Eliza and Georgia on their phones. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Eliza and Georgia on their phones. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

What your phone habits reveal about your personality

People who are extroverted, friendly or neurotic use their mobile phones differently, a new study shows.

In a world-first study, RMIT University computer scientists used movement tracking devices and phone activity data to show that people from five main personality groups have distinct phone habits.

Assessing the intensity of use and diversity and regularity of calls, they found:

- Extroverts have random phone use patterns, often meeting up with different people and taking up unplanned options;

- Agreeable people are busier on their phones on weekends and weekday evenings than others;

- Conscientious people don't often contact the same people regularly;

- Neurotic females check their phones late into the night while neurotic males do the opposite.

- Inventive and curious people make fewer phone calls.

Eliza and Georgia on their phones. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Eliza and Georgia on their phones. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

The researchers found males and females had different patterns of personality traits, with women appearing more sensitive and emotional than men. Men were more curious and women were more cautious. The study also found compassionate and friendly females made more outgoing calls than other people.

Computer scientist Dr Flora Salim said adding accelerometer movement data improved the ability to predict personality types on the basis on phone usage.

"Activity like how quickly or how far we walk, or when we pick up our phones up during the night, often follows patterns and these patterns say a lot about our personality type," she said.

The study's lead author, PhD student Nan Gao, said the findings could be used to better target online dating matches, advertising and social media friend recommendations.

"The most exciting part is what we can learn about ourselves," Ms Gao said.

The study, which was based on a US data set of 52 people, was published in the IEEE Computer journal.

 

 

Susan.obrien@news.com.au