A new research done by the University of South Australia in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart, Finders University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany claims that eye movements could give scientists a lot of information about a person’s personality. The research team employed various state of the art machine learning algorithms to work to find out how eye movements could tell give more information about a person’s personality.
Keeping the saying eyes are the windows to the soul in mind, researchers worked with nearly 42 people and examined their eye movements while participants continued to do simple everyday tasks while roaming around the university campus. Participants then also filled out questionnaires especially designed by the research team to assess the personality traits of these people.
The findings of the study indicated that eye movements could tell a lot about a person- if they are sociable or conscientious or curious. The algorithm software used by the research team works well and successfully identified four out of the five major, important personality traits, i.e., neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
According to Dr Tobias Loetscher from the University of South Australia, the study can be used as a reference in the emerging and upcoming fields of social signal processing and social robotics by connecting, mostly understudied, eye movements and personality traits.
“There’s certainly the potential for these findings to improve human-machine interactions. People are always looking for improved, personalised services. However, today’s robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues. This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals”, said Dr Loetscher.
Loetscher said that the findings of this unique study will also help scientists study and know more about natural eye movements in real-world environments and also links it to tightly controlled laboratory studies.
“This research has tracked and measured the visual behaviour of people going about their everyday tasks, providing more natural responses than if they were in a lab. And thanks to our machine-learning approach, we not only validate the role of personality in explaining eye movement in everyday life, but also reveal new eye movement characteristics as predictors of personality traits”, explained Dr Loetscher.