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Your Eyes Reveal Your Personality


Eye movements give insight into more than just sight.

Gazing into a lover’s eyes. Locking eyes with a newborn as you hold him or her for the very first time. The twinkle in Grandma’s eyes when she laughs. These moments seem like the most intimate, the most human, kinds of encounters. Which is why it’s a little surprising that new findings about our eyes and personalities comes courtesy of data from artificial intelligence.

The research found a link between eye movements and personality types, using machine-learning algorithms. In the study, the eye movements of 42 people were tracked as they moved around a college campus, undergoing their daily activities. Participants also took a standard questionnaire on personality type. As it reviewed the footage, the research team’s algorithm software was able to reliably use the eye movements to match to each person’s personality, at least for four of the Big Five personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The fifth is openness to experience. The Big Five is a model that was put forth in the 1970s and is widely used.

Researcher Tobias Loetscher, Ph.D., of the University of South Australia, wrote that the study “tracked and measured the visual behavior of people going about their everyday tasks, providing more natural responses than if they were in a lab.”

Not only does this reveal new information about what our eye movements say about our personalities, it will help provide opportunities to those who are developing robots and computers, so they can better interact with us humans.

“There’s certainly the potential for these findings to improve human-machine interactions,” Loetscher wrote in the research. “People are always looking for improved, personalized services. However, today’s robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues.”

Before you know it, a robot or computer will be able to not only look you in the eye, but suss out your personality, and act accordingly.

About the Author

Kathryn Drury Wagner

Kathryn Drury Wagner is based in Savannah. She’s been a contributor to the magazine for many years, and she loves sharing ways to build a healthy, mindful, and sustainable lifestyle.

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