Getting Personal : A Deep Learning Artifact for Text-Based Measurement of Personality

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

17 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationInformation Systems Research
Online published28 Mar 2022
Publication statusOnline published - 28 Mar 2022


Analysts, managers, and policymakers are interested in predictive analytics capable of offering better foresight. It is generally accepted that in forecasting scenarios involving organizational policies or consumer decision making, personal characteristics, including personality, may be an important predictor of downstream outcomes. The inclusion of personality features in forecasting models has been hindered by the fact that traditional measurement mechanisms are often infeasible. Text-based personality detection has garnered attention because of the public availability of digital textual traces. However, the text machine learning space has bifurcated into two branches: feature-based methods relying on manually crafted human intuition, or deep learning language models that leverage big data and compute, the main commonality being that neither branch generates accurate personality assessments, thereby making personality measures infeasible for downstream forecasting applications. In this study, we propose DeepPerson, a design artifact for text-based personality detection that bridges these two branches by leveraging concepts from relevant psycholinguistic theories in conjunction with advanced deep learning strategies. DeepPerson incorporates novel transfer learning and hierarchical attention network methods that use psychological concepts and data augmentation in conjunction with person-level linguistic information. We evaluate the utility of the proposed artifact using an extensive design evaluation on three personality data sets in comparison with state-of-the-art methods proposed in academia and industry. DeepPerson can improve detection of personality dimensions by 10-20 percentage points relative to the best comparison methods. Using case studies in the finance and health domains, we show that more accurate text-based personality detection can translate into significant improvements in downstream applications such as forecasting future firm performance or predicting pandemic infection rates. Our findings have important implications for research at the intersection of design and data science, and practical implications for managers focused on enabling, producing, or consuming predictive analytics.

Research Area(s)

  • personality text mining, predictive analytics, deep learning, design science, NLP, psychometrics, DESIGN FRAMEWORK, SOCIAL MEDIA, FIRM PERFORMANCE, UPPER ECHELONS, CLASSIFICATION, ANALYTICS, LANGUAGE, SYSTEM, IMPACT, RECOGNITION