David StillwellDr. David Stillwell

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

Academic Director
The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge

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Biography

My published academic research uses big data to understand psychology. I previously published papers using social media data to show that the computer can predict a user's personality as accurately as their spouse can. Follow up research found that personalizing an advert to the recipient's psychology is more effective than generic ads.

This research has important public policy implications. Do consumers prefer their online experieces to be customized? How should consumers' data be used to target them? Should regulators step in, and if so how? I have spoken at workshops organised by the EU Data Protection Supervisor, by the European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel, to the Bank of England, and to UK government regulators. My research has also been cited by many governments' national data protection regulators worldwide.

I have also published research using various big data sources such as credit card data and textual data to show that spending money on products and services that match one's personality leads to greater life satisfaction, that people tend to date others who have a similar personality, and that people who swear seem to be more honest.

I am open to consulting for and collaborating with 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 am regularly invited to speak to businesses on the topics of 'Opportunities of big data', and 'How to use customers' data in a way that ensures they are comfortable'.

I am keen on disseminating my research through the media. 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.

Academic Positions
2015 - Present Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
2019 - Present Academic Director
The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge
2014 - 2019 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

Last updated May 2019