Personality quizzes can be a lot of fun, offering depth of insight, thrills of discovery, and that strange sensation we encounter when something we’ve always known but never quite articulated is revealed to us by a perfect stranger – or even a web page.
This poker personality test, for example, attempts to get to the bottom of who you are as a poker player, which is more complicated than it might sound. When playing poker, one is directed by traits such as aggressiveness, risk-taking, and gullibility. By knowing which of these tendencies can be exploited by an opponent, or by knowing which urges to deny and which to succumb to, we are able to better regulate our play style and behaviours, and thus are better able to win.
This is actually a common motif among in many schools of thought, particularly martial arts. The core idea is that once one has true self-knowledge, then one can know one’s enemies with greater clarity, whether they be within or without.
However, perhaps the most common and well-known personality test is the Myers Briggs, which assigns a subject four letters, each representing the subject’s place on one psychometric dimension – one could be, for example, judging rather than perceiving, or J rather than P, which would form one-quarter of a Myers Briggs test result.
One reason why this test can be such fun is that the Myers Briggs results of a good deal of famous figures are known, and so can be compared against one’s own results. However, when doing this it pays to look around before deciding that any of these renowned men and women is necessarily your soul mate. The same type that includes Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler is also home to Plato and Mahatma Ghandi. This just goes to show that personality is a broad and multifaceted conundrum, and even people who are similar might express their sameness in utterly different ways.
Another very interesting test is the Big Five personality test, which measures people across five key traits: conscientiousness, which relates to how thoughtful and goal-directed a person might be, and is a predictor for being a hard worker; openness, which describes a person’s capacity for broad ideas, creativity, and tendency to investigate new ideas and concepts; extraversion, which is tied to how a person responds to social situations, with those high in extraversion becoming energized and enthusiastic; agreeableness, which measures qualities like kindness, altruism and caring for others; and lastly, neuroticism, which predicts moodiness and disposal to worry and anxiety.
Although this test might seem reductive at first glance, and might seem to suggest that the whole of human experience can be expressed in five dimensions, there are in fact sub-dimensions to each of the core characteristics, making this a more sophisticated system than it first appears.
Furthermore, psychologists have concluded that the Big Five shows remarkable robustness across cultural divides, which would indicate these traits are in fact truly fundamental.
Personality is a fascinating topic, not least because we all have one, but these are by no means the only tests out there. Look around for the test that paints the most compelling picture of you, and arms you with the self-knowledge you need to succeed.