Mind & Body

This 10-Minute Personality Test Can Measure You on the 5 Main Personality Traits

We've told you about therapy before, but there's something about the business of mental health that's hard to quantify. A medical doctor can tell you if you've got a fever or if your arm is broken, but how can you measure exactly how neurotic you are? Easy: take this test.

An Ocean in Everyone

Welcome to the OCEAN. That's short for Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism, and it's the five-point personality profile some professionals use to assess the psychological states of their patients.

The International Personality Item Pool can help you find out exactly where you place on the board. There are two versions. The 300-point test is perhaps more accurate, but psychology professor John Johnson (who put together this online resource) warns that it can take up to 40 minutes, and worse, the website tends to crash. So you may want to try the 120-point test instead since you'll only lose 15 minutes tops if the internet eats your results.

Even 120 questions sounds like a lot, but they go by pretty quickly. The points are just short statements of things you might do, such as "keep your promises" and "go on binges," and you answer on a scale from "very inaccurate" to "accurate" regarding how they apply to you. When you get your results back, you'll be ranked on exactly how open to new experiences, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, and neurotic you are. If you really want to know, that is.

Under the OCEAN

The thing is, the test is grading you on more than just the Big Five. Each of those personality traits can be split into smaller pieces for greater precision. So under "Extraversion," you're actually being graded on things like "assertiveness," "friendliness," and "cheerfulness." "Agreeableness" includes "trust," "morality," and "modesty." And dark-horse personality trait "Neuroticism" includes such traits as "anxiety," "anger," "depression," and "self-consciousness."

Just remember that the test isn't actually a judgment of your worth or quality as a person. Even if, for example, you get a low score on "morality," that might just mean you are more guarded than others, or that you are less open with the truth than the average person. It's probably a trait that should be examined, sure. Just don't mistake it for saying you're a bad person.

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Want to learn how to adjust your attitude when it comes to managing your emotions and relating to others? Check out Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves' "Emotional Intelligence 2.0," free with a trial membership to Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Reuben Westmaas March 19, 2018

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