The Best Personality Tests
Personality is the individual differences in thinking, feeling, and behaving. It influences how you interpret an event, why you act in certain ways, and what makes you you. Knowing the ins and outs of your personality can not only help you to choose a career field that matches your natural strengths, it can also offer you various benefits from helping you to strengthen your existing relationships to enabling you to understand how you approach difficulties, and providing a way for you to learn more about yourself.
Although it may sound like something we should intuitively know, figuring out the finer details of our personality isn’t always easy, and personality tests are helpful tools for offering more clarity. Generally speaking, these are questionnaires and surveys designed by psychologists to measure different facets of one’s personality. With their versatile applications, these tests are used for multiple purposes. A psychologist may use them to gain insights when making a clinical diagnosis, for instance. Recruiters can also use them to predict how potential employees may behave in the company, while individuals can use them to help choose paths in life that are more suitable for living a more happy and fulfilled future.
When we google personality tests, there are plenty of options for us to pick from – not to mention the different versions available online, even just for one single test. It’s also important to note that different personality tests measure different things. Finding a test that suits your needs – whether you want to find out how extroverted or introverted you are for instance, or discovering which personality category you belong to – is essential to obtaining the most accurate results. So which personality test is the most credible? How can you choose a test that measures exactly what you want to know? Read on to learn three of the best personality tests for discovering more of your authentic self. These personality tests are backed by science, and are often used for research purposes.
The Big Five Personality Test
Developed based on The Big Five Personality Theory (also known as the Five-Factor Model or the OCEAN Model) this test can help discover where your own personality falls on a scale of the five personality types. The name was first coined by Dr. Lew Goldberg, and later developed by numerous psychologists during the 1980s. The theory postulates that there are five major personality traits – openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism – which we universally share. Instead of rigidly categorizing an individual into a fixed category, this personality test and the theory behind it suggests that all five traits exist on a continuum. Rather than telling you that you are an extrovert, for instance, this test takes a less rigid approach. It explains if you have a higher or lower score on extraversion, and how if this is on the higher side, this makes you more likely to be an extrovert.
The OCEAN acronym comes from the first letter of each trait. Below are some of the personality characteristics it describes, and insights into how people with different scores tend to behave:
- Openness to Experience: People who score higher on this trait tend to be more curious, adventurous, and creative. They are more likely to explore new options and generate fresh ideas. Those who score lower typically dislike change. They prefer sticking to tradition and staying inside their comfort zones.
- Conscientiousness: People with high scores on this trait tend to be more organized and pay more attention to the details. Conscientious people may set a schedule as they plan their tasks and make a to-do list before they start their work. Those who have lower scores don’t enjoy planning, and are more likely to go with the flow.
- Extraversion: People who score highly on this trait are “extroverts”. They enjoy social interactions and can gain energy from social activities – whether that’s partying with friends or meeting new people. Individuals with lower scores are called “introverts”. Social interactions can sometimes drain their energy, so they prefer spending time with just a few close friends or even on their own to recharge their inner peace.
- Agreeableness: Those who score high on this trait are more likely to be more patient, empathetic, and caring. Agreeable people are also more cooperative, making them great team players. Conversely, people with a lower score on this trait tend to be more competitive and hold a more skeptical view of the world.
- Neuroticism: People with higher scores on this tend to have less stable emotions because they tend to be more anxious, nervous, and worried when they encounter a negative event. Those who score lower are more emotionally stable, relaxed, and calm.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
This personality test was first designed by Katherine Cook Briggs and later developed by her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Eventually published in 1962, MBTI categorizes you into one of the 16 personality types by assessing your personality on four dichotomies: which one of the two groups, within the four aspects of personality, you belong to. Since Briggs and Myers were heavily influenced by Dr. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist whose approach explores unconsciousness, the MBTI suggests that personality can influence our perception of the world, be it consciously or unconsciously.
Here are the four dichotomies and their characteristics:
- Extraversion (E) vs Introversion (I): Extroverts feel energized by social interactions, as they derive energy from the outside world. Introverts, on the other hand, gain energy from their me-time.
- Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N): Sensing people believe in facts and experience and tend to be more down-to-earth. People who belong to the “intuition” category are fascinated by imagination, fantasy, and creativity.
- Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F): This suggests the way you make decisions. People on the “thinking” side prefer to think logically, while those on the “feeling” side tend to evaluate how their decisions can impact their and others’ feelings.
- Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P): Judging individuals are more task-oriented and organized. Perceiving individuals are more flexible and adaptive, and they also tend to dislike restrictions and savor freedom.
Your personality type, according to this test, will be a four-letter acronym that combines how you scored on the four dichotomies described above – for instance, ESTJ, INFP, or ISTP. There are 16 personality types in total. Each has its own talents and skills. There are also roles assigned to each of the types, each of which capturing its major characteristics:
The Eysenck Personality Inventory
This personality test was developed by Dr. Hans Eysenck – a personality psychologist – from his own theory, The Eysenck’s Theory of Personality, in 1967. After his initial disagreement with the MBTI’s 16 personality types, he wanted to reduce the number of defined personalities, so he categorized them in his own way: he grouped them into dimensions. In his theory, he also puts forth the idea that our personalities are heavily influenced by our genetic and biological factors. So rather than focusing on how the environment reconstructs personality, his theory emphasizes the role of genes.
There are two dimensions of personality in this model: the Extraversion/Introversion dimension and the Neuroticism/Stability dimension. They are two independent continuums, and basically, they assess how extroverted and neurotic you are. Your final scores of the two dimensions will make you fall somewhere on the graph below, which in turn categorizes you in one of the four personality types: sanguine (stable extrovert); choleric (neurotic extrovert); phlegmatic (stable introvert); and melancholic (neurotic introvert).
What Is Your Personality?
There is no good or bad personality. Although certain traits may be seemingly more preferable in some societies, we're all unique in our own way, and each characteristic has its own strengths. Introversion makes for empathetic listeners and disagreeableness makes for curious scientists, while neuroticism makes for cautious individuals who always think and act carefully. The results you get from these personality tests don't necessarily indicate anything that makes you more valued than the others, nor do they carry any meaning that makes you less favorable. Rather, these tests are simply tools that can help you understand more about yourself objectively.
Do you recognize yourself in some of these traits? What personality traits do you think you have? When you’re taking these tests, answer the questions as honestly as you can for the best and most accurate results. By learning more about your unique personality from these tests, you can use these insights to help become the best version of yourself.
All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals and other resources that influenced this article: Personality - American Psychological Association; The Big Five Personality Traits; Five-Factor Model of Personality; How the Ocean Personality Model Affects the Perception of Crowds; Lewis Goldberg - University of Oregon; The History of Katharine Briggs, Isabel Myers, and the MBTI®; Using Personality Type Differences to Form Engineering Design Teams; Carl Jung - Swiss Psychologist; Psychologist Hans Eysenck Biography; The Eysenck’s Theory of Personality; The Big Five Personality Test; 16 Personalities; Eysenck Personality Inventory.
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