Personality Tests and Their Meanings

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do on the Internet was to take quizzes. One of my favorite websites, blogthings.com, features endless assessments telling you everything from “How Evil are You?” to “What Color Fits Your Personality?” and many more.

In particular, I encountered a lot of quizzes that told me if I was an extrovert or an introvert. When I took those quizzes, my results would show that I was split between the two sides – with a slight preference for extraversion.

Some of the quizzes you can take are very straightforward – you are either an extrovert or you aren’t. Other give you more detailed results. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, for instance, breaks down your introversion percentage versus your extraversion percentage. Another test, known as the Five-Factor Personality Test (or OCEAN), sometimes splits extroversion into several categories or facets.

These facets include warmth (or friendliness), gregariousness, assertiveness, activity level, excitement-seeking and positive emotions. Other tests use other facets to classify extraversion.

Not surprisingly, I scored lower on some measures than others. Since I have trouble warming up to people, I was considered introverted on the friendliness facet; however, I was in the middle for gregariousness, and high for excitement seeking.

When we look at ourselves across different situations, it becomes increasingly difficult to fit in one category over another. Hence, you may feel uncomfortable speaking in class but love debating issues you feel passionately about. People with both introverted and extraverted functions are considered ambiverts.

As for me, I don’t have a problem speaking in class, but when I am talking one on one with someone, I don’t really know what to say.

Because the tests are self-measured, the results can be skewed based on how we want to be versus how we actually are. For example, a person who values going out a lot but often stays homes may exaggerate how much they go out on a test. Therefore, the results aren’t a hundred percent accurate.  Not to mention, most free tests are an abbreviated versions of their full-length counterparts.

Still, I like personality tests because it gives me a tool for self-reflection. They won’t tell you anything you don’t already know about yourself, but they will give concrete analysis of your personality. Students at UNC take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator free through Carolina Career Services.