Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Dean Takahashi reports at Venture Beat that IBM researcher Michelle Zhou says she can make a good educated guess about your personality from looking at 200 of your Twitter messages. The evaluation is based on “psycholinguistics,” or analysis of word choice. “Computers can derive people’s traits from linguistic footprints,” says Zhou. “That hasn’t been widely applicable before, because where do you get those linguistic footprints? Now, you can do that with social media and digital communications. Those are readily available, so we saw an opportunity there.” Zhou says she can perform a personality analysis in a disciplined and automated fashion using the science of data analytics and that companies that use this research could save hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, you can use the technology to evaluate the personality of a company representative in business negotiations. The data can also tell a marketer a lot. For instance, Zhou knows that idealistic people often opt to buy organic foods or use organic skin care product and people who are happy or depressed use different words. "Some would say this is just another effort to sell more to more people. But I think that the better we understand our customers, and people in general, the better we can serve them and help them." Zhou’s analysis aims to extract intrinsic traits, such as personality, values, and needs and it gathers that information by making correlations between such traits and a person’s word choice and activity patterns. “Those intrinsic traits include what motivates you, what you believe, your fundamental needs,” says Zhou."