Since we're done with personality disorders, I thought it would be nice to do a series on personality "types," something everyone can relate to. So consider this week the overview, complete with two versions of tests...fully approved by The Character Therapist as being helpful...to start us off.
When I was in college, I took this personality quiz to see if I was a lion, otter, beaver or golder retriever. (Gary Smalley and John Trent, two Christian counselors I hold an amazing amount of respect for, developed this system to pair personalities with images of an animal instead of some clinical term.) It was my first real exposure to a "pop" psychology personality test.
Now, there are many versions of this test out there. I've personally taken the DISC (stands for Dominant, Influential, Steady and Conscientious, which is just another way of describing the animal test). There's also the 4 temperaments or humours (like sanguine and choleric) and Types "A/B/C/D."
More validated tests include the Myers-Briggs and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (or MMPI, as some of you might recognize). Therapeutically, it's helpful to know where a person falls in these types of tests because it can affect how a therapist approaches them or how their outcome will be.
How is this helpful for writers? Personally, I think everyone should take the following tests below to see where you fall on the personality spectrum. Since we have a tendency to write what we know, most likely our heroes and heroines are the same type as we are, or at least our secondary type.
But what about the villain who's the exact opposite? Or the side-kick friend? Or--*gasp!*--a hero/heroine who doesn't think or act like we do who we don't quite know what to do with? It's important to know what type they are so that you make their reactions believable and realistic. You can't have a Lion respond like Beaver on a regular basis. All personalities can do things out of character for them (and should...as this makes for multi-dimensional characters, according to Donald Maass), but by and large, our personality type dictates how we respond to certain situations.
So are you ready to take this easy little test for yourself...and then for your characters? If so, click here. You give yourself one point for every word or phrase that applies to you and then you double it to receive your score for each animal personality type. Highest score indicates your type. There is additional information there about strengths, weaknesses and Biblical counterparts, which is cool.
Another version of this test can be found here on Quibblo. This particular version is essentially the Personality Plus test developed by Florence Littauer (which is copyrighted, so I'm not exactly sure how the test creator got away with it...but there you have it: the evils of the Internet for your advantage). Go with your GUT reaction. When in doubt, select the word that most often applied to you when you were a child. (The first 20 questions are strengths, the last 20 are weaknesses...so beware that about halfway through, you're not going to want to select any answer...but be fair to yourself. And don't be put off by the picture paired with your personality type. The pictures were selected by the test creator and in no way reflect the content of the test.)
The next 4 Thursday Therapeutic Thoughts (T3) will focus on one of the personality types below:
Once you take the test and figure out where you fall, sit back and wait for me to touch on your personality type. We'll go over strengths and weaknesses regarding emotions, work, friends, spirituality, and more. We're talking a potential WEALTH of info about your characters, so hopefully you'll join me over the next month on Thursdays.
Q4U: Leave a comment with what type you are, from one or both of the tests. It could be fun to see where everyone lines up. :)