Artificial intelligence provides insights into human personality

Artificial intelligence provides insights into human personality

Street scene, London. Image by Tim Sandle

When it comes to hiring, it is challenging for an employer to find the perfect person for the job. As a result, several organisations will seek to utilize personality scales as an aid in determining whether a candidate is the right fit under the model used.

There are several personality tests on the market. The effectiveness of each is based on the underlying science and the functionality of supporting software. It may be that organisations are looking for traits or skills that are not measured by scales already in existence.

Creating a new scale — which takes the work of experts such as personality, organisational, social, or clinical psychologists — can be time-consuming and costly.

Ivan Hernandez, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Psychology, has sought to develop a way to make the creation of personality scales easier and more accessible.

Hernandez  explains: “As psychologists, there are so many different aspects of personality that we’d be interested in measuring. But the hard part is, how do you do it? How do you come up with the right questions to know if a person is a good friend, to know if a person would be a diligent worker, to know if a person is emotionally intelligent?”

While those questions are typically devised by subject matter experts, Hernandez has suggested an alternative source: Artificial intelligence.

Working with research consultant Weiwen Nie of Hogan Assessment Systems Inc. Hernandez created a framework for using various natural language processing models to assist researchers with developing valid psychological scales.

In the traditional method of creating personality scales, scientists are called on to create a pool of items that may fit a particular personality trait. That pool forms the basis for the scale creation, which is administered and tested before being deployed.

In Hernandez’s framework, a transformer-based language model generates the artificial intelligence-based item pool (AI-IP), consisting of a million new items. Additional language processing models narrow the pool to the items most relevant to the desired construct, such as extraversion.

The Artificial Intelligence Item Pool Generation tool uses natural language processing to create items related to a personality construct to be used in the creation of personality scales. The multi-model framework enables researchers to create longer, cohesive scales from a small set of relevant items.

The framework designed by Hernandez and Nie seeks to help organizations reduce the time involved in creating personality scales. By relying on artificial intelligence to create the pool of items, the inherent subjectivity, inconsistency, and bias of humans is also bypassed.

The development has been published in the journal Personnel Psychology: “The AI-IP: Minimizing the guesswork of personality scale item development through artificial intelligence.”

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