A methodology for creating and validating psychological stories for conveying and measuring psychological traits

Kirsten A. Smith* (Corresponding Author), Matt Dennis, Judith Masthoff, Nava Tintarev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Personality impacts all areas of our lives; it governs who we are and how we react to life’s challenges. Personalized systems that adapt to end users should take into account the user’s personality to perform well. Several methodologies (e.g. User-as-Wizard, indirect studies) that use personality adaptation require first for personality to be conveyed to the participant; this has few validated approaches. Furthermore, measuring personality is often time consuming, prone to response bias (e.g. using questionnaires) or data intensive (e.g. using behaviour or text mining). This paper presents a methodology for creating and validating stories to convey psychological traits and for using such stories with a personality slider scale to measure these traits. We present the validation of the scale and evaluate its reliability. To evidence the validity of the methodology, we outline studies where the stories and scale have been effectively applied (in recommender systems, intelligent tutoring systems, and persuasive systems).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-618
Number of pages46
JournalUser Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction
Issue number3
Early online date19 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

This paper acknowledges the Northern Research Partnership and the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, who co-funded the Ph.Ds of the first two authors. This work was partially funded by: the RCUK Digital Economy award to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub, University of Aberdeen, award reference EP/G066051/1; and the ‘Affecting People with Natural Language’ EPSRC platform grant, award reference EP/E011764/1. We thank Ana Ciocarlan for her help in investigating the reliability of the personality sliders, Jacek Kopecky for his help in the GSE validation study, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


  • Empirical methodology
  • Personality
  • Personality measurement
  • Research tools


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