You might have heard the saying ‘no two snowflakes are alike’, the same goes to human beings. Our personalities are so complex no matter the age. Our likes and dislikes, weaknesses and strengths, fears and esteems and the reasons behind every one of them are hard to pin down.Personality questionnaires used to be conducted only inside the four walls of the psychologist room. Shortly before Sir Francis Galton formed the first personality questionnaire during the 19th century, psychologists used to examine their patients’ personalities by measuring their skulls (Phrenology) and by examining their facial appearances and expressions (Physiognomy).
In the age of social media you might have noticed how personality tests went viral. According to BuzzSumo data from 2014, 36 million was the estimated number of times people took buzzfeed quizzes like “Can We Guess Your Real Age?” While, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator serves a higher purpose, as reported by CPP, Inc.; MBTI questionnaire is shared over 2.5 million yearly and it is used by 89 companies from fortune top 100 as well as top universities.
Identities are part of us, yet it is arguably the hardest to understand and we find it hard to accurately define who and what we are. Throughout our lives we undergo few stages of identity crisis, because most times our identities don’t live up to our self-perception. From an amateur psychologist prospective, I find that we take these tests because we seek identity fulfillment. It might not be a conscious calculated move by the testee but after clicking at the results button almost all learn something new about themselves.
Although we are in the age of different is cool we still need acceptance and connection. We take these tests to feel less alone, to feel like our weirdness that some might not understand is not a singular out of the ordinary occurrence. These tests despite their level of accuracy it brings alienated people from all over the world together, creating some sort of a bond. Personality quizzes finds a home to all the lost identities who try to fit in a group or a category. “they give you some feedback on whether your behavior is similar to others, what your niche is, and how similar you are to a sub-group of people,” said Mitch Prinstein, a psychology professor at the university of North Carolina, when interviewed by Keith Wagstaff, NBC News; about ‘Why Do You Love Personality Quizzes – Experts Break It Down’
Moreover, Personality tests could be done as a group or between couples to find out more about each other. It unfolds the reason behind some of the actions you found difficult to comprehend. We can learn which note not to hit, when a family or a friend needs space and why, how they deal with their personal and anger issues. These tests I learned – after taking more than a few – are so much more than finding out who is an introvert and extrovert. It helps in finding a connection, in ourselves when we feel lost and with others when we try to connect or reconnect.
Career personality tests are handy when we feel indecisive about which road to take towards our future. Results of these tests clarify which major or occupation you subconsciously lean toward, and possibly thrive in.
The purpose of the career tests is that it finds the best career path that will maximize your strength. It can also help in finding which aspects of your personality needs strengthening whether it was leadership or group activity. Ultimately these tests do more good, in my book if you look up online for a test that’s been prepared by well renowned psychologists and human recourses then chances are you will get the answers you are looking for.
I often wondered why many took time over time off their schedule to take these tests, when one would suffice. The fact of the matter is we want to understand ourselves more, these questions are asked to gain a better insight. But what is even more shamefully fascinating is that it is solely about who is taking the test and what is best for them, and we as humans crave attention over all us. Christine Whelan a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin said when interviewed by Keith Wagstaff that “People love it when you ask them questions about themselves. It makes us feel good that the quiz is interested in us.”
While I sing praises over how marveling the experiences I had and seen in people who took these tests both in how we found a better understanding or in finding the suitable professional life. I want to go back to the fact that no snowflakes are alike. And while we all love to be sorted out into categories – the OCD cult more than the rest- we are more complicated than being introverts or extroverts. These tests no matter how much they reveal they can never estimate and measure all aspects of one personality let alone two in an assessment database.
In so many ways personality tests are like horoscopes, they both give us insight that are ambiguous and general, the statement made by both can apply to millions of people, many would read few lines from both and say ‘yes that is so me’. Takers of these tests have the tendency to take vague statements and translate them into accurate assessment of themselves; this conduct has a term commonly known in psychology as the Barnum effect. However, when they read few lines down they might read an analysis of themselves that doesn’t confirm to their self-perception, in these cases most testees decide to ignore and take the denial route.
All it takes is typing ‘personality tests controversy’ in any web search engine to find all the arguments against the accuracy and validity of personality tests. However, from a cautious fan viewpoint; I found after sifting through few of them that it might not be 100% accurate but it does narrow down the search of yourself or your job preference. Ultimately, personality tests value is irrefutable especially to the ones who can’t afford backpacking around India to find themselves; the results of these tests can be the quantum leap in just clicks away to self-discovery.