Why Are We So Obsessed With Personality Tests?

Personality tests ー a craze that has taken over media culture. By answering a few questions, these quizzes analyze, or at least attempt to analyze, someone’s essence. These can be more thorough and serious examinations, such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Test or the Enneagram Personality Test. Or they can be a little ridiculous, like Buzzfeed quizzes. Either way, we rely on these tests to guess what we already know about ourselves, but why? 

For the more lighthearted tests, they take familiar topics and apply them to our lives ー “What Pizza Topping Are You?” or “We Know What Your College Major Is Based on Your Favorite Disney Characters.” By answering a few questions, these quizzes think they can guess a part of who we are. They usually get it wrong, or provide a general assessment that is applicable to anyone. It’s almost like a competition against the quiz to see if they can get something right. These tests are not going to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses. Instead, they explain that your fear of heights comes from Taco Bell being your favorite restaurant chain. It’s ridiculous, but the absurdity is what makes it fun. 

Woman reading book with friends Photo by Alexis Brown from Unsplash

In-depth personality tests give us a clearer picture of how we can better ourselves.  How do we view ourselves in relation to society? How do we initially react to stressful situations? Who are the type of people we choose to surround ourselves with? And how do these people perceive us? These questions, and others, are answered through specific personality types. By taking a comprehensive personality test, we not only know what roles we are better suited for, but we know what interpersonal qualities we can improve on. It can be difficult analyzing how we make choices. And that’s why we take personality tests ー to begin to understand ourselves on a deeper level. 

These tests, originally meant to analyze your personal beliefs and aspirations, have now evolved into categorizing us. Personality tests are used to assess our strengths and weaknesses, which severely limits how we see ourselves. These arbitrary categories make it difficult for society to go out-of-the-box because we believe potential is capped. Personalities are complex, and no matter how much we want it to be the case, an internet test cannot analyze its entirety. Therefore, take personality tests with a grain of salt. They can be fun, but it’s unwise to let them control how you live your life.