weights to the instances in the data so that each class has the same total weight. For the classification we compared SVMs and a meta-classifier that automatically finds the best performing algorithm for the task (Thornton et al., 2013). As evaluation setting we used a 10-fold cross validation, as metric we reported accuracy and averages. For the maximum comparability we also reported the average on the Big Five four traits correlated with MBTI (avg4): extraversion, openness, agreableness and conscientiousness.

11Results and discussion Results reported in Table 1 show that, on average, SVMs have higher performance in the prediction of MBTI classes with respect to Big Five, but there is much variability in the prediction of Big Five traits. In particular, we obtained very good performances for Emotional Stability and Agreeableness using a SVMs with polynomial kernel and Random Sub Spaces respectively, but poor with simple SVMs, indicating that the space is not linearly separable. On the contrary, the predictions of the MBTI seems to be more stable, in contrast to the results of Plank and Hovy. We suggest that this different result is due to three factors: class balancing, the use of LIWC and the subset feature selection. It is interesting to note that the reference to others is the best feature for the prediction of Big Five Extraversion and first person pronouns for the prediction of Emotional Stability/Neuroticism. We explain the predictive power of words about death for Agreeableness and Conscientiousness with the fact that this feature is correlated to the negative poles of these traits. The presence of different languages might affect negatively the performance so we ran an experiment using only English (650 users for each set).

Table 1: Results of the experiments with all the languages and 900 instances per each set

trait

baseline

svm

auto

best feature

extr.

49.6

61.8

66.4 lr

others

stab.

49.8

59.6

74.8 svmk

I

agree.

49.6

61.1

73.3 rss

death

consc.

49.8

60.3

61.6 sdg

death

open.

49.6

53.1

59.4 nb

ngrams

avg4

49.7

59.0

65.1

-

avg

49.7

59.1

67.0

-

E-I

49.5

63.9

64.7 sdg

hashratio

S-N

49.2

66.3

68.6 bag

negate

F-T

49.8

63.0

63.0 svm

self

P-J

49.5

61.7

63.5 nb

self

avg

49.5

63.7

64.9

-

Big Five is in the upper part of the Table and MBTI is below. We report accuracies for Support Vector Machines (svm) and AutoWeka (auto), a meta-classifier that automatically finds the best algorithm and settings for the task. The auto meta-classifier used Logistic Regression (lr), Support Vector Machines with polynomial kernel (svmk), Random Sub Spaces (rss), Stochastic Gradient Descent Regression (sdg), Naive Bayes (nb) and Bagging (bag). We also report average accuracy of Big Five traits correlated to MBTI (avg4): Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. The best features for the predictions are: words about others (others), first person singular pronoun (I), words about death (death), ngrams (ngrams), words about self (self), negation words (negate), hashtag ratio (hashratio).

12Results, reported in Table 2, show that the effect of language variety is minimum, given that English is the most represented language in the datasets. It is interesting to note the changes in the best features: hashtag ratio is in English the best feature for Extraversion Big Five, while in the previous experiment it was the best feature for Extraversion MBTI. Here the best feature for Extraversion MBTI is anger, that is a clue for the negative class of this trait: Introversion. It is also interesting to note that words about feelings become in English the best feature for Agreeableness, although the performance decreases a little bit with respect to the experiment with all languages.

Table 2: Results of the experiments with English only and 650 instances per each set

trait

baseline

svm

best feature

extr.

49.6

66.1

hashratio

stab.

49.6

62.9

I

agree.

49.6

59.7

feel

consc.

49.4

60.2

ngrams

open.

49.5

60.3

ngrams

avg4

49.6

61.5

-

avg

49.6

61.8

-

E-I

49.7

61.3

anger

S-N

48.4

68.5

we

F-T

49.3

68.6

self

P-J

49.6

60.2

I

avg

49.5

64.6

-

Big Five is in the upper part of the Table and MBTI is below. We report accuracy for the majority baseline and Support Vector Machines (svm). The best features for the predictions are: hashtag ratio (hashratio), first person singular pronoun (I), words about feelings (feel), ngrams (ngrams), words about self (self), negation words (negate), words about anger (anger), first person plural pronoun (we), words about self (self).

13Limitations In order to compare the two personality models, we forced the Big Five outcome, originally scores, into classes. This is one of the reasons why it is more difficult to predict Big Five classes than MBTI, but it is interesting to note that the performance of some Big Five traits can be boosted using non-linear models. Another limitation is related to the fact that we collected different users in the two datasets, with the risk to have some individuals in one dataset or the other that are easier to classify. In any case, it is impossible to collect data of the same users annotated with both MBTI and Big Five with Twitter queries, this is something that could be done only with a costly data collection effort, that we hope future work will do.

5 Conclusion

14In this paper we provide for the first time a comparison of Big Five and MBTI from a personality computing perspective. To do so we use two multilingual Twitter datasets, one annotated with Big Five classes and one with MBTI classes. For the first time, we provide an evidence that algorithms trained on MBTI could have better performances than trained on the Big Five, although the Big Five is much more informative and has great variability in performance depending also on the algorithm used for the prediction. We let available the files used for the experiments2, in order to grant the replicability or improvement of the results.

Acknowledgments

15The work of Fabio Celli and Bruno Lepri was partly funded by EIT Digital by City Enabler for Digital Urban Services (CEDUS) and by EIT Distributed Ledger Invoice (DLI).

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Titre Figure 1: Distribution of the languages in the two datasets. The x-axis represents the number of users.
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