If there are two things I love, it’s writing and personality assessments.
The scientific validity of these assessments, including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, is always a matter of debate, but it’s hard to deny that it’s just damn fun to answer a few questions and generate a report telling you “who you are.” Maybe it’s the counselor in me, but I think the masses agree. Why else would horoscopes and Buzzfeed quizzes be so popular?
But this particular one is especially for the writers out there. The IBM Watson Personality Insights service, launched this past summer, “uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through blogs, tweets, forum posts, and more.”
You might recall IBM’s Watson from when it competed on (and won) Jeopardy, showing it’s not a programmed robot, but rather can respond to natural language. For a more thorough explanation, please visit the link above to watch a video about it because there is a reason this blog is not called “Journey to Silicon Valley.”
The Personality Insights service claims to analyze your writing about “personal experiences, thoughts and responses” to generate a brief profile of some of your personality traits. I had to give it a try.
The IBM website says it needs 3,500-6,000 words for the results to be statistically significant, but I haven’t written a dissertation lately so my submissions are not that long. Still, the results were pretty hilarious and not completely off base.
You are sentimental.
You are empathetic: you feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. You are organized: you feel a strong need for structure in your life. And you are uncompromising: you think it is wrong to take advantage of others to get ahead.
Your choices are driven by a desire for well-being.
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. You are relatively unconcerned with achieving success: you make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents.
Awww, I’m so nice!
Now, when I put in a long work email, Watson found me to be a bit more pragmatic:
You are a bit compulsive, sentimental and can be perceived as dependent.
You are intermittent: you have a hard time sticking with difficult tasks for a long period of time. You are unconcerned with art: you are less concerned with artistic or creative activities than most people who participated in our surveys. And you are proud: you hold yourself in high regard, satisfied with who you are.
You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of efficiency.
You are relatively unconcerned with both tradition and taking pleasure in life. You care more about making your own path than following what others have done. And you prefer activities with a purpose greater than just personal enjoyment.
Apparently Watson sees a difference in my personal and professional selves. There is probably some truth to that, at least in the way I communicate. Obviously the level of personal reflection that comes through in a blog post is going to be deeper than in a work email.
I do think it’s interesting that “sentimental” is listed in the first line in both reports. Have you been watching commercials with me, Watson?
As IBM is a little different than a Cosmo quiz, there is real science behind this, and I enjoyed reading IBM’s research and methodology because I’m a nerd for this kind of stuff. I wouldn’t say my results were spot-on, but based on what I submitted, it’s interesting to see the different ways I may be portraying myself through various modes of communication. I am constantly analyzing my writing in an effort to improve. This was a different way to think about it.
But mostly it was just an amusing way to spend 10 minutes. Check it out and share your thoughts!