6.16.2007

Veddddy In-ter-est-ing

My thanks to my friend, Mary, who posted a link to Personal DNA, an online personality test, on her blog. Having worked all through college as an assistant to the director of my college's Psychological Testing Service, I have a predictable attraction to tests that profess to tell me what I already know.

The test took me about 35 minutes to complete. I'd say it was about 80% accurate, and I think I understand how the 20% discrepancy came about. The category they assigned me is "Faithful Visionary," which to me sounds a bit like a description of a Moonie (Mary's "Benevolent Architect" sounds much more -- well -- benevolent).

One interesting thing was my comparative score on one of the qualities the test measures: "femininity." Relative to the 30,000 other test-takers that Personal DNA claims to have on file, I registered a paltry score of 4 , which means that 96% of the other (I assume) females that took the test had higher showings in that category. I have only my recollection of the types of questions and the way I answered them to go by, but I suspect that the questions likely equated "femininity" with qualities that society has traditionally associated with women -- for example, putting others' concerns before their own (a question I specifically recall from the test) -- qualities that I, partly by choice and partly by circumstance, possess not at all or to a lesser degree than this historical model of womanhood.

The other way to look at this, of course, is that 96% of the women who took this test have these qualities, irrespective of whether there's gender bias in the questions, and that I'm way out of step with my fellow women (or at least the ones who took this test). BookGirl isn't going to lose any sleep over this -- gee, I almost said that BookGirl wasn't going to worry her pretty little head over it, but that would have been wrong.

If like me, you enjoy this kind of thing, take the test. Many of the questions are thought-provoking, and that's always a good thing.

3 comments:

Riverlark said...

Bookgirl, that is SO crazy. I couldn't imagine anyone more thoughtful and even feminine than you! But I think you're right about the test. In any case, these are only tools for understanding. None of them are ever 100% accurate.

BookGirl said...

Thanks for the compliment, RL. As to the Personal DNA question about putting others' concerns before one's own, in fact, I weighted my response toward not putting others' concerns before mine. I don't think, as you note, that that necessarily makes me thoughtless, but I suspect that many of the women who have taken the test weighted that particular question in the other direction, i.e., putting other's concerns before their own.

My guess is that the test interprets "putting the needs of others ahead of your own needs" as a "feminine" characteristic, which I think is problematic. It would be more appropriate to consider it gender-neutral.

By using "masculine" and "feminine" as descriptors, the test designers are making certain value judgments that they shouldn't be making. For example, if questions relating to whether a person is more independent or dependent are associated with "masculinity" (for the former) and "femininity" (for the latter), then an independent woman would, according to the test, have a lower "feminine" ranking and higher "masculine" ranking. That's what I thought was amusing.

As I mentioned, 'though, these things are fun to take, and I'm a sucker for them.

e. beck said...

i've already taken that test...don't recall where i got the link ....i am a considerate creator......which sounds great....but it says on extrovert that i am 4%...making me a total introvert! which i'm not......i don't know many people more extroverted than i am.....so....another glitch in the test?