Eyes really do tell a story.
Using machine learning, earlier this year scientists discovered a connection between people's personalities and their eye movements. They then deployed artificial intelligence to track and analyze the eye movements of 42 students. They announced the results last week.
The new technology can detect four of the "Big Five" basic personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism. It could not judge openness to experience.
The good news, according to one of the researchers, is that this finding could improve how humans and machines interact. If the machine can interpret what a person is like, the thought is, it can act accordingly.
"People are always looking for improved, personalized services," said University of South Australia senior lecturer Tobias Loetscher, who served as the lead researcher of the global team — which also included the University of Stuttgart, Flinders University, and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany — that worked on this study.
"However, today's robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues. This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals."
On the more negative side, this discovery also screams of privacy implications. Targeted advertising could be taken to a whole new level, and websites would have uncomfortably personal information of its visitors.
Here are some personality traits related to eye movements. Which one are you?
Curious: look around more
Open-minded: stare at abstract images for longer periods of time
Neurotic: blink faster
More conscientiousness: have greater pupil size changes
Optimistic: spend less time looking at negative emotional things
Watch where you look, kids!