ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 571-585.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00571

• ·Research Method· •     Next Articles

Identifying psychological indexes based on social media data: A machine learning method

SU Yue1,2, LIU Mingming1,3, ZHAO Nan1, LIU Xiaoqian1, ZHU Tingshao1,2()   

  1. 1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3Lenovo Research, Beijing 100094, China
  • Received:2020-01-14 Online:2021-04-15 Published:2021-02-22


Modeling psychological indexes (i.e., psych-modeling) is an emerging method that uses machine learning algorithms to identify psychological indexes based on big data. This paper reviews the feasibility of psych-modeling methods based on social media data in the field of psychometrics. Frequently used data types and machine learning algorithms are introduced. Then, we summarize psych-modeling's application to various scenarios together with its strengths and weaknesses. Compared with traditional self-reporting methods, psych-modeling has some advantages, including better performance in retrospective studies, greater ecological validity, and greater time-efficiency. However, psych-modeling has several limitations. For example, researchers need to spend extra time and effort to learn this new method and bear the inevitable cost of hardware. In future studies, researchers could investigate further how user's behavior on social media relates to psychological indexes. We also expect psych-modeling will be used in future psychological studies. By combining psychometrics and machine learning, we believe psych-modeling could make great contributions to psychology research and practice in the future.

Key words: psych-modeling, psychological measurement, social media, machine learning, psychological prediction model

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