What does your writing say about you?

When we sit down to write, we all have a vague idea of what we’re trying to say. But what does the way you write say about your personality? You can find out…

My day job is at a psychometrics firm. We create and deliver people assessments for recruitment and development. This includes a lot of data analysis. Every now and then I complete a personality questionnaire, and the results are always surprisingly accurate.

Recently I noticed that a competitor firm is trialling a new kind of personality assessment. It’s based on analysing writing; the language used, the way you form sentences, as well as the content and what you say. You need to paste in about 3,000 words for a high quality analysis, but that was easy enough when I copied my last 5 blog posts over.

Here’s what the results said about me. I found it quite flattering!

You are tranquil, informal and unconventional.

You are independent: you have a strong desire to have time to yourself. You are empathetic: you feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. And you are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them.

Your choices are driven by a desire for discovery.

You are relatively unconcerned with tradition: you care more about making your own path than following what others have done. You consider helping others to guide a large part of what you do: you think it is important to take care of the people around you.

If you want to test your own writing, here’s the link to the demo site.

Photo: Dierk Schaefer, Creative Commons.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for sharing that link, it’s very interesting.

    I tried it twice with large slabs of text (4000-8000 words), one from several related blog posts and one from an experimental archeology project write-up from 5 years ago, and the results were fairly similar.

    I do see some limitations though: the report is limited by both the subject matter and writing conventions of the chosen text (both reports say that I am unconcerned with taking pleasure in life: with the blog writing I think it reflects that I’m currently depressed, and the project was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done but the write-up is rather dry – I don’t think the report reflects a life-long personality trait), and there were also some strange contradictions – within the same report I was “empathic and compassionate” and “could be perceived as insensitive”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Haha yes I don’t think it’s anywhere near perfect! Just an interesting exercise. I tried pasting in the latest blog posts I’ve written at work, and the result was really different. It also said I didn’t take pleasure in life! That is damning for work. Research in this area does acknowledge that personality traits are only captured in a moment and constantly change as well. It’s not by any means a rigorous psychometric tool, but was a bit of fun. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m aware that there is also research going on into using textual analysis to detect and assess suicidality (eg Durkheim Project). I can see big limitations in this as well – it would probably be useful to detect who is at risk and who might need further assessment and support, but not so useful once you get past that point. A lot of the mental health bloggers are quite open in discussing suicidal or self-destructive thoughts – it is something we and our friends/ therapists/ psychiatrists live with and work around, and the last thing you need is someone jumping in and overreacting, treating an algorithm rather than a person.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pots of Tea says:

    I think this sums you up perfectly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have very different writing styles depending on what I am writing about and my mood. I have been assessed all across the board, and I usually end up being analyzed as male. Which is not the case. I think the tried and true methods of personality testing are better indicators than writing analysis is. But that is my uneducated opinion, I have no background in the field.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      I completely agree. I think this project is just a bit of a gimmick for the business that developed it, something to get people talking. Scary how fast these algorithms are getting smarter though!

      Liked by 1 person

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