The way your eyes move is closely related to your behavior and could predict your personality.

People say there are oodles of certain traits that could predict your personality — for instance, your handwriting, your choice of music, your favorite clothes; and that occasional saying: “show me your friend then I show you your character.” Only a few are based in science. However, the standard set forth personality tests, science based, known as the “Big Five” model. A team of researchers used artificial intelligence to predict four of the five personalities by monitoring their eyes movements, literally.

 

Related media: Eye Movements – Anatomical Movements vs Cardinal Movements

 

You Gotta Look At This

The Big Five model personality traits include the following: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism — or simply remember it as ‘OCEAN’ Five.

In a 2018 study published in the Journal Frontier in Human Neuroscience, a research team from the University of South Australia led by psychologist Tobias Loetsher, were able to show how their eye-tracking method successfully predicted four of the five traits (excluding openness), plus something called “perceptual curiosity,” or your tendency to make new investigations base on sights, sounds, and/or other sensory experiences.

Right, this sounds unbelievable, but judging your personality from your eye movement isn’t that much of a news. You could probably guess from your own experiences that a stranger with darting eyes was a bit neurotic, or concluded that an acquaintance that loves prolonged eye contact is extraverted, after all. Previous studies could testify: A 2005 study showed that optimists spent less time looking at gross medical images than pessimists; and a 2012 study also showed that people high in openness spent more time looking at locations in abstract animations.

The hypothesis Loetsher and his team asked was: Is there a correlation between certain personality traits and certain eye movements? But what if the movement of your eyes could really predict your personality traits? What that would mean could open up a ton of possibilities for researchers (even developers) not least of all in the realm of animatronics. What if robots could watch your eyes and know the sort of human being you are, they might be able to deal with your drama better than a person would at the checkout point of a supermarket.

 

Its Just A Glance

For the study, the researchers recruited 42 participants (mostly students) and asked them to fill out a personality test, then put on an eye-tracking smart pair of glasses while they perform a stimulation test designed to imitate a real-life scenario: walking around campus and visiting a shop. The researchers later fed all that data into a computer with a machine-learning algorithm, which analyzed the data and made significant correlations between the participants’ personalities and their eye movements.

The glasses kept track of a variety of eye movements: like what participants looked at, the size of their pupils, and the number and type of saccades — those quick eye movements you make when you glance back and forth as you read. The algorithm categorized certain types of personalities by certain types of eye movements. For conscientiousness, it was all about the pace of the saccades; extraversion centered on the size of the pupils and the number of small saccades; agreeableness focused on how much they gazed at the bottom right of a scene; and neuroticism was all about blink rate. Perceptual curiosity was linked to the variation in the size of the pupils.

 

Look At What You Made Me Do

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Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Of course, these are just mere simplifications based on a computer algorithm — it works with a complex mix of factors just to make its predictions. These factors aren’t exactly that mind-blowing: roughly seven to fifteen percent better than chance. Though this was fairly a small study, the researchers are optimistic about advanced future studies.

“Machine learning usually requires thousands or millions of datasets to make highly accurate predictions,” Loetsher told New Scientist. “We expect it to get much better.”

 

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Apr 20, 2019.

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