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Smiths fans are neurotic say Facebook researchers

Shyness is nice
Shyness is nice

You may have read that New York Times expose on Cambridge Analytica, the political data analytics firm that has been banned by Facebook because it had illegitimately obtained data about Facebook users, didn’t destroy that data when Facebook ordered it to in 2015 and then used it to target potential voters in political campaigns (like the 2016 Presidential election). In a new story, the Times notes while Cambridge Analytica has now destroyed that data, it was used to build a behavioral model that can potentially predict what a person feels or believes more accurately than a close friend.

The story gives examples via a 2015 Psychometrics Center study which inspired the work of Cambridge Analytica. The study cross-referenced results of Facebook personality quizzes with users’ “likes” to predict a user’s openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism:

One of the studies the Psychometrics Center produced, published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was built on the “likes” and Ocean scores of more than 70,000 respondents who took the myPersonality quiz on Facebook. It found that a person who liked the movie “Fight Club,” for example, was far more likely to be open to new experiences than a person who liked “American Idol,” according to a review of data provided to The Times by Michal Kosinski, an author of the 2015 study and a computer science professor at Stanford.

The examples of “likes” which predicted someone was likely to be “Most Neurotic” were all bands: The Smiths, Placebo, Marilyn Manson, Escape the Fate, and Bring Me the Horizon. The “Least Neurotic” likes, however, were all sports-related: ESPN, its show SportsCenter, plus Derrick Rose, The Miami Heat, and football (the general sport). This would probably not be a surprise to Morrissey who once sang, “Please excuse me from gym, I have a terrible cold coming on,” on The Smiths’ “The Headmaster Ritual.”

More: Liking Marylin Manson and Placebo also lands you on the “Least Agreeable” spectrum (Rascal Flatts and Counting Crows are “Most Agreeable”), and liking Escape the Fate also puts you on the “Least Conscientious” list. No bands made the “Most Conscientious” list but liking “cooking” and “hiking” did.

Liking Tom Waits or Bjork rates you as “Most Open” while liking Cheryl Cole, Luke Bryan or Jason Aldeen ranks you “Least Open.” Liking Gucci Mane predicts you are “Most Extroverted” while liking Finnish metal band Nightwish (or videogames) makes you “Least Extroverted.”

The Smiths did not make the “Least Extroverted” however, maybe because fans know shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.

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