Social media users tend to expose a lot more about themselves than they realise. A look at your Twitter profile can reveal numerous personality traits and academic studies suggest that you can get to within 10% of a person’s personality score based on their Facebook profile alone.
This is valuable information for recruiters who are vetting candidates, but can potentially be used to identify Psychopaths. At Social Media Measurement and Monitoring 2013, Chris Sumner gave a talk entitled “Predicting Dark Triad Personality Traits from Twitter usage and a linguistic analysis of Tweets“.
During his talk, Chris outlined the 20 traits of Psychopaths and suggested how these can be spotted on Twitter:
- Glibness/ superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Conning / manipulation
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Complete lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility
- Need for stimulation
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor teamworking skills (and regularly changing jobs as a result)
- Lack of realistic long term goals
- A history of irresponsibility
- Poor behavioural controls
- Early behaviour problems
- Juvenile delinquency
- Tendancy to skip bail
- Promiscuous sexual behaviour
- Lots of short-term relationships
- Criminal versatility
Linguistics is particularly revealing. Users who score high for psychopathy are likely to use a lot of swear words, as well as anger words (hate, kill, annoyed). Also more common were words associated with death, negative emotions and filler words (blah, imean, youknow).
At the other end, they were much less likely to use words associated with positive emotions like ‘love’, ‘sweet’ or ‘nice’. They were also unlikely to mention family members, rarely use words that indicate teamwork (we, us, our) and talk negatively about work.
Although the total number of tweets reveals very little, the frequency of tweeting is a significant indicator. Erratic tweeting indicates impulsiveness and as such, psychopaths are more likely to tweet in short sharp bursts.
You can view the video of Chris’ talk below.