Exploring intellectual humility through the lens of artificial intelligence: Top terms, features and a predictive model

Ehsan Abedin, Marinus Ferreira, Ritsaart Reimann, Marc Cheong, Igor Grossmann, Mark Alfano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Intellectual humility (IH) is often conceived as the recognition of, and appropriate response to, your own intellectual limitations. As far as we are aware, only a handful of studies look at interventions to increase IH – e.g. through journalling – and no study so far explores the extent to which having high or low IH can be predicted. This paper uses machine learning and natural language processing techniques to develop a predictive model for IH and identify top terms and features that indicate degrees of IH. We trained our classifier on the dataset from an existing psychological study on IH, where participants were asked to journal their experiences with handling social conflicts over 30 days. We used Logistic Regression (LR) to train a classifier and the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) dictionaries for feature selection, picking out a range of word categories relevant to interpersonal relationships. Our results show that people who differ on IH do in fact systematically express themselves in different ways, including through expression of emotions (i.e., positive, negative, and specifically anger, anxiety, sadness, as well as the use of swear words), use of pronouns (i.e., first person, second person, and third person) and time orientation (i.e., past, present, and future tenses). We discuss the importance of these findings for IH and the value of using such techniques for similar psychological studies, as well as some ethical concerns and limitations with the use of such semi-automated classifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103979
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychologica
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Daily journalling
  • Intellectual humility
  • Natural language processing
  • Social conflicts


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