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Automated detection of narcissism possible

Software reveals language markers in personal narratives









Prominent psychological patterns can be detected by automated recognition better and better: according to a recent paper by the university of Ulm, presented last week at the Interspeech2018 in Hyderabad, researchers succeeded in detecting language markers of narcissism and depression. The task for 220 participants in the experiment was to describe in a written form within 10 – 20 minutes their personal experiences of 2017 and expectations for 2018. Interesting: Narcissists showed a very limited use of numbers and of family, future or anxiety related words.

The authors explanation: a) the lack of self control typically related to narcissists hinders long term projects – therefore „future“ per se is for them associated with fear. B) the egocentrism of narcissists impedes interpersonal relationships – so „family“ is being seen critical. C) anxiety of anxiety is with narcissists significantly high due to their low self esteem.

Additionally remarkable with those with narcissistic patterns was how often they correlated emotions negatively while in contrast those with depression symptoms showed generally a higher use of negation in their personal narratives.

How do you like 2017? Detection of language markers of depression and narcissm in personal narratives. Rathner/Djamali/Terhorst/Schuller/Cummins/Salamon/Hunger-Schoppe/Baumeister, on Interspeech2018.




From the practice:

To make my point crystal-clear: due to my experience a minimum of narcissistic attitudes is not only positive for, but key to professional success. Positive for since narcissism in small doses ensures to a certain extent a self determined life and key to particularly some jobs and functions in the limelight. Just think of actors/actresses, top athletes, female and male politicians or managers, the latter ones having to hold their grounds in a competitive internal environment.

It is the dose that counts, though. Profound narcissists having increasingly difficulties in getting hired – rarely they find in decision making the balance between taking too little and too much risk, often they show huge limitations when it comes to crisis management because of their bias to blame always others and barely they promote top talents since they consider themselves to be superb enough.

According to my observations in almost 20 years most people are not aware if and what insights into their personalities they might disclose inadvertently by their utterances and their choices of words.

So what I frequently have to do in supporting my clients – and what no AI will ever be capable of – is to find ways to decrease narcisstic and depressive indications in their communication and to elaborate on more balanced but still authentic modes of expression.  With this my clients are equipped for their D-Days of any kind at the best – that´s what I am standing for.











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