Detecting Gender Deception with E-mail Analyzer

Posted by NIZA.Ati on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 [ ]

Sourse from: UiTM's Website

Software designed by two academics from the Faculty of Computer Science & Mathematics which is able to detect gender deception in E-mail exchanges could maximize the safety of users of online chat rooms and related social networking services.

The internet is not only revolutionizing the domain of communication but also provides a fertile ground for experimentation with identities. Cyberspace makes gender switching and deception so easy as what we reveal to others can be easily exaggerated or falsified. As such, internet chat rooms and similar sites provide a tempting opportunity to gender switch, experiment with identities, abandon it if necessary and safely try it again if one so desires. With such online identity deception and experimentation on the rise, internet users need to hone their deceit-detector skills and the E-mail analyzer thus, plays a significant role in keeping gender deception at bay.

Associate Professor Dianne Cheong Lee Mei and Nur Atiqah Sia Abdullah designed the E-mail analyzer based on gender-preferential linguistic features of English since inferences can be made both from the writing style and hidden cues in the posted message.

Listed below are the ten different linguistic features which are used to identify the gender of an e-mail author. The team came up with the list after a 14 month empirical survey involving 158 participants. The respondents were aged between 22 and 23 years and contributed to a sum of 5 E-mail exchanges between each pair. The data from the participants who comprise 44 females and 12 males produced a list of topics which are categorised into male-typical, female-typical and neutral. Subsequently, an algorithm using gender preferential features at the word or clause level of e-mail users as a knowledge base, was designed to identify the gender of an e-mail author.

Since the dynamics of online behaviour is such that one can pretend to be anyone or anything one wants, the E-mail analyzer can be of assistance in identifying gender deception successfully to the following:

  • The criminology and forensic department
  • Online dating parties
  • E-mail users
  • Virtual communities

The internet is replete with social opportunities and whilst stories of online bullying, pedophilia, stalking and gender deception abound, Diane Cheong and Nur Atiqah Sia Abdullah’s research will free us of some of our concerns about deception whilst enlightening us about online deviant behavior.

Further information: The Gender Deception Analyzer created by the team has bagged 3 awards at national and international levels; The Gold Award at the IID UiTM 2007, Silver Award at MTE 2007 and the Silver Award at the 36th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products, Geneva 2008.

Associate Professor Dianne Cheong can be contacted via



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