Keyboard use can reveal how someone is feeling

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Scientists have developed software that can be used to determine a person’s state of mind based on typing behaviour. The software usually turns out to be right when it comes to detecting feelings such as happiness and anger.

New Scientist reports this on the basis of a publication in the professional journal Behavior and Information Technology of the Islamic University of Technology in Bangladesh. An attempt was made with a specially developed algorithm to determine the state of mind of the person using the keyboard. As input, the researchers used data such as speed, rhythm and how often the backspace button was used. By analyzing this data, 80 percent of the time, the user’s state of mind could be traced, a study found.

The scientists had the most success with test subjects who felt happy; the algorithm was able to accurately identify such emotions based on keyboard patterns 87 percent of the time. For anger, the accuracy was slightly lower at 81 percent.

Several attempts have been made by scientists to gauge the feelings of keyboard users. With the research, the scientists wanted to demonstrate that such software can be used to determine mood. In the future, the research will be expanded with chat software, with which the scientists want to find out emotions based on patterns in chat conversations.

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