7 Online Personality Quizzes That Are Actually Worth Taking

05/02/2014 08:23 am ET | Updated May 02, 2014
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Which Cruel Intentions character are you? And how extreme is your devotion to pizza? Do you know what your favorite breakfast food says about you?

These are just a few of the seemingly endless array of questions that can be answered by the thousands of online personality quizzes, most recently made viral by Buzzfeed.

Long before Buzzfeed, though, these quizzes were a staple of teen and women's magazines, catering our insatiable thirst to discover and categorize ourselves. And as Slate recently pointed out, the most popular New York Times article of 2013 was in fact a quiz written by an intern.

But ages ago, Socrates described the basic human impetus to know thyself -- a fundamental drive that we all have to explore and understand ourselves. Now, with a quiz to tell us everything we could possibly want to know about ourselves (and things we never wanted to know), in the Internet age, our real desire may be to categorize thyself.

"We like to believe the world is categorize-able," Emma Roller wrote in Slate. "On the dark side of human nature, this desire to simplify the world is one justification for prejudice of all kinds; on the light side, it makes lists super fun. Life is so much easier when you can lump people into different boxes!"

Psychologists have suggested that the quizzes may cater to a need to reaffirm the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our inner narrative.

"It reinforces a sense of ourself, whether it has any legitimacy or not," media psychologist Robert Simmermon told the Huffington Post in February. "We know it's not literal, but we hold out maybe a little secret part of ourselves that hopes it is true."

But if knowing which Pretty Little Liar or classic Jimmy Eat World song you are isn't doing enough to build up your sense of self, try an online personality quiz that's based in actual psychological research. You may actually learn a worthwhile thing or two about yourself (taking the results with a grain of salt, of course).

Check out these seven research-based online quizzes below for a little dose of self-knowledge (and perhaps, validation).

Are you in love?

love

So you're in a new relationship and you can't stop thinking about your significant other -- but is it really love? The question of love is one that's baffled and preoccupied countless poets, artists and romantics of all types, and even psychologists who study human relationships and sexuality haven't come to a good working definition. But there is one test, created by University of Maryland psychologist Sandra Langeslag and her team, that does a pretty good job of assessing the behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and physical "symptoms" of being in a state of romantic love (which involves both infatuation and attachment).

Take Langeslag's 20-question quiz to tell you if your relationship is romantic love. To qualify as this type of love, you'll have to score high on both infatuation and attachment.

How mindful are you?

mindfulness

"You are introduced to a group of people. After shaking hands and exchanging names, you realize you weren’t really listening and have no idea what their names are."

Sound familiar? If it does, you might have a tendency towards spaciness and distraction -- and you could probably benefit from bringing a little more mindfulness into your daily life. Determine how mindful (or mindless) you are with this simple, eight-question True/False quiz from the Mindful Leadership Institute can help you determine how mindful (or mindless) you are in your everyday life. Determining your score is simple: The more True's you end up with, the less mindful you are.

How emotionally intelligent are you?

two women fighting

Think you can tell the difference between fear and surprise? You might actually be surprised at how difficult it is to read others' facial expressions, a skill that's important measure of compassion and empathy. Try a facial recognition quiz from the University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center to test your aptitude on this marker of emotional intelligence.

If your score is low, don't read into it too much -- while the quiz is a good indication of your ability to read the facial expressions of others, it's not the only measure of emotional intelligence. Things like self-awareness, emotional regulation, and social skills also come into play, according to psychologist Daniel Goleman.

What are your defining personality traits?

Can your personality be summed up after answering 40 questions? You may not want to think that you're that easy to figure out, but one personality test professes to crack the personality code with one simple measurement.

The "You Just Get Me" test, created by professional psychologists and recommended by the New York Times, gives you a thorough assessment of your personality traits after answering 40 questions. Even better, you'll get a personality "bubble chart" revealing which traits you possess most and least strongly.

How mentally well are you?

stress

If you're concerned about your mental health (or wondering if you should be concerned), PsychCentral's Sanity Score mental health test -- a questionnaire based in psychological research -- can be a good starting point to exploring your own mental health. (But, of course, it's not to be taken as a substitute for a professional opinion.) Over 250,000 people have taken the test, which is still in its beta version. After completing the test, users are directed to resources and more specific quizzes to target the issues that might be occurring in their lives.

What Meyers-Briggs personality type are you?

Perhaps the most popular personality test ever designed, the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) -- based on Jungian psychology and Briggs Meyers' typology -- uses four indexes to categorize individuals into one of 16 personality types. Within the four modes of engagement, you fall into one of two poles: you're either primarily Introverted or Extrovered (I/E), Intuitive or Sensing (N/S), Thinking or Feeling (T/F), and Perceiving or Judging (P/J).

The test may not be a completely reliable assessment of personal character (it's validity has been called into question by various researchers). But it's a fun one to take, if for no other reason than its outrageous popularity, it's a good one for cocktail party conversation. Take your type assessment with a sense of humor, and see how much the description resonates with you.

Are you a narcissist?

narcissist

Are you an introvert -- or an overly-sensitive narcissist? Seriously, it may be a worthwhile question to ask yourself. You may be surprised to know that these qualities could be easily confused with each other. Psychology Jonathan Cheek found that scoring highly on this "Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale" (covert narcissism specifically is related to feelings of hypersensitivity, vulnerability and anxiety) was correlated with higher levels of entitlement, shame, and neuroticism, and lower levels of things like self-esteem, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Try your hand at the 23-point questionnaire to see if you might have any covert narcissist tendencies, assessed by rating your degree of agreement or disagreement with statements like "I can become entirely absorbed in thinking about my personal affairs, my health, my cares or my relations to others."

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