see just how neurotic you are
Personality tests are fun. Scientifically the most rigorous personality test is the Big 5 personality test. Five dimensions of personality, that’s it: neuroticism (my favorite), extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience.
So, how cool is it that you can capture someone, wholly, based on how they score on five dimensions?! Hard-core personality scholars argue that any variety of characteristics can be collapsed into these five. Wrong, but cool nonetheless.
And, there are some great predictions that one can make with these scores: job performance, occupational choice, well-being and happiness, all kinds of interpersonal outcomes (friendship, romance), criminal activity, volunteerism and community involvement, etc, etc. And, the separated twin studies? They show some rather huge correlations.
I had my students take the BIG 5 test before class today. You can take the test here, for free (either the short or long version). I also took the test again. Me? I came out very stable, conscientious, intelligent and handsome: a stand-out really. For fun: have someone who knows you well take the test for you. Then compare the scores. That’s of course not the intended use of the test, but it does raise some interesting questions. I had my wife take the test for me: we had some 40+ point divergences in sub-scores. That was an interesting discussion.
And, here: see just how neurotic people from New York and New Jersey are — a cool, interactive map that ranks states on the Big 5 personality scores.
***Here’s an update — a summary chart of the findings from a number of twins Big 5 studies, from a Science article by Bouchard.