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.

Speech patterns give away psychopaths

Psychopaths prone to using the past tense, making cause and effect statements and using ‘uh’ and ‘um.’

Psychopaths prone to using the past tense, making cause and effect statements and using 'uh' and 'um.'

Speech pattern gives away psychopaths

 

 

Psychopaths are known to be wily and manipulative, but even so, they unconsciously betray themselves, according to scientists who have looked for patterns in convicted murderers’ speech as they described their crimes. The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money. While we all have conscious control over some words we use, particularly nouns and verbs, this is not the case for the majority of the words we use, including little, functional words like “to” and “the” or the tense we use for our verbs, according to Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University, who discussed the work on Oct. 17 in Midtown Manhattan at Cornell’s ILR Conference Center. “The beautiful thing about them is they are unconsciously produced,” Hancock said. These unconscious actions can reveal the psychological dynamics in a speaker’s mind even though he or she is unaware of it, Hancock said. Psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and as much as 25 percent of male offenders in federal correctional settings, according to the researchers. Psychopaths are typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion. “In lay terms, psychopaths seem to have little or no ‘conscience,'” write the researchers in a study published online in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology. Psychopaths are also known for being cunning and manipulative, and they make for perilous interview subjects, according to Michael Woodworth, one of the authors and a psychologist who studies psychopathy at the University of British Columbia, who joined the discussion by phone. Criminal Minds Are Different From Yours, “It is unbelievable,” Woodworth said. “You can spend two or three hours and come out feeling like you are hypnotized.” While there are reasons to suspect that psychopaths’ speech patterns might have distinctive characteristics, there has been little study of it, the team writes. To examine the emotional content of the murderers’ speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the “uhs” and “ums” that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying. With regard to psychopaths, “We think the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ are about putting the mask of sanity on,” Hancock told LiveScience.

 

 

Facebook Tell’s Users They Are Being Spied On

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook has agreed to be transparent about, well, the obvious: You are being tracked so advertisers can better aim at you, and you can opt out if you make the effort. The announcement came Monday as part of the company’s agreement with the Council of Better Business Bureau. The agreement applies to ads that are shown to Facebook users, based on what else they have browsed on the Web. Let’s say you have looked at little girls’ party dresses on an unrelated e-commerce site. When you log on to Facebook, you could be tempted with a dress that you didn’t quite buy; it might even nudge you to make the purchase “for your darling daughter.” Now, if you hover over one of those ads with your mouse, a grey-blue icon will pop up alerting you to the fact that you’re being tracked. It remains unclear whether this notification would satisfy either privacy advocates or government regulators who are pressing Web companies to make it easier for users to avoid being tracked by marketers. Jeffrey Chester of the Washington-based Center for Digital Democracy panned the new initiative as inadequate. “It’s time for Facebook to face up to informing users in clear black-and-white — not grey — about how it harvests its user information,” he said in an e-mail. You can opt out of being tracked, one ad-serving company at a time. Facebook joins with several third parties to serve you those ads, on behalf of brands. The company declined to say how many such companies it joined with, only that there were in the dozens. You can also choose to hide ads from a particular brand. Facebook has always allowed users to do this; the only change is that it will henceforth nudge you with a new icon. “At Facebook, we work hard to build transparency and control into each of our products, including our advertising offerings,” the company said in an e-mailed statement attributable to its chief privacy officer, Erin Egan. Advertising is the bread-and-butter of all Web services, including Facebook. Faced with pressure to gin up profits for its public investors, Facebook has in recent months refined its aimed advertising efforts. The company earned $5 billion in advertising revenue last year. The online ad industry wants a system of self-regulation rather than by government fiat.