Dramatic Sunset

David StillwellDr. David Stillwell

Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Deputy Director
The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge

E-Mail: [Please enable images to view e-mail address]
Phone: [Please enable images to view phone number]
Twitter: @david_stillwell
Linkedin: View Profile
Google Scholar: View Profile


While researching for my PhD in cognitive decision-making, I founded and programmed a Facebook application called myPersonality that provides real psychological questionnaires and gives users feedback on their results. More than 6 million individuals have taken a questionnaire. As Deputy Director of the Psychometrics Centre in Cambridge University I currently collaborate with researchers in different disciplines to mine the myPersonality database for interesting research findings. In future I would like to combine cognitive research with online research methods in order to measure individual differences in cognition on a large scale.

I am open to working with commercial companies, both to put research findings into practice and to take advantage of the different resources that companies can bring to bear on research problems. I collaborate with the machine learning group at Microsoft Research, and I also created a digital exhibit called Mirror with creative agency RKCR/Y&R for the National Media Museum. I am a founder of a startup which improves marketing by adding an understanding of the personality of customers, and I have spoken at several business conferences on this topic.

I interviewed on CNN, Sky News, and various radio stations including BBC World Business Report about my Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article linking Facebook Likes with intimate personal traits [watch coverage]. The article was listed in the top 10 most influential papers of 2013 by Altmetric.

2015 - Present Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
2014 - Present Deputy Director
The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge
2012 - 2014 Research Associate
The Psychometrics Centre, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge
2008 - 2011 Ph.D. in the area of decision-making [Thesis]
Funded by a European Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentship
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham with Dr Richard Tunney
2007 - 2008 M.Sc. (with merit) Psychological Research Methods
Funded by a European Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentship
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham
2004 - 2007 B.Sc. Hons (first class) Psychology
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham
2007 - 2012 Founder and Developer of web application myPersonality
Installed by millions of users worldwide.
2004 - 2012 Freelance Web Designer
Sites such as Q-Active, Midlands Nordic Walking, Linda's Nailz and Beauty, and Handmade By Hannah.
Feb - Apr 2011 Consultant for Microsoft Research in Cambridge
Creating an app to explore online data collection for behavioral game theory, supervised by Thore Graepel in the machine learning group.
2007 Consultant to Taptu Ltd
Set up and optimised their Facebook application promoting their mobile search

Peer Reviewed Journal/Conference Publications

Kosinski, M., Matz, S., Gosling, S., Popov, V., Stillwell, D. (in press). Facebook as a Social Science Research Tool: Opportunities, Challenges, Ethical Considerations and Practical Guidelines. American Psychologist.

Aghaee, S., Blackwell, A., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell D. (in press). Personality and Intrinsic Motivational Factors in End-User Programming. Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC).

Liu, P., Tov, W., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J. & Qiu, L. (in press) Do Facebook Status Updates Reflect Subjective Well-being? Valence and Time Matter, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Greenberg, D.M., Baron-Cohen, S., Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M. & Rentfrow, P.J. (2015) Musical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles. PLoS ONE

Schwartz, A., Park, G. J., Sap, M., Weingarten, E., Eichstaedt, J., Kern, M.L., Stillwell, D., Kosinski, M., Berger, J., Seligman, M. & Ungar, L.H. (2015) Living in the Past, Present, or Future: Extracting Human Temporal Orientation through Facebook. Proceedings of North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics Conference (NAACL).

Boyd, R. L., Wilson, S. R., Pennebaker, J. W., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. J., & Mihalcea, R. (in press) Values in words: Using language to evaluate and understand personal values. Proceedings of the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM).

Youyou, W., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2015) Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans. Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. [Link]

Wilmot, M.P., DeYoung C.G., Stillwell, D. & Kosinski, M. (2015) Self-Monitoring and the Metatraits. Journal of Personality. [Link]

Farnadi, G., Sitaraman, G., Sushmita, S., Celli, F., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., Davalos, S., Moens, M-F. & De Cock, M. (in press) Computational Personality Recognition in Social Media. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction: The Journal of Personalization Research (UMUAI)

Collins, S., Sun, Y., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. & Markuzon, N. (2015) Are You Satisfied with Life?: Predicting Satisfaction with Life from Facebook. Proceedings of 2015 International Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling and Prediction Conference.

Na, J., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D.J. (2014) When a New Tool Is Introduced in Different Cultural Contexts Individualism-Collectivism and Social Network on Facebook. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Schwartz, A., Eichstaedt, J., Sap, M., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2014) Developing Age and Gender Predictive Lexica over Social Media. Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Park, G., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., Eichstaedt, J., Schwartz, A., Kern, P., Ungar, L. & Seligman, M. (2014) Automatic Personality Assessment through Social Media Language. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP)

Rife, S.C., Cate, K. L. , Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2014) Participant recruitment and data collection through Facebook: The role of personality factors. International Journal of Social Research Methodology (IJSRM)

Bachrach, Y., Graepel, T., Kohli, P., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J. (2014) Your Digital Image: Factors Behind Demographic And Psychometric Predictions From Social Network Profiles. AAMAS 2014.

Farnadi, G., Sitaraman, G., Rohani, M., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J., Moens, M., Davalos, S. & De Cock, M. (2014) How are you doing? Emotions and Personality in Facebook. EMPIRE 2014 Workshop at UMAP Conference. [Link]

Schwartz, A.H., Eichstaedt, J., Kern, M.L., Park, G., Sap, M., Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M. & Ungar, L. (2014) Towards Assessing Changes in Degree of Depression through Facebook. ACL2014 Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology.

He, Q. Glas, C.A.W., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J. & Veldkamp, B.P. (2014) Predicting self-monitoring skills using textual posts on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior. [Link]

Yarden E., Lathia, N., Mascolo, C., Rentfrow P.J., Stillwell D.J., Kosinski, M., McNamara, L. (2014). The Personality-aware Music Recommender ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM)

Mahalingam, V., Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., Rust, J., & Kogan, A. (2013) Who can wait for the future? A personality perspective. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Kern, M., Eichstaedt, J., Schwartz, A.H., Dziurzynski, L., Ungar, L.H. Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., Ramones, S., & Seligman, M. (2013). The Online Social Self: An Open Vocabulary Approach to Personality. Assessment.

Kern, M., Eichstaedt, J., Schwartz, A.H., Park, G., Ungar, L.H. Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., Dziurzynski, L., & Seligman, M. (2013). From "sooo excited!!!" to "so proud": Using Language to Study Development. Developmental Psychology.

Kosinski, M., Bachrach, Y., Kohli, P., Stillwell, D., & Graepel, T. (2013) Manifestations of user personality in website choice and behaviour on online social networks. Machine Learning.

Schwartz, A.H., Eichstaedt, J., Kern, M., Dziurzynski, L., Ramones, S., Agrawal, M., Shah, A., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., Seligman, M., & Ungar, L.H. (2013). Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach. PLoS ONE [Link | Press].

Cantador, I., Fernandez-Tobias, I., Bellogin, A., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2013) Relating Personality Types with User Preferences in Multiple Entertainment Domains. EMPIRE 2013 Workshop at UMAP Conference [Link].

Rentfrow, P.J., Gosling, S.D, Jokela, M., Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., & Potter, J. (2013) Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [Link | Press]

Schwartz, A.H., Eichstaedt, J., Dziurzynski, L., Kern, M., Blanco, E., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., Seligman, M., & Ungar, L.H. (2013). Toward Personality Insights from Language Exploration in Social Media. In AAAI-2013 Spring Symposium: Analyzing Microtext. Stanford, California. [Summary Paper | Poster]

Celli, F., Pianesi, F., Stillwell, D.J., & Kosinski, M. (2013) Workshop on Computational Personality Recognition (Shared Task). ICWSM (Boston)

Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J & Graepel, T. (2013) Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. [Link | Press]

Hogarth, L., Stillwell, D.J., & Tunney, R.J. (2013) Impulsivity and acute nicotine exposure are associated with discounting global consequences in the Harvard game. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental.

Rentfrow, J., Goldberg, L.R., Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., Gosling S.D., & Levitin, D.J. (2012) The Song Remains the Same: A Replication and Extension of the MUSIC Model. Music Perception. [Link]

Stillwell, D.J. & Tunney, R.J. (2012) Individuals' insight into intrapersonal externalities Judgment and Decision Making, 7, 390-401. [Link | Data]

Bachrach, Y., Kosinski, M., Graepel, T., Kohli, P., & Stillwell, D. (2012) Personality and Patterns of Facebook Usage. ACM WebSci 2012. Accepted as oral presentation. One of four finalists for best paper award. [Link]

Kosinski, M., Kohli, P., Stillwell, D., Bachrach, Y., & Graepel, T. (2012) Personality and Website Choice. ACM WebSci 2012. Accepted as poster presentation. [Link]

Kohli, P., Bachrach, Y., Stillwell, D., Kearns, M., Herbrich, R., & Graepel, T. (2012) Colonel Blotto On Facebook: The Effect of Social Relations On Strategic Interaction. ACM WebSci 2012. Accepted as poster presentation. One of three finalists for best poster award. [Link]

Quercia, D., Las Casas, D., Pesce, J.P., Stillwell, D., Kosinski, M., Almeida, V. & Crowcroft, J. (2012) Facebook and Privacy: The Balancing Act of Personality, Gender, and Relationship Currency. ICWSM. [Link]

Wang, N., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J. & Rust, J. (2012) Can well-being be measured using Facebook status updates? Validation of Facebook’s Gross National Happiness Index. Social Indicators Research. [Link]

Stillwell, D.J. & Tunney, R.J. (2012) Effects of measurement methods on the relationship between smoking and delay reward discounting. Addiction. [Link | Supplementary Material]

Quercia, D., Lambiotte, R., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. & Crowcroft, J. (2011) The Personality of Popular Facebook Users. ACM CSCW 2012. [Link]

Quercia, D., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. & Crowcroft, J. (2011) Our Twitter profiles, our selves: Predicting personality with Twitter. IEEE SocialCom. [Link]

Hagger-Johnson, G., Egan, V. & Stillwell, D.J. (2011) Are social networking profiles reliable indicators of sensational interests? Journal of Research in Personality, [Link]

Stillwell, D.J. & Tunney, R.J. (2009). Melioration behaviour in the Harvard Game is reduced by simplifying decision outcomes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 2252-2261. [link]
NB: I have made the simplified Harvard Game program available for download.

Selected Academic Talks

Stillwell, D.J. (2015) Insights on a happy life from big data. Keynote for 3rd China International Conference on Positive Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing (July).

Stillwell, D.J. (2014) Can digital footprints replace personality testing? Social Media Workshop: Scientific Research from Brain to Behavior, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany (October).

Stillwell, D.J. (2014) myPersonality: Example of successful online social network data collection from 6 million people. Stirling Behavioural Sciences ESRC Workshop, University of Stirling (May).

[ See All ]


Greenberg, D. M., Baron-Cohen, S., Stillwell, D. J., Kosinski, M., & Rentfrow, P. J. (2015, February). Musical preferences linked to empathizing-systemizing cognitive styles. Poster presented at the 16th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Long Beach, CA.

Stillwell, D.J. & Kosinski, M. (2012) myPersonality project: Use of online social networks for large-scale social research. 1st ACM Workshop on Mobile Systems for Computational Social Science. MobiSys 2012, UK [View Summary Paper| View Poster]

Rife, S.C., Mickelson K.D., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D.J. (2012) Facebook Networks and Population Parameters. International Association for Relationship Research, Chicago. [View Poster]

Sun, L., Cek, I., Spindler, S. A. K., Stillwell, D., Kosinski, M. & Rust, J. (2011) Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the 100-item IPIP measure on a large Facebook dataset. International Meeting of the Psychometric Society (IMPS), Hong Kong.

Stillwell, D.J., Kosinski, M., & Tunney, R.J. (2011) You are what you like. Research Showcase finalist, Nottingham University. [View Poster]

Stillwell, D.J., Bibby, P., & Tunney, R.J. (2010) Are people happiest living near others like them? Research Showcase finalist, Nottingham University. [View Poster]

Selected Media/Business/Political Events

I gave a TEDx talk at Warwick University called: Online advertising is creepy; it doesn't have to be. (2014).

I was one of the characters depicted in Privacy, a 2014 theatre production at the Donmar Warehouse by James Graham.

I was profiled as one of the top 30 thinkers under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine.

I spoke on the future of the Internet at the European Parliament for the European Internet Foundation (2013).

An article I co-authored, 'Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior', published in PNAS, got a lot of press coverage, on the BBC and in all major newspapers. I also interviewed about the results on CNN and on various radio stations (2013).

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Professional Qualifications

Level A and B certificates of competence in occupational testing (ability tests, and personality tests using the NEO-PI-R). Issued by the British Psychological Society.

Recent Teaching Experience & Professional Service

Program Committee member for Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology workshop at ACL 2014

Led 3-day workshop on Computer-adaptive testing and Item Response Theory in Istanbul for Bahcesehir University (2013)

[ See All ]

Last updated July 2015