IBM Watson analyzes your personality based on your emails or other writing

No need to pay for psychoanalysis when IBM's cognitive system will tell you the type of person you are

ibm watson email personality
Credit: Melanie Pinola

IBM Watson, the system that processes information more like a human than a computer, has a new trick up its sleeve: Analyzing your personality or other people's personality based on what they write.

This means you can paste in some text from an email from your boss, text from a speech by a political figure, a tweet from a celebrity, or your own journal writings to measure their personality. Watson uses linguistic analytics to generate these insights.

I tested it out using a 1300-word draft of an article I'm writing, a review of a book on JavaScript. I expected Watson to tell me I'm boring and wordy. Instead, I got this analysis:

You are shrewd, skeptical and tranquil.

You are unstructured: you do not make a lot of time for organization in your daily life. You are imaginative: you have a wild imagination. And you are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them.

Experiences that give a sense of prestige hold some appeal to you.

You consider achieving success to guide a large part of what you do: you seek out opportunities to improve yourself and demonstrate that you are a capable person. You are relatively unconcerned with taking pleasure in life: you prefer activities with a purpose greater than just personal enjoyment.


The results go deeper than the kind of summary above, with percentages for specific traits like imagination, intellect, cheerfulness, sympathy, fiery, self-consciousness, and orderliness.

The personality assessment is based on a comparison to people in IBM's surveys and definitely depends on the nature of the writing excerpt you use. (I tried another writing sample from a psychology post I wrote about jealousy, and Watson told me I am melancholy and have a fiery temper.)

Mashable ran the tests using public figures: Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and Nick Denton, noting some fitting and not-so-fitting results.

Obviously, this kind of analysis should be taken with a grain of salt, but it's still a fun parlor game to play with words from either people you know or people in the public eye.

(By the way, I just ran the text in this post and am told by Watson that I am heartfelt, somewhat insensitive, opinionated, proud, cautious of others, carefree, and concerned with purposes greater than just personal enjoyment. Thanks, Watson!)

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