What is a Personality Test? What’s the Big Deal Anyway?

what-is-personality-test-taking-quiz-richardstepHave you ever met a person for the very first time and immediately felt like you’ve known them for your entire life? On the other hand, have you ever met someone and almost instantly you felt uncomfortable around them?

You don’t know why you are uncomfortable – it’s just something you can’t put your finger on. Well, there is an easy answer to those questions and it has to do with personality.

Everyone has a personality. Even newborn babies have shown distinct personalities. In fact, it is your personality that will define you as a person in almost every facet of your life. Yes environmental, socio-economic, familial and religious exposures play a role in helping to shape your personality but in essence, your mental make-up is the key determinant.

What We Want, Really, Really Want

I am pretty certain that everyone wants to believe that they have a great personality and that they are very easily likeable. I know I certainly do. But sometimes we wonder about ourselves when people around us act and/or treat us differently than how we expected them to. Was it something you did? Was it something you didn’t do? You begin to start questioning just who you are and how do people really see you.

Self-awareness is a common human desire that we all share and when we start to question that awareness we inevitably want to know what is going on. What is it about my personality that people don’t like? What is it that they do like?

Psychiatrists, school counselors and, in today’s world, potential employers also want to know. In that regard a plethora of personality tests have emerged to help categorize what personality type you are.

You may be surprised to learn that the very first personality tests were developed back in the 1920’s. Back then they primarily focused on persons who were entering into the military.

Military leaders wanted to know in advance how a new recruit would fit in, take orders and whether they would stand their ground and fight or turn and run from the enemy? They also wanted to know how easily a person would be able to adapt to new and foreign surroundings and, finally, how would they be able to re-adapt into civilian life.

Since the 1920’s, personality tests have come a long way. There are, in fact, numerous types of tests available but the three most widely used are the Jungian 16 Types Personality Test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the Five Factor Model.

Okay, so what is a personality test exactly?

In simple terms, a personality test is a set of standardized questions. These questions are geared towards finding out how you would emotionally and physically relate and/or react to any given situation in your life surrounding your relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, self, environment, political affiliations and society as a whole.

There is no right or wrong answers to the questions but the answers provided will tell others, as well as yourself, a whole lot about who you are.

Now let’s see what the three most widely tests reveal. In the Jungian Types test, the questions provided will determine how you perceive the world and how you make decisions. Do you perceive and make decisions analytically or emotionally? It is believed that we all react in four manners, either through sensation, intuition, feelings or deep thinking. The Jungian Types test will show which of these four functions is the most prevalent in your personality.

The MMPI test is mostly used to determine a person’s mental health. It was first developed in 1939 and has undergone several changes, adjustments and improvements and is now considered the top test for measuring psychopathology and personality structure. In its clinical section, it helps determine how a person perceives their mental and physical health.

The Five Model Factor personality test is probably the test that we are all most familiar with and it is the test that we actually like to take just for fun. This test assigns five basic human personality traits that include openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Let’s break them down as follows:

  • Openness questions will help determine whether you are a curious, inventive person or if you prefer to be more cautious, liking the norm rather than change.
  • Conscientiousness questions will help to determine whether you are an efficient and well organized person or whether you throw caution into the wind and go with the flow.
  • Extroversion questions will determine how outgoing you are. Are you easily approachable? Do you make and retain friends easily or are you more reserved, stand offish and associate with only a few close people?
  • Agreeableness questions will determine your emotions. How compassionate are you towards others or are you cold to situations and other’s feelings?
  • Neuroticism questions will determine how nervous you would be in any given situation or on whether you would feel confident and secure.

It’s Your Personality Move

Again, there are many different varieties of personality tests available for anyone to take on the internet, most of which are free. So now that you know what is a personality test, why not go check some out.

The answers you may get back just might surprise you but, at the very least, they will show you your strong points and point out your weaknesses. Knowing these can help you readjust your life into becoming the person you want to be.

So, again, go ahead and check them out and have fun with it. Here’s the fun DOPE Bird Personality test and the super-detailed Jungian Types test.

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