Although, sometimes even those who’re pretty sure about themselves feel tempted to check them out just in case something new about their personality pops up. They may claim that they did it just for ‘fun’ but a part of their mind is still busy contemplating the results.
|My fingernails’ shape only tells me one thing: ‘It’s time to get them trimmed.’|
Following are the reasons why personality tests don’t work, no matter how sophisticated or advanced they may appear to be…
So when you tell people that they’re going to take a personality test and that they should answer each question honestly, little do you realize that reputation is much more important to humans than being honest. So they deliberately try to get the best possible results.
This is why personality tests and psychological studies in which the subjects are given little or no information about what’s going on tend to be a bit more authentic because there is little scope for manipulation.
But the irony is, each one of your participants has gone through a different life experience than the others. How can you possibly be sure that they can relate to the questions you throw at them? And then fit them into a few pre-set categories on the basis of answers that in all likelihood may have nothing to do with their personal life?
It’s like assuming life follows a few well-known tracks and everyone, by default, falls into one of those tracks.
a) confront them directly and ask for an explanation for their behavior
b) start ignoring them and promise myself not to talk to them again
c) tell myself I’m unnecessarily being angry and move on
In short, there is no one answer to any question. There can be hundreds of factors involved that can affect your likely course of action- relationship with the person, the context of the situation, your recent life events, your mood and so on.
And on top of it all, what if the most appropriate answer for you isn’t mentioned in the options? Oh don’t worry about that, it’s written at the top, “Tick the most appropriate choice”. So what if it isn’t even close to your perceived appropriate answer, just tick it.
In some questionnaires, there’s also that last option, “can’t say” that I find really funny. I mean, if I answer “can’t say” to every question in the list, does that mean I have no personality?
3) Oh yes, that’s me!
You need to realize that these tests are designed in such a way that both your positive and negative traits are revealed, just to appear authentic. Obviously, you’re likely to raise a brow if only positive or negative results are shown.
As soon as you see the results, you begin to recall the life experiences that fit into those results! This is known as confirmation bias. For example, if the results tell you that you’re an ‘impatient’ person, then you’ll recall previous life incidents that prove it while forgetting about the incidences where you behaved very patiently.
After all, they never told me anything specific, such as what’s going to happen to me on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. So I decided to put these snippets to a little test.
I read out the Leo horoscope to my sister who was a Scorpio and asked her how true she thought it was. To my astonishment, she told me that all of it was true and matched her current life perfectly. I then revealed to her that I was actually reading a Leo horoscope!
The same goes for personality tests. Try this little experiment- make a friend do a little personality tests and afterwards narrate to them personality traits that were not predicted by their score. You’ll see confirmation bias in action as they recall past experiences that seem to fit the results they did not get.
4) Programming you with traits you may not have
Perhaps the most dangerous effect of taking these tests is that they can program your mind with beliefs that you didn’t even have in the first place.
Say you took a personality test from a trusted source and it revealed that you’re an arrogant person. You’ll immediately scan your past to look for any incidences that prove this.
Even if you’re unable to find any support for this new “I’m arrogant” belief that has been planted into your mind by a trusted source, your mind may start to ‘create’ the support that it needs to hold the new belief firmly in place.
In less mystifying words, you may start to create life experiences that prove to you that you’re an arrogant person. You may start to behave arrogantly even if you weren’t an arrogant person before just to support the belief that was planted into your mind by a trusted source.
If a belief has to stay in your mind it needs support, it needs complementary experiences to feed and thrive on, even if it means making you act like a jerk.