Stanford University

Using human raters to characterize the psychological characteristics of GPS-based places

Müller, S. R., Harari, G. M., Mehrotra, A., Matz, S., Khambatta, K., Musolesi, M., Mascolo, C., Gosling, S. D., & Rentfrow, P. J. (2017) Using human raters to characterize the psychological characteristics of GPS-based places. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (UbiComp ’17). 157-160.

Abstract

This paper showcases an approach to combining smart-phone sensing technology, web mapping services, and psychological assessments to enhance our understanding of the psychological characteristics of places. For two weeks, twenty-six students used a smartphone app that passively collected GPS sensor data. Human raters then characterized their most frequently visited places on a number of psychological characteristics, such as ambience (e.g. how safe, urban, lively a place was perceived) and personality (e.g. a place’s perceived extroversion and conscientiousness). We explored the relationship between these place characteristics and participants own personality traits, showing how the personality traits of the average visitor to a location can be similar or different from the place’s characteristics. We conclude with a discussion of how this approach can be used in future research on places.