[Side bar: I know what you must be thinking.
You just posted you went to see Thor: Ragnarok and you’re posting about a personality test? Are you serious?
I get it. The thing is, though, I just came out of the movie. Two things need to happen before I actually post a decent review. The first being to bask in the glow, so to speak, of the movie. To take it all in. To replay it in my mind a dozen of times plus a dozen of times. The second is to go through it about another dozen of times with a critical eye. So, bare with me!]
And so, the personality test.
There are tons of personality tests out there. I mean, really. I, myself, have taken a whole bunch of them. It started with the book Personality Plus by Florence Littauer (Melancholy/Phlegmatic, in case you were wondering) and ended with the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator (a proud INTPer here). Between those two were a bunch that dealt more in a professional-strengths-and-weakness capacity.
You’re probably thinking, “Gee, obsessed much?” And you wouldn’t be too far off. It started off as an exploration of what I wanted to do for a career which leads me to think about my personality. And about five tests later I would like to say I’m pretty confident with my results (which ends up pretty similar to each other when all is said and done).
I’m going to focus on the Meyer-Briggs personality test results because that seems to be the one a lot of people reference. Mine is spot on. Spot. On. It was scarily accurate. And it provided some insight into what I’m like. Now, I understand that this is a very subjective topic. It’s actually a very new trend, starting around the 90s and get more popular over the years.* There have been valid arguments against personality tests that mainly lie with the test-takers motivation to lie.*
But putting all the scientific-y stuff aside, the main problem I see is that some people can take them too seriously and possibly use it as an excuse for behaviors. However, they can be very insightful, when you are truthful, into why you prefer certain things or behave a certain way. It provides great insight into possible strengths and possible weaknesses.
They help a long way in understanding others.
This can be applied to real-life situations, but also in fiction (fiction encompassing all forms of entertainment). Because personalities are generally grouped, its all to easy to recognize that kind of person. Like Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter. When I first read her character I couldn’t help but smile because I have a relative who acts in a similar fashion. Reading that she was possibly an INFP, described as an idealist always looking for the good, made some sense of her character and explained some of her odd behaviors.
As much as personality testing has helped me, it really helped in understanding the characters of some of my beloved stories (in books, TV, and movies). Not every character gets an origin story, but by reading their possible personality type, it does help make things real and provides insight into how they work. It’s not always accurate, because there is a spectrum for these types of things with a lot of other factors like upbringing and values, but I find that it makes them real and relatable. I also think that it helps with writing a character as well. It’s a great starting point to guide character development and a great tool when trying to create conflict and tensions for the plot.
So if you haven’t already, you should give personality types a look see. It couldn’t hurt. And it may just shed some light on the why-oh-why moments of your favorite character and your favorite story.
*Works Cited: Morgeson, Federick et. al. “Reconsidering the use of personality tests in personnel selection contexts.” Personnel Psychology, vol. 60 (3), p. 683-729.
Pictures: jobboardfinder.net and Mental Floss