Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Personality Metrics (November 2012)

I've spent the day doing web-based personality tests. There is no subject more fascinating than oneself. Anyone who isn't me may want to skip this post.

The first one was for political opinions. It's at:


and it tries to classify your politics along two separate axes. I scored:

Economic Left/Right: -2.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.97

Apparently this makes me a libertarian lefty, a political ally of Ghandi and the Green Party.

The libertarian bit seems fair. Fuck off government.

But the left-wing bit strikes me as a bit unlikely. I do often vote Green, but that's because I love trees and hate cars, and want to send that message to the larger parties. I think the Greens' economics is loony, and I'd cheerfully die in order to prevent them getting their hands on power.

My ideal government would have been be the old Liberal party, before it merged with the lefty Social Democrats.

But out of Labour and the Tories, I feel happier when the Tories are in power. They seem to mess up less and interfere in my life less. The current Lib-Dem/Tory compromise strikes me as about right economically.

But the political compass has me as an anarcho-syndicalist, with all the major British parties well to the right of me economically, and way more authoritarian than me. One of my beliefs must be wrong. I wonder which it is?

Next one was the so-called Big Five test:


Apparently this is taken quite seriously by psychologists, and when I first heard about how it was designed, I thought "Yes, that's the way I would have liked to design a personality test".

I'm Open 95% Conscientious 41% Extravert 91% Agreeable 17% and Neurotic 4%

So, crazy open to new ideas, slightly less conscientious than average, very extrovert, very calm in a crisis, and rather disagreeable and rude.

All that seems terribly plausible. However I took the same test 6 months ago, and it came out:

Open 96% Conscientious 46% Extravert 93% Agreeable 79% Neurotic 11%

So it looks as though four of these traits are stable, but sometimes I'm very rude and disagreeable and sometimes I'm very tactful and nice. Or more accurately, since this is measuring my own answers to various questions, sometimes I think I'm nice and sometimes I think I'm nasty.

I'm quite impressed by the stability of the test over six months on four of its axes, but really, what sort of measurement is it that can go from 17% to 79% on the exact same questions answered six months apart by the same person?

An IQ test next (I wanted a second opinion):


On which I scored 148. That sounds about right, I always used to get somewhere between 150-170 on IQ tests. The scores are a bit variable at the ends of the scale. And I'm aging and have probably poisoned my brain a bit with alcohol over the years, so it's no surprise if I'm in a bit of a decline. Also there's the Flynn effect, which means that modern IQ tests have to be harder to make up for the fact that people are getting better at IQ tests. No one knows what is going on here, although I'm inclined to believe that people really are just getting cleverer. This means that an IQ of 165 in 1980 is about the same as an IQ of 150 in 2010.

The weird thing here is that I'm pretty sure that I got all the answers right, so I cheated and did the test again. The questions were the same, so I was able to do them a lot faster. On the second pass my score was 151, which isn't much of an increase. On the third pass I had all the answers memorised, and so I filled them in about as fast as it's possible for a human to do. That was worth 152.

I don't see how it could be done better, so unless I've got an answer wrong, this test probably tops out at 152, and speed seems to be worth very little.

And a second IQ test:


On which I got 147. Again, I think I got every question right, so I think I'm just topping out the test, like a fat bloke finding that his scales hit the bar.

Then there's the Myers-Briggs personality score, widely used in industrial personality profiling.


Extravert(56%)  iNtuitive(75%)  Thinking(12%)  Judging(1%)

So as far as I can tell from reading the explanation on the site, the Myers-Briggs type indicator is just some incoherent rubbish thing mainly designed so as not to offend anyone.

It does seem nice and stable though. About six months ago, I took this test and got ENFJ with strengths for each factor of 67/50/12/1. That evening, I tried the test again and got ENFP 22/38/25/11, and now apparently I'm: ENTJ 56/75/12/1

So it looks like I'm pretty normal on the last two factors, but am strongly extroverted and prone to abstract theorizing.

I think that's probably what you'd conclude if you talked to me for five minutes.

Next, the question that everyone who likes numbers must ask themselves: Am I Autistic?


Score 13 ( A bit less autistic that the average person)

So happily not. And this despite having spent the day doing personality tests on the web.

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