Cognitive insight?

Using the Watson Personality Insights service demo, I analyzed all of my writing output from classes I took last quarter. Specifically, BIME 530: Introduction to Biomedical and Health Informatics, and BIME 535: the Clinical Care and Informatics class taught by Dave.

Now, these classes, although overlapping on quite a bit of material, were existentially different. BIME 530 was content heavy, and we strove to talk about what we learned and our thoughts about certain technologies. BIME 535, on the other hand, really tried to dig at our emotions and motivations. In fact, the majority of my writing samples for 535 were from a weekly journal, very loosely formatted entries about not only what we discussed in class, but the act of learning itself. These entries were “reflective,” or a consequence of meta-cognition. So I sort of think of 530 as an expression of my external self, the one I want to project in work and life, while 535 represents my internal state, perhaps an amalgam of things that are important to me deep down.

Parsing all this text (about 10,000 words each) through Watson provided the following “insights”:

BIME 530
BIME 535

The output for BIME 530 is on top and 535 on bottom. Some of the results are similar between the two: I’m right on the cusp between introversion and extroversion, I like being challenged and challenging authority, and I’m a bit self-important. And some of the differences are also expected, i.e. I express far more emotional range in 535 when I am asked to journal free form and talk about my feelings. But one of the surprising things to me is the difference in Needs. In 530, I emphasize my ideals. While in 535, I emphasize harmony and structure. I suppose I’ve always had a belief that in life, one should present a strong, united, progressive front, demanding more than one is perhaps willing to accept. Perhaps in doing so, I neglect my strong underlying need for everyone to just stop fighting and get along.

Of course, this is conditional on my belief in this type of analysis. It may place too much emphasis on the words I use rather than the context in which I use them. But then again, a person’s vocabulary probably says quite a bit about who they actually are.

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