Putting aside the concept of ‘personality’ and its disputed nature within psychology, the new platform attempts to group subjects into different personality types on the basis of eye-motion. The research comes from the University of South Australia.
Visual exploration is driven by two main factors. First there is the stimuli in our environment; and second, in response to our own individual interests and intentions. It is through the latter that some researchers think that personality traits can be discerned.
Personality traits, or trait theory, is a theoretical approach to the study of human personality, focused on measurement of traits, which are defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. The most widely accepted personality traits are the so-called ‘Big Five’, namely: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
With the new research, scientists have used state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms to show a connection between personality and eye movements. To derive at this, the Australian scientists tracked the eye movements of 42 subjects as they undertook various activities at the university campus. Following this, the researchers assessed the personality traits of each subject using established questionnaires.
The results of the questionnaires were then compared with the eye motion analysis. Where gaps were apparent the system was ‘trained’ to link eye movements to the results of the questionnaire.
According to lead researcher Dr Tobias Loetscher, there was a good correlation, leading him to remark: “There’s certainly the potential for these findings to improve human-machine interactions.”
Such research could lead to improvements to robotics or security systems that involve the scanning of a person’s face. One limitation with today’s robots is that they are not socially aware and they are very limited in their ability to respond to non-verbal cues.
The research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, with the research paper titled “Eye Movements During Everyday Behavior Predict Personality Traits.”