I believe that the reason the majority of people are obsessed with horoscopes is not because they believe it holds power over their lives, but because we are simply obsessed with categorizing ourselves and in this scenario, I am guilty as charged. As a proud Aries, I love reading my daily horoscopes, telling me the do’s and don’ts of my day, what friends I am compatible with, and the reasons I am the way I am. However, this stretches far beyond horoscopes, I have now categorized my personality into hundreds of boxes, and this brings me immense satisfaction, all of which leads me perplexed as to why. During middle school, Buzzfeed quizzes were all the rave, and my friends and I would spend hours taking quizzes to determine what wedding cake or Harry Potter character you are. Speaking of Harry Potter, perhaps the most famous example of personality tests is the Pottermores’ House Sorting Quiz -where they sort you into a Hogwarts house -, furthermore, they had a Patronus test (a patronus is a spell that takes the shape of an animal corresponding to your soul), and these quizzes pretty much decided what your new persona was. Later on, a more mature example that surfaced is the Myers-Briggs 16 personalities test, which is supposed to be based on Carl Jung’s work, making it more scientific than Pottermore’s Patronus test. These examples can go on forever and are a perfect example of how humans like the confirmation of their qualities, especially ones that affirm their strengths.
According to Pamela Rutledge, director at Media Psychology Research Center, regardless that we live in a relatively sophisticated society, we remain a mystery to ourselves and therefore need external validation to reinstate the nature and habits of our personalities, leading us to search what our spirit animal is from a sketchy, and a very non-scientific website. This also coincides with the want of being ‘seen’. It is much easier to sell ourselves when we have these tests, especially on social media where people are too quick to determine what kind of person you are, participating in personality quizzes makes that decision for them.
Recently, I decided that I should retake the 16 personalities test as it had been a couple of years, but I was met with startling news, that I had a completely different result. During the retake, I even felt nervous about my answer, hoping I would get one that I would like and want to share, as I did with my previous result. But when it had finished loading, I felt my world shift, I was looking at my life from a new perspective. Of course, the test doesn’t have any bad personalities, so I had nothing to worry about, after all, I like who I’ve become. If anything, the new result only showed that I’ve evolved from my 17-year-old self – thank god – but it truly made me look at myself differently.
This was so important to me because having my identity explained to me was reassuring and it validated my existential craving to be something I could understand and explain to others, but I now felt like I had to mold myself into this new type. Personality tests are fun to take and to see eerie similarities between the results and yourself, but it is simply impossible for one test to determine everything about oneself, and we should therefore take our results with a pinch of salt, unless it’s about what patronus you are, then you should take it very seriously.