Are you an ENFJ? Type 9 Enneagram? Pisces too?
Just like maybe you have, I’ve been curious as to what personality ‘type’ I am and have tried a bunch of these tests myself.
“But the last one is your horoscope”, you might be thinking – and you’re right. However, I reckon that horoscopes are not as different from these personality tests as you may expect….
Myers-Briggs, Enneagram – although intriguing and fun – are not evidence-based whatsoever. Bummer, I know.
So what is it about them that means we keep using them?
I think for one, there’s a natural curiosity in us as humans – a wanting to understand ourselves – that means we are drawn to this kind of thing.
The reason I bring up horoscopes is because they have existed across cultures and continents, for many years before ‘evidence-based’ mattered to anyone. There are countless different systems globally that have been used to describe our sense of character, our behaviour and also even our relational compatibility with each other. These spiritual practices have deep roots and are meaningful to each their respective cultures. So this curiosity about our personalities is seemingly universal and has stood the test of time.
Are personality tests actually evidence based?
So why is it that we are talking about zodiacs in this context? Well I would argue that Myers-Briggs and such are more modern versions of horoscopes in this sense. Perhaps they are based on different measures than each other but essentially are developed as a better way of understanding and categorising our ‘natures’ (our personalities).
The misleading marketing of these tests has meant that they’re often mistaken for actual psychological tests though, but tests like Myers-Briggs are more commonly used in the business/human resources realm than in psychology.
No doubt, they are fun to explore and chat to your friends and coworkers about, but if you want to better understand personality, there’s the ‘Big 5’ personality traits you can look into.
As a model of understanding human personality, it’s the most widely accepted in academic psychology. It’s made up of 5 factors:
- ‘Openness to experience’
- and ‘Neuroticism’
Check out our post on Instagram for more info about the Big 5.
Now this might not be as fun as reading all about what will happen to you this week as Mercury is in retrograde but it might give you a more accurate depiction of your personality.
If you do a Big 5 test, you may also notice that the variation for each person is much more than what can be distilled into 9 or even 16 total personalities. And to think that the Big 5 doesn’t even explain all of human personality – humans are just a lot more nuanced apparently!