Police analyze Facebook to catch you

Researchers are interested in analyzing Facebook and social media to see how you score on a Self-Report Psychopathy scale:
The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media. By analyzing stories written by students and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote. As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements. “This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write. While most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence. Their analysis revealed that psychopaths used about twice as many words related to basic physiological needs and self-preservation, including eating, drinking and monetary resources than the nonpsychopaths, they write. Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University said, “the nonpsychopathic murderers talked more about spirituality and religion and family, reflecting what nonpsychopathic people would think about when they just committed a murder”. Police and researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Unlike the checklist, which is based on an extensive review of the case file and an interview, the self report is completed by the person in question. This sort of tool could be very useful for law enforcement investigations, such as in the case of the Long Island serial killer, who is being sought for the murders of at least four prostitutes and possibly others, since this killer used the online classified site Craigslist to contact victims, according to Hancock. Text analysis software could be used to conduct a “first pass,” focusing the work of human investigators, he said. “A lot of time analysts tell you they feel they are drinking from a fire hose.” Knowing a suspect is a psychopath can affect how law enforcement conducts investigations and interrogations, Hancock said.

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