Friday, July 25, 2008

Personality Quiz

Recently I was made aware of a personality quiz which can be found at I find tests or quizzes of any kind interesting, sometimes revealing, or more likely, affirming. The last few years I spent in college which wasn't very long ago despite my age (it was in the 1990s) I loved taking tests ,and because of that probably got higher grades than I deserved. However I think that many quizzes are rapidly put together with little scientific input, and no sense of responsibility or professionalism by the person or persons creating the quiz. This is definitely one of that kind. To demonstrate why I think this is a defective quiz, let's look at the questions.

I immediately see a problem with the fact that each of the forty questions has only two possible responses. Is it possible that only two responses can represent one hundred percent of the population? Not likely.

Question #1. You tend to:
- Act first - then think about what you did
- Think first and then act

The answer to that would depend on the situation. If someone needs CPR you hopefully would act first. If you're facing a tough question in an agebra final exam it might be wise to think first, before answering the question.

Question #2. Its Friday night and your friend just cancelled on you. You:
- Spend some time along instead
- Find new friends to hang out with

Again that would depend on how you were feeling about the cancelled "date." If you were really disappointed and the cancellation was not just a postponement, you might choose to watch TV or take a hot shower and go to bed. On the other hand if you would feel just as happy with another friend, you might choose that option.

Question #3 on whether you get your motivation from within yourself or from outside sources might also be situation specific. The same can be said for questions 11, 12, 15, 16, 21, 28, and 30. In each of these questions both choices could be an option depending on the situation, the degree of urgency, and the importance of the issue. In a few including 21 and 30 both choices could be utilized simultaneously, at least in some situations.

Question #6 is particularly revealing of the defectiveness of the quiz since it's easily possible for a person to have "a ton of friends, acquaintenances and people you know" and at the same time have "a few people who are very dear to you." In fact that probably is the situation for most people I know.

In only five of the questions was I able to confidently select one answer over the other. I prefer interacting in a one-on-one situation (#4); I'm more likely to remember a face than a name(#13); (although now that I'm getting older I'm conveniently forgetting faces also). I like to vary my route when traveling, either short or long distances, although when going home from work I'm more likely to vary my route if I'm walking the 5.5 miles home from work than if I'm driving. I think conflict is a normal part of relationships (#24) although unlike some people, I think conflict needs to be addressed, and dealt with, not ignored and left to simmer. I also like a lot of time to prepare for a trip (#31).

Concerning #7, I've never had a "group job interview" so I might be more nervous with that than an one-on-one interview, but that might simply be because I'm not as familiar with the experience, not necessarily an indication of any particular personality trait. I've had major oral exams in college that included a group of questioners and that went fine.

Most of the questions in this quiz have serious problems. For example #22 asks me if I would rather be a lawyer or a teacher. In what way are those two opposites, if that's what the questioner intended? Why not a lawyer or a plumber; a teacher or an astronaut, or perhaps a farmer or a surgeon? In #24 you can believe that confict in a normal part of relationships and still find it difficult to deal with. In #34 again it depends on the situation. If you're playing basketball you probably are not going to spend a lot of time, after getting the ball, deciding whether to shoot, pass, or dribble. If you snooze, you lose... or end up sitting on the bench. However if you're choosing which college to attend you'll probably take a lot of time making the choice.

The questions in this quiz have a phony ring to them. I feel like I'm being sold a cheap set of goods for an inflated price, or like I'm being taken advantage of, that is, told to take seriously information that has no credibility. For example, what's the answer to #39 for someone who doesn't have a desk, or someone who shares a desk at work with several other employees as I do, and many other people in health care do also.

It's my impression that whoever created this quiz is trying to simplify humans to the point of trivilizing and cheapening their lives and existence. I felt as if I was being manipulated, pigeon-holed into a space that didn't fit. I'd send this quiz straight to the shredder.

Leonard Nolt

1 comment:

Marika said...

Ouch! That was harsh.:)

I love these kind of quizzes even while I take the them with a grain of salt and easily dismiss the results if they don't ring true. While this was the shortest version of the Myers-Briggs I have taken, I do think this one has some validity since I was assigned the same personality as that time in college when I took the Myers-Briggs in the Career Center at the advice of my college professor/advisor.

They have another test on that site (or a related site) that gives more options to choose from for each question. I didn't like that one as much because I felt like at least 2 (most of the time 3) of the answers were right and I couldn't decide which one was truest for me. My result on that one didn't ring as true (in my opinion) as the result of this one.

To each their own!

Love you,