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Finding the Twitter psychopath ratio

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The accidental psychological foibles of celebrities and colleagues are entertaining by-products of social media. Now a new study aims to nail a link between various psychopathic behaviours and tweeting.

A "small group of expert volunteers, called The Online Privacy Foundation, has used Kaggle, an Australian crowdsourcing and data mining platform, to assist in the research.

The Twitter Big 5 Experiment, is a follow up research conducted last year on Facebook usage, which revealed statistical links between an individual’s personality type and his Facebook activity.

The Foundation says the intention of the research is to separate fact from fiction and examine what can be predicted by social media use and how this information might be used, for good or bad.

The Twitter research involved an open online competition for the development of the best predictive algorithms, using a data set of three million Tweets and the personality profiles of 3,000 volunteer Tweeters.

The anonymous data included information including retweet frequency, tweeting frequency, ratio of friends to followers, number of celeb accounts followed and the answers to a “Big 5” questionnaire which measures Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability. The survey also looks for traces of Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism.

The 46-day competition started on May 15 and closed on June 29. More than 1000 entries were submitted and the participant with the most accurate solution will get a $1000 prize. Results have yet to be posted. ®

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