a silhouette of a head with three question marks and a heart

Do You Know Who You Are?: A Look at Psychological Personality Tests and How People View Them

By Stacey Ramirez
Web Content Contributor

Do you know who you are? Well, a personality test might tell you! 

When you hear personality tests, what goes through your head? I’m not talking about when someone asks you to take a personality test and you expect them to send you a BuzzFeed link like, “pick your favorite ice cream topping and well you find out who your soulmate will be.” 

But somehow, even something this simple brings comfort to us in some way. There’s a reassuring feeling that comes with learning something new about ourselves. They offer some clarity into the decisions we make.

That’s one of the reasons people connect and rely on zodiac signs so much. Whether you believe in them or not, many people find a lot of similarities to their sign and use that information when forming relationships. Maybe you don’t believe they can tell you your future, but maybe you do relate to the personality traits.

But that hasn’t stopped them from also getting a bad reputation for being absurd. The main argument is people don’t think that their personality or future can be based on the random day you were born on. 

Yes or no on each side of a check box list
A few personal questions could reveal more about your personality. Photo by Stacey Ramirez.

These two tests are different. They also divided people into different groups. These two tests, the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, and the Enneagram of Personality test, are based on psychological studies about the way people think and see the world.

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator or MBT is a test developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs. This questionnaire was created using the research done by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

The test was developed in the 1940s during World War II. They believed the test could help people understand themselves more and make life choices, such as picking careers easier. 

The questionnaire is meant to identify a person’s personality type based on their strengths and presences to describe how that person sees the world.

The Myers–Briggs is more of a questionnaire then a test. There are no wrong answers. After taking the test, you will be identified as one of 16 different personality types. Neither one is better nor worse than the other

Each personality is made up of four letters and each letter is divided by two categories that make up each personality type 

The first letter in each type is determined by one of two characteristics:

  • Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I): this determines how you interact with the people around you
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (N): describes how someone learns about the world and surroundings
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): how people make decisions 
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): how people react and respond to the world

Enneagram of Personality Test

The Enneagram of Personality Test believes everyone can be divided into nine connected personalities. After taking the test, each group is assigned a number between 1 to 9. These numbers don’t have a value; they’re just categories.

The test was created by many people, but the most recent revision has been made by Don Riso and Russ Hudson in the 1930s. 

The goal is not to label you into a group but to explain what motivates you and what scares you and your relationships with others. It’s used to help people understand themselves personally and how they act and see the world based on their experiences.

Like the Myers–Briggs, it’s not necessarily a test, but based on questions about your experience and emotions. The other way to figure out your enneagram number is researching each number personality and finding out which one you most relate to.

The Nine Types are:

  • Type 1: the reformer, the perfectionist
  • Type 2: the helper, the giver
  • Type 3: the performer, the achiever
  • Type 4: the individualist, the romantic
  • Type 5: the investigator, the observer
  • Type 6: the loyalist
  • Type 7: the enthusiast, the epicurean
  • Type 8: the challenger, the protector
  • Type 9: the peacemaker, the mediator

If you want to know more, take these tests for yourselves and see if they apply to you. You might find some enlightenment.

“We often find justifications for the things we don’t like, like being antisocial or the way we cope with sadness,” said Lilianna Escandon. “But I love it. If I see a test, I’ll waste 10 minutes of my life reading something from a computer that doesn’t even know who I am. We also like to hear the good things the tests have to say about us.”

On the other hand, you might find that they don’t really describe you.

“I honestly take them every few months and get completely different results every time,” Vanessa Buentello.

So, have you taken these tests? And do you think there’s any truth or accuracy to them?

Featured image by Stacey Ramirez.

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