Finally, A Personality Quiz Backed By Science

By Maggie Koerth-Baker and Julia Wolfe

What’s your personality, and what can it tell you about your true self? Those questions have launched a thousand online personality quizzes. But you can do better than those specious — yet irresistible — quizzes. You can take a personality quiz backed by science.

Meet the Big Five, the way most psychologists measure and test personality. It’s a system built on decades of research about how people describe one another and themselves. (You can read more about it in this article we published last year.) There are a couple of things that make it — and this quiz — different.

First, the Big Five doesn’t put people into neat personality “types,” because that’s not how personalities really work. Instead, the quiz gives you a score on five different traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, negative emotionality and openness to experience. For each of those traits, you’re graded on a scale from 0 to 100, depending on how strongly you associate with that trait. So, for example, this quiz won’t tell you whether you’re an extravert or an introvert — instead, it tells you your propensity toward extraversion. Every trait is graded on a spectrum, with a few people far out on the extremes and a lot of people in the middle.

The other thing that makes the Big Five different is it lets you easily compare your score to others’. We’re going to show you how your personality compares with that of the average American. And once you get your results, you can invite friends and relatives to compare your personality to theirs. (In the meantime, you’ll be stuck comparing yourself to the average FiveThirtyEight staffer.)

So what are you waiting for? Find out who you really are — take the quiz for yourself!