My Facebook feed is flooded with personality quizzes. After making faces at these for a couple of times, I eventually gave in to the quizzes because I realised it's too late to not look for the unanswered questions in life. I took the quiz 'What Color Is Your Aura?' In case you are wondering, I got black. I took a few more and reached the conclusion that I am a high school prom queen with a black aura and the personality of a sticky popsicle. Wow.
So, what is so addictive about these quizzes? Definitely, no one takes the results seriously. It is just entertainment. These quizzes neither have any methodology listed nor are the authors' credentials to be found anywhere. These are essentially just entertainment quizzes which are in fact comical versions of recognised psychological personality tests such as MBTI and The Big Five. Some of these psychological tests are regularly taken by people to have a better grasp of who they are and surprisingly, these tests are also used in corporate settings.
The Myers-Briggs' Type Indicator (MBTI)
This is one of the most popular personality tests out there. The test is based on character typology by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. In Jung's book, he named psychic functions: feeling, thinking, sensation, and intuition and attitudes: introverted and extroverted. According to him, every human being has traces of these in their characters but in each individual, certain functions and attitudes are more established than others. Today, the test has become a popular method for evaluating one's professional skill and choosing strategies best suited to achieve success. Jung's theories, however, were mainly intended to help people identify a common psychic inequality that was unduly inclined toward an aggressive and success-oriented approach in life.
The Big Five Personality Traits
Academic psychology usually agrees upon five essential personality traits. It is believed that there are only five traits that are completely independent and all other personality traits can be traced back to one or more of the big five. This test recognises five major factors -- extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness. The traits pretty much mean what their names imply. The Big Five does not stress on what goes on inside people's heads, rather it focuses on actual behaviour.
All said and heard, you should know that most people are a combination of several personality traits. Even though I tested out to be introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging on the MBTI, I know I can be extroverted, sensing, feeling, and perceiving in certain situations. A person will most likely fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Your friends might know you as an outgoing person but you may be completely reserved (read 'awkward') at family gatherings. You can be serious while playing video games and act happy-go-lucky before exams. Wait, do you sense reverse psychology here?
Well, there are no solid justifications or 'hard and fast' rules regarding the tests. All of these are used for either educational or entertainment purposes. They are not clinically administered and hence, the results are not suitable for basing major decisions in life. So, it's completely okay if in an attempt to search for your soul, you end up with bizarre test results. In that case, what you think of yourself is more likely to be accurate than what you tested out to be. As I said, the outcomes can be as generalised as horoscopes (refer to our 'horrorscope'), but it's still a great way to try to 'know thyself' by taking a variety of quizzes available online, two of which have just been talked about.