What kind of personality test are you?

Created 27 Jun 2015 • Last modified 28 Aug 2016

This piece is perhaps history's only example of psychometric humor. Upon rejecting it from Perspectives on Psychological Science (in September 2016), the editor described it as "cute".

There are all sorts of personality tests out there, from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory to the latest iteration of "Which Muppet are you?" on BuzzFeed. But what sort of personality test best represents you? Here's a quick quiz to find out for yourself!

  1. You think you deserve a raise. How do you approach the matter with your boss?
    1. Say that all your friends are getting raises and you don't want to be left out.
    2. Say that company policy mandates pay increases meeting a minimum standard and that he could be fired if he fails to meet them.
    3. Ask him how much he wants to give you a raise, and why or why not.
    4. Calculate for him the probability that you will quit without a raise, given previous observations of yourself.
    5. Tell him it would be a shame if you had to tell his wife the real reason he spends so much time with a particular male employee.
    6. Well, it kinds of depends on the job and the boss and the pay increase and the other circumstances, doesn't it? How do you expect to get a good answer to a vague question like this if I have to pick one of six discrete options, all of which, come to think of it, are kind of silly?
  2. You suspect a friend is trying to steal your girlfriend (or boyfriend) away from you. What do you do?
    1. Say "Look, I know you're in love with my girl, but we're obviously soulmates. We're both innies and we buy the same candy bars."
    2. Insist he compete against you in athletic challenges to determine who is worthy of her.
    3. Figure out whether he's attracted to her by asking him his ideal girlfriend's eye color, hair color, and height.
    4. Figure out the probability that he's attracted to her by using normative ratings of her desirableness as a girlfriend from a nationally representative sample of men his age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
    5. Say "I know how you feel about my girlfriend. I can see why you fancy her. She looks just like your mother."
    6. Give him a personality quiz to complete. While he's distracted, elope.
  3. What do you like to do for fun?
    1. Pretend to be a superhero, find celebrity lookalikes for your friends, and write self-insert Harry Potter fan fiction.
    2. Play the same golf course over and over to minimize your score.
    3. Watch TV, socialize, read, or engage in other readily available activities that are generally considered fun.
    4. Maximize expected utility. By definition, that would be the most fun thing you could do.
    5. Masturbate. Figuratively, I mean.
    6. Write ironic personality tests.
  4. Another presidential election is just around the corner. What qualities do you see as most important in a candidate?
    1. Being able to relate to the concerns of ordinary people.
    2. Good demonstrated knowledge of current events.
    3. Being honest, smart, and nice.
    4. Consistent use of rigorous quantitative methods to make policy decisions.
    5. Achievement of the genital stage.
    6. Being a good candidate for president.
  5. What's your favorite word?
    1. "Friend"
    2. "A+"
    3. "Think"
    4. "Validity"
    5. "Mother"
    6. "Hofstadter"

If you picked mostly (a) answers, you're a just-for-fun personality quiz passed around through teen gossip magazines and Facebook. You're fun to be around, you know your audience, and you're generally concise. Sometimes you overstep your bounds and make sweeping proclamations about things you actually don't know much about. In fact, you have a reputation for carelessness. You should consider that some things in life are worth taking seriously.

If you picked mostly (b) answers, you're a classroom test written by a high-school teacher or a college professor. You're down-to-earth, preferring to focus on the heart of things rather than procedure. People find you intimidating, and sometimes will make all kinds of excuses to avoid seeing you (either that, or you're the world's #1 killer of grandmothers). But people also take you seriously, and will reliably show up in large numbers to see you whenever you make a public appearance. Stern as you are, deep down, you just want to see everyone succeed.

If you picked mostly (c) answers, you're an ad-hoc self-report form used in a psychological or sociological research study. You're straightforward, not fancy. You stress the importance of people's feelings. Sometimes you jump to conclusions, but there's no doubt that you have a necessary role to play in a lot of the work your colleagues do.

If you picked mostly (d) answers, you're a standardized aptitude test. You care about concrete, measurable things, numerical methods for statistical model-fitting, and objectively demonstrating that you're smarter than all your high-school classmates. Many people say you're a bigot, or are missing out on the finer things in life, but you suspect their lack of sympathy, and the fact that they can't tell item discrimination from item difficulty, indicate a latent class of being a crybaby nincompoop.

If you picked mostly (e) answers, you're a psychoanalytic projective test, like the Rorschach inkblot test. You enjoy smoking cigars with early-20th-century Austrian intellectuals and explaining how your friend's choice of character in Super Smash Bros. reveals their unresolved anal obsessions.

If you picked mostly (f) answers, you're this test. Try not to choke on all that self-referential humor.