Is there Value in Personality Tests?

Is there Value in Personality Tests?

Just this week, a new study announced that all humans can be categorized into 4 classifications based on their personality. In this study, those classifications are as followed:

  • Optimistic
  • Pessimistic
  • Envious
  • Trusting

This new report outlining the differences in personality is nothing new. For decades, psychologists, scientists, and mindfulness gurus have sought to uncover the secrets behind our personality. Are we bound to our biological history? How large of a role does our environment, education, and upbringing play on who we are in life?

What are Personality Tests

On a foundational level, a personality test is a series of questions whose answers all point to a specific outcome. When one takes a personality test, one must answer honestly.

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Types of Personality Tests

While you can spend hours on Buzzfeed finding quizzes like: What percentage Millennial are you?, the standards in the field are as follows:

Myers Brigg


Color Code Personality Science

Big Five Personality Test

Each of these tests offer different formats, style of questions, and outcomes.

Challenges When Measuring Personality

“Psychologists have suggested that the quizzes may cater to a need to reaffirm the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our inner narrative,” wrote Carolyn Gregoire in a recent article published on Huffington Post.

This stands as the most challenging aspect in generating accurate responses. As humans, our need for approval or affirmation tends to outweigh objectivity, especially when the subject is ourselves. While the questions in a personality test may offer significant and helpful insight on your character and personality, it’s important that we’re circling the right bubbles. If not, we risk the possibility of creating an entirely different character of ourselves in our mind. And if this alter-ego is dramatically different than the selves living in reality, we may meet unexpected obstacles, rejections, failings.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

The Value in Personality Tests

While the challenges in personality tests prevail, there are glimmers of truth in these forms. To start, for the honest assessor, these tests can be a great way to practice self reflection. They can also be a wake-up call to change certain qualities about our life or our beliefs.

Additionally, personality tests can aid employers in hiring the right applicants for the job. While there’s no “best type” in the MBTI test, certain types fare better in specific occupations. This can also help students when choosing the right coursework or career path.

Like all assessments, it’s important to keep in mind that your results, as is your personality, are bound to change over time. Instead of treating personality tests as a fixed outcome, we should look toward the practice as a habitual assessment, designed to spur growth and encourage lifelong learning.

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