5 Personality Tests That Will Give You Insight Into Yourself and Others

Dawn Bevier

Whether used for fun, for self-exploration or psychological insights on others, people all love to explore the human personality

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The human personality is complicated, and most people spend a good deal of time trying to understand both themselves and others. People’s actions and motivations frequently perplex us, and if we’re honest, we’re often just as confused about why we do the things we do as well.

This is why we take those silly tests that pop up on our social media feeds, such as “Take this test and find out what kind of a dog you are,” or “Which Game of Thrones character are you most like?”

We know these tests are not rooted in evidence, and God knows who made them up, right?

But we take them anyway, and often crazily find ourselves thinking, “Yep, that’s me. I’m Jon Snow” or “I always knew I was a labrador. That’s why I own three of them, right?”

However, the personality tests outlined below are different. They are some of the bigger ones used by many professionals, corporations, and psychologists. Here is a look at each one of them with links to free online tests.

1. Myers Briggs Personality Test

Gone are the days of what’s your sign. Now it’s I’m an INFJ, what are you?

We’ll start with the test that virtually everyone already knows. Millions of people complete this test yearly.

This personality assessment was developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Katherine and her daughter Isabel, who had always shared a compulsion to understand the different dynamics of personality, were especially intrigued by psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s ideas expressed in his book Psychological Types. Starting with Jung’s theories and doing additional research as well on individuals and their personality traits, Isabel began to develop a paper and pencil questionnaire, which later became known as the MBTI instrument or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

The test focuses on four different indicators of behavior and thought processes concerning how an individual relates to the world.

These four indicators are:

  • Extroversion or Introversion — whether people choose to engage with others or tend to keep to themselves
  • Sensing or Intuition — whether people adhere to logic and hard evidence or gut instinct and less concrete emotional reactions
  • Thinking or Feeling — whether a person makes decisions based on rationality or emotion
  • Judging or Perceiving —whether a person’s life is dictated by high levels of planning and structure or by open-mindedness and spontaneity

The assessment uses these differences as a basis for their sixteen different personality types.

There are a number of websites where you can take a version of this assessment, and I have provided a link to one here.

While this site may not contain the actual formal version of the test, it will assess your personality and also provide fun facts on your best qualities, romantic and relationship traits and needs, best career choices, and even show you famous people in history and in the world today who share your type.

2. The DISC personality test

Psychologist Dr. William Marston is the original theorist behind the DISC personality test. His explorations of people’s behavioral patterns were initially introduced in his 1928 book entitled Emotions of Normal People and refined further in his second book Integrative Psychology.

Marston proposed that a person’s personality can be better understood based on evaluations of his or her levels of dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance — thus the acronym DISC.

In 1940, psychologist Walter Clarke built an assessment based upon Marston’s theories. The assessment has been refined in the years since then, and many businesses have used assessment results to help leaders and coworkers become more self-aware of their own behaviors and to improve working relationships in a company.

This assessment also offers them an insight into possible reasons for conflict in the professional environment and how best to resolve those conflicts based on their employees’ personal belief systems, motivations, and behaviors.

Although the most accurate version of the tests is likely one requiring purchase online, there are free versions based on the test that will give you an idea of where you, your friends, and your coworkers fall on the DISC scale. Here is a link to one free one.

3. The Enneagram personality test

The fundamental ideas for this test were based upon the observations and studies of Oscar Ichazo.

Using the ancient symbol of the enneagram, Ichazo’s work centered around the idea of nine personality types or “ego states.” The theory is that one can use his personality type, often described as a number 1–9, to better understand himself or herself and his or her best and worst qualities. There are different versions of these tests, but here is a link to one that is free.

4. The Big Five Personality test

Psychologist World ‘s article entitled “Five-Factor Model of Personality” explains the evolution of thought and research that went into this particular personality test. It explains how Robert McRae and Paul Costa took a history of personality studies and developed a “5 Factor” Model” of personality, which psychologist Lewis Goldberg termed the “Big Five.”

Goldberg then developed an International Personality Item Pool that grouped descriptive statements relating to each trait.

This model is often called the “OCEAN” model of personality because it measures personality according to:

  • Openness to new experiences or ideas
  • Conscientiousness and how much one shows a propensity towards both organization and dedication to a plan, goal, or philosophy
  • Extraversion or Introversion and how one moves either towards or away from social interaction
  • Agreeableness and how one’s interactions with others are based on selfishness or a need to serve others. Also involved in this element is an individual’s level of trust concerning those with whom they come into contact.
  • Neuroticism or one’s level of tranquility or anxiety in response to daily stressors.

Here is a link to one version of the “Big Five” test.

5. The Dark Triad test

Okay. So maybe I should have put this test first because, if you take it, that lovable, productive, adventurous “you” that was validated through the other personality assessments may be obliterated.

The Dark Triad test is one often used not only in the psychiatric and business worlds but in the criminal justice system as well.

Before this test, scientists had developed individual tests that pinpointed the darker sides of human personality such as people’s tendency towards manipulation and deception, egotism, and psychopathic traits, such as having little or no empathy for others.

In 2011, Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones decided to create a shorter test that assessed each of these features at one time, and the test was coined “The Dark Triad.”

The assessment centers around the traits above known by psychiatrists as:

  • Machiavellianism
  • Narcissism
  • Psychopathy

Comprised of twenty-seven statements that the individual must agree or disagree with, the test is fairly short and will show the person taking the test which of these traits is most dominant in himself or herself. Here is a link to the test online.

The bottom line

While it is my belief that no test can truly determine the individual at his or her core and that certainly none of these tests should be used in place of therapy or medical expertise, personality tests yield the individual a chance to ponder how and why he or she is the way she is. Viewing others’ results may also lead to insights on their actions and motivations, providing clues to how said persons will interact in a business, a relationship, or in future endeavors.

At the very least, it's a fun way to spend a Saturday night with friends over wine and conversation. At the most, it may provide a few key puzzle pieces to help us in our goals towards understanding the mysterious enigma that is the human being.

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Sanford, NC
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