July 20, 2004

That personality test.

Everyone seems to be taking that Personality Disorder Test today. Tonya took it (and it's her birthday, and she's got that whole turning 40 thing overshadowing the day). Prof. Yin took it--and put it in his "humor" category, though the only humor seems to be being "strangely" not disordered at all. The Slithery D took it, and seems to think scoring high for personality disorders is a mark of humanity.

The test is overwhelming affected by how you interpret the questions. Slithery D notes how often the word "sometimes" is used (really, only twice). What I noticed is how often the word "often" is used (eleven!) and how often an intense word like "yearn" is used. If you like the idea of yourself being un-disordered, you'll interpret "often" to mean more than the number of times you do a given thing. "Do you often feel uncomfortable in social situations?" Sure, you'd be weirdly numb if you never felt uncomfortable, but are you going to judge yourself so harshly as to say you "often" do? Who's counting? "Do you feel a yearning for acceptance among your peers?" Well, nearly everyone wants acceptance to some extent, but do you have so little of it and want what you don't have so pathetically that you mope around yearning? If, on the other hand, you are harsh on yourself or you like to think of yourself as an outsider or a wild man who doesn't fit the confining restraints imposed by society, it probably took less to make you detect oftenness and yearning and so forth.

So now that I've said all that, do you even care whether I took the test and if I did, what I got? I took it and scored "low" in every single category, but I don't think that means much of anything other than that I'm either nonjudgmental toward myself or I really have a way with question interpretation. Or I'm a liar. Or frighteningly sane. (Don't even ask what I got on the Dante's Inferno Test.)

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