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It’s All About You: Grant Funds Software to Determine Personality Type through Writings

You are almost never late for your appointments.

You feel involved when watching TV soaps.

You feel at ease in a crowd.


You could take a personality test asking these kinds of questions for your personal understanding or, increasingly, for a potential employer to gauge your responses.

While people might manipulate answers they think are advantageous, a Duquesne University professor is developing software to assess personality type through writing samples. The result may be more accurate because of less "gaming," quicker and less intrusive to gauge who might best "fit" a company, as well as useful in author verification.

Dr. Patrick Juola, the internationally known professor of computer science at Duquesne who revealed J.K. Rowling's work under a pen name, has received $25,000 from Innovation Works to commercialize programs that identify an author's personality traits.

Personality types usually remain consistent and can finesse hiring, jury selection, even how health care providers can best work with an individual. Revealing these types from state-of-the-art linguistics and assessments is "taking advantage of technology and leveraging it in a new direction," Juola said.

Juola and his startup, Juola & Associates, already have developed software to identify personality types based on Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. It's a little harder for a person to figure out how an extravert's writing differs from an introvert's than to answer if they like being in crowds.

Innovation Works' funding, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, will support a calibration study being developed by Duquesne senior Liz DeCarlo to further the program's sophistication.

"Like many assessments, it's a matter of scale," Juola explained. "Is the likelihood that someone would prefer one word to another one in 10, one in 100 or one in a trillion?," Juola asked. "Or one in four? I think this is important information; we have to have some idea of how to assess this analysis."

The funding is "extremely important" for applied research, said Dr. Alan W. Seadler, the University's associate academic vice president for research and technology. "It is a great opportunity for Duquesne faculty to further refine their technologies and encourage startup companies in Pittsburgh as one additional way to broaden our impact through creating new jobs in the region," he said.

Besides Juola, Duquesne chemistry professor Dr. Partha Basu received Innovation Works funding to commercialize a compound that detects lead quickly and is more sensitive than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits.

"We are excited to include the two Duquesne technologies in the latest cycle of university technology commercialization efforts," said Rich Lunak, president and chief executive officer of Innovation Works. "Both projects are excellent examples of university research with strong commercial potential. The funding and mentorship will help each move forward from the academic environment toward the marketplace. Ultimately, we hope to see these technologies grow into Pittsburgh's next high-growth startup companies."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.