Exploring Your Personality Online

When it’s 2AM and we can’t sleep, there are three general options out there for us: Reddit conspiracy theories, scary serial killer documentaries or online personality quizzes. Today we are going to talk about the latter.

Hidden Dangers

Online personality quizzes can be a super fun pastime activity. Tests like “Which vegetable are you?” or “Which country should you have been born in?” are light-hearted quick-fixes to boring hours when there’s nothing else to do. There are, however, also the deeper quizzes which we often find ourselves taking. For example, personality tests which try to figure out the condition of your mental health. It goes without saying that such quizzes’ results need to be taken with several grains of salt. No online multiple choice test can diagnose you or any other person – no matter how complex and sly the questions may be.

Whilst some personality tests are more professionally set up than others, none of the bunch is going to know you inside out. Just like reading horoscopes, taking in every word written in the results section of an online quiz can make you start to fixate. For example, if a test suggests that part of its audience are fatigued or depressed by nature, there is a risk of a number of them artificially acting according to the pseudo-diagnosis. Focusing on a trait that an online generator tells you to relate to can lead to a distorted perception of the self. It can either amplify a problem which is already there, or it can provide a breeding ground for completely unthought-of issues.

Why do we test ourselves?

It is a rather curious thing to ask google about oneself rather than simply looking for answers within ourselves. But when trying to do so, it becomes clear that things aren’t that simple at all. That is why googling relatable posts in various forums or asking an anonymous online crowd for advice is so common – it’s far more terrifying to be left alone with a complex issue we feel we know nothing about, despite it directly relating to our given situation. Just like we google what those red spots on our ankles could mean, we google why we go through certain emotions. Feeling exceptionally lethargic, empty inside or constantly irritable can frustrate the best of us. The world wide web is known to provide answers fast – regardless of them being plausible or not.

Finding any answer at all, no matter how absurd it may be, is a form of comfort for the human mind. Anything that may be of help on the way to the ultimate truth can have a calming effect on the brain. However, letting an online quiz diagnose you should never be the ultimate stage of answer-seeking. Sure, tests and forms can provide temporary entertainment, relief and explanations. But they should never replace a close friend with an open ear, a trained therapist or anyone else who is willing to dedicate their time and best interest to your inner battles. It can be a highly dangerous thing to isolate oneself from social settings and solely turn to cold words typed up behind a computer screen.

Why the smartest personality test of all would still fail

Let’s say a bulletproof personality test existed. Answering all of the intricate questions would provide a sure-fire result. Any therapist would agree with the various personality traits assigned to the test-takers by the end. Unfortunately, even such a utopian quiz would be doomed to fail. Why? Because the fault lies within the test-takers themselves. Someone seeking for answers online is not going to know themselves as well as they would like. That’s what those quizzes are for, right? But how can a quiz tell whether the person taking it can answer truthfully? Sometimes we’re deliberately blind to our own characteristics. At other times, we like to lie to ourselves. Either way, it is next to impossible to truthfully answer every single question asked by one of the best online personality tests.

Some of the most renowned personality tests brag about following an algorhythm which is programmed to see through the test-taker. Answering in a particular way is said to be indicative of a blurred or in-denial self-image. However, no algorithm will be able to see through a person on account of the mere mouse clicks they make. That is why, despite being a fun pastime activity, no online test or manual should be the only source to consult when dealing with an overwhelming issue. It is absolutely normal and natural to want answers. And it is important not to keep them to oneself. But the internet should never fully substitute human help that comes with both a mind and a heart. 

Cover image by Pixabay

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About Katie Reschenhofer

Katie is majoring in English & American Studies at the University in Vienna and is interested in the evolution of social media. Having lived in Oman, she is particularly interested in Middle Eastern affairs. In her spare time, Katie gives in to her shopping-addiction and satisfies her craving for sushi & maki. Shopping can sure make you hungry, you know!

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