The appeal behind personality quizzes

Quizzes should be seen as entertainment, not self-discovery

BuzzFeed quizzes are very popular among readers.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Personality quizzes drive massive amounts of internet traffic each day. Although they may appear arbitrary, there’s a reason why we’re curious to find which inanimate objects or food best match our personality. 
 
It’s in our instincts to seek out community and discover our identity. We’re inquisitive, but also want to be known and understood by others. The long-term solution to this question can be found by immersing ourselves in meaningful relationships, work, and other organizations that align with our values. These endeavors require a lot of time and effort. 
 
Meanwhile, personality tests come quick. They’re fun, light-hearted, and can provide us with a quick sense of satisfaction. Granted, we’re not seriously convinced our favourite kind of bread has anything to do with how many kids we’ll have in the future—but maybe that other quiz about 2019 being our lucky year is right. 
 
Despite how random the results of personality quizzes may be, if it’s one we’re particularly fond of, we may as well hold onto it in a world full of uncertainty and chance. 
 
When I took the famed Myers-Briggs personality test for the first time, I found it surprisingly accurate and thought it was one of the coolest things I’d experienced. But then again, the results only made sense because I’d just answered 64 questions about myself. The test provided a vague summary of my results—telling me things I already knew.
 
Some of the most popular quizzes tell us what character we are in our favourite TV show or movie franchise. While it can be interesting to wonder about which house we’d get sorted into at Hogwarts, we should never take personality quizzes too seriously. 
 
In contrast to reality, where our closest relationships depend on our background or who we’re related to, fictional worlds like Harry Potter create sharp boundaries between people with different values and abilities. There is an illusion of stability, as if each person fits in their own group and can live this way in total harmony.  
 
Personality quizzes are easy, entertaining, and often promote a sense of community. Sometimes the results are ridiculous and make us laugh. Other times, they allow us to feel normal and find comfort in organized kinds of diversity. 
 
There’s nothing wrong with taking personality quizzes—we’re naturally wired to seek out ways to self-reflect. However, it’s worth knowing our personalities are unique and rarely set in stone. They can’t be categorized by a simple label or result.
 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.