Understanding Yourself: An Overview of Personality Tests
Have you ever wondered why you react a certain way in some situations or have a hard time understanding why some people just push your buttons? The truth is, understanding yourself and others isn’t always easy. But the good news is there are tools that can help. Personality tests are a great way to gain insight into behaviors, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and more.
There are many different types of personality tests out there, from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to the Big Five personality traits to emotional intelligence tests. They cover a range of areas and some are more scientifically validated than others. The variety can be a bit overwhelming, so in this guide we’ll give you an overview of some of the most well-known personality tests. We’ll break down how they work and what kind of information they provide so you can determine which might be right for you.
Because the more you understand about yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to improve yourself, strengthen your relationships, and succeed in your career. So let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of personality tests.
What Are Personality Tests and Why Take Them?
Personality tests are tools used to assess and understand your unique characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, values, and preferences. Taking them can provide useful insights into yourself and how you interact with others.
There are several benefits to taking personality tests:
- Gain self-awareness. Learn how your tendencies influence your thoughts and behaviors. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
- Improve relationships. Understand how you connect with different types of people. Adapt your communication style to work better with others.
- Make good career choices. Find jobs and work environments that fit your personality and work preferences. Choose a career path that motivates and fulfills you.
- Handle challenges. Recognize situations that may cause stress or difficulty for your particular personality. Develop strategies to overcome obstacles and cope with adversity.
There are many well-known personality tests available, including:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Assesses 16 personality types based on extroversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.
- Big Five Personality Test: Measures five broad dimensions of personality – extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
- Enneagram: Focuses on nine personality types and how each one handles emotions, relates to others, and experiences the world.
- Strengthsfinder: Identifies your top five strengths or talents from a list of 34 common themes. Helps determine how to build on them.
Taking personality tests can lead to profound discoveries about yourself and guide you to a more fulfilling life. The insights you gain will be well worth your time and effort. So get out there and start learning what makes you, you!
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): One of the Most Popular Tests
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular personality tests. Developed in the 1940s, the MBTI sorts people into 16 personality types based on four dimensions:
- Extraversion (E) vs Introversion (I): Whether you draw energy from the outside world or your inner world.
- Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N): Whether you prefer concrete information or interpretive patterns.
- Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F): Whether you make decisions based more on logic or personal values.
- Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P): Whether you prefer structure and planning or flexibility and spontaneity.
By answering a series of questions, you’ll get a four-letter type, like INTJ or ESFP, that indicates your preferences on each scale. No type is better or worse; they’re just different. Understanding your MBTI type can help you discover your strengths, blind spots, ideal work environments, and compatible relationships.
Many people find the MBTI illuminating, while others criticize it for putting people in boxes or making broad generalizations. It’s best used as a starting point for self-reflection, not a definitive assessment. Your type only indicates preferences, not abilities, and no type is inherently superior. Environmental and life experiences also shape personality.
Still, the MBTI can be a useful framework for gaining insight into yourself and others. Once you know your type, read descriptions of all 16 to appreciate the diversity of personalities. And remember, personality is complex – no test fully captures who you are. But the MBTI may inspire some “aha!” moments that help you understand the person in the mirror.
The Big Five Personality Test: Examining 5 Key Traits
The Big Five Personality Test is one of the most well-known assessments used by psychologists and researchers. It examines five core traits that are believed to make up human personality. Understanding where you fall on each of these traits can provide insight into your behaviors, attitudes, and preferences.
Are you imaginative, creative and willing to try new things? Or do you prefer familiarity and tradition? Those high in openness tend to be intellectually curious and open to new ideas and experiences. Those low in openness are often more pragmatic and prefer stability.
Are you organized, responsible and goal-oriented? Or do you prefer to go with the flow? High conscientiousness indicates you are determined, disciplined and strive to achieve. Lower conscientiousness suggests you are more spontaneous and flexible in your approach.
Are you outgoing, energetic and enjoy being around others? Or do you prefer solitude and quieter activities? Extraverts thrive on social interaction and stimulation, while introverts recharge by spending time alone. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.
Are you trusting, kind and value harmony? Or are you more skeptical and willing to engage in conflict? High agreeableness means you are compassionate, cooperative and aim to please others. Lower agreeableness indicates you are assertive, competitive and place more value on truthfulness than sparing feelings.
Are you emotionally reactive and prone to distress? Or are you typically calm and even-tempered? High neuroticism means you experience more frequent and intense negative emotions like anxiety, worry, and irritability. Low neuroticism suggests you are emotionally stable and better able to cope with stress in a balanced way.
Understanding these core traits and how they combine to shape your unique personality can help provide useful insights for career choice, relationships, and better understanding yourself and others. While personality is complex, the Big Five model offers a helpful framework for self-reflection and growth.
Other Notable Personality Assessments
Other notable personality assessments that provide insight into how you think, feel and behave include:
The Enneagram identifies nine basic personality types based on core fears and desires. It aims to help you gain self-knowledge and understand how your type shapes your worldview and habits. The nine types are The Reformer, The Helper, The Achiever, The Individualist, The Investigator, The Loyalist, The Enthusiast, The Challenger, and The Peacemaker. Taking an Enneagram test can reveal your dominant type and wing.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The popular MBTI uses 16 personality types based on Carl Jung’s theories of psychological types. It assesses how you perceive the world and make decisions. The types are determined by four dichotomies: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving. Learning your MBTI type, like INFJ or ESTP, can provide insights into your strengths, weaknesses, communication style, and ideal work environments.
The DISK model focuses on four primary behavioral styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The DISK assessment determines which styles are most prominent in your behavior and communication. Understanding your DISK style helps in developing effective leadership, improving teamwork, and enhancing your emotional intelligence. DISK is used widely for career and team development.
StrengthsFinder measures your talents in 34 themes such as achiever, learner, input, positivity, and relator. The assessment helps you identify your top 5 talent themes so you can cultivate them through new experiences and applications. Focusing on your natural talents and strengths builds your capacity for growth and productivity. Many organizations use StrengthsFinder to help employees develop their strengths.
Personality assessments provide a deeper awareness of yourself—how you think, feel, communicate, and behave. The insights gained can help you improve your relationships, make better career and life choices, and unlock your potential. Exploring different assessments will lead you to a more multifaceted understanding of your personality.
How to Interpret Your Personality Test Results
Once you’ve taken a personality test and received your results, it’s time to interpret what they mean. Personality tests aim to give you insight into your tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, values, and preferences. Your results can help increase your self-awareness and support self-improvement.
Look for Patterns
Examine your results for patterns across the different categories or traits. Do you score highly in extraversion and openness but lower in agreeableness? That may indicate you value independence and new experiences. Look for groupings of high or low scores to determine your predominant personality patterns.
Consider the Extremes
Pay attention to any extremely high or low scores. Very high scores suggest that particular trait is central to your personality, while very low scores indicate it’s largely absent. For example, an extremely high score in conscientiousness means structure, order and achievement are vital to you. An extremely low score in extraversion points to someone who prefers solitude and quiet environments.
Compare with the Average
Most personality tests provide an average score range for each trait. Compare your results to the average to see where you fall on the spectrum. Scoring well above average on openness, for example, means you’re likely curious, imaginative and open to new ideas. Below average scores in agreeableness may indicate you tend to be more competitive or detached in social interactions.
Look For Contradictions
In some cases, you may have scores that seem to contradict one another. Don’t worry – this is normal and reflects the complexity of human personality. Examine any contradictions to develop a fuller, more balanced understanding of yourself. Also, consider how your environment and experiences may influence certain traits.
Your personality test results provide a useful starting point for gaining self-knowledge. But remember, personality is shaped by many factors. Use your results as a guide, but don’t let them limit you. Your personality is as unique as you are.
So there you have it, a quick overview of some of the most well-known personality tests out there. While personality tests can’t define who you are, they can provide interesting insights into behaviors, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. The more you understand about yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to enhance your self-awareness and personal growth. Maybe you’ll discover something new about yourself, or the tests will confirm what you already knew. Either way, learning more about yourself is always a worthwhile endeavor. Now go take some tests and explore – you might just learn something new!
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