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Online Psychological Tests: How to Learn More About Yourself and Not Accidentally Become a Follower of “Horoscopes”

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What is your character or temperament?

What is your level of emotional intelligence?

Is it easy to seduce you?

What kind of animal are you?

If you have taken a similar test at least once, you should read this text. Curiosity about their personality, character, and intellect forces people to look for information about themselves in books, articles, psychologists, or even horoscopes.

“What do horoscopes have to do with it?” You ask.

All adherents of science and evidence-based medicine know that horoscopes are a toy that will not say anything real about a person. However, if you took psychological tests online, you probably got the same “bait” as horoscope fans, without even knowing it.

Yes, most of the tests you can find online or in a magazine are entertaining rather than informative. This is a kind of pseudo-way of knowing yourself.

The first thing a person who has decided to dig into himself with the help of self-testing is to know that real psychological tests, which are developed and applied by specialists, are usually not publicly available. And stuff on the Internet has nothing to do with professional tests.

Therefore, in this text we will talk about:

  • whether there are adequate psychological tests on the Internet at all,
  • what can they tell us,
  • what to do if you really want to take an interesting test and find out if you are Napoleon or Don Quixote,
  • and what psychological tests online can help you detect a predisposition to certain mental disorders.

Why should psychological tests be performed with a specialist and not on your own?

In addition to the fact that professionals have access to professional tests, the reason is also in the interpretation of the test. A specialist always knows more subtle things. For example, there are projective testing techniques: a child draws a family and a spider next to someone. What can this mean?

This can be interpreted in different ways. Maybe someone just has a spider at home. There are still many details to be clarified in the course of diagnosis.

You have to be careful with that. Therefore, everything that is written on the Internet is not necessarily true.

Each drawing can have its own projection, which is based on the personal experience of the person who drew, not the one who interpreted.

Psychologists also advise people who are prone to anxiety to refrain from taking psychological tests, as the results of the questionnaire can only harm them.

And some test results can not even be shown to respondents. Sometimes people who are tested are anxious on their own and can get something that worries them. If they read it with a specialist, they can remain calm easier.

It’s like reading a disease guide, when you find a bunch of diseases you think you may have.

Sometimes tests can injure a person. For example, in one of the tests, the results contain the word “exile”. How a teenager can perceive this information if they receive it unprofessionally?

However, if a person has an interest in the field of psychology and a tendency to reflect, you can take any tests and have their results as guidelines.

Psychologists emphasize that you cannot get diagnosed by a test.

They can be taken into account only as part of a prosses.

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How to determine that the test can tell you something useful

Psychologists emphasize that you should take professional tests only with a specialist.

But if you have already found an interesting questionnaire, here are some points to pay attention to before passing it:

Look at the source

Is this a test from a reputable organization or person? Is it approved by a certified professional?

It is free?

There are usually no good tests in open access. Professional tests are usually expensive.

Take a look at the questions. Do they make sense?

Sometimes in personality tests weird questions — for example, do you identify with snakes? Or how do you react to a certain color? Such tests already claim the status of pseudo-scientific.

The main indicator of a good test is validity.

All professional tests are validated — a test of their objectivity in large enough groups of people. If the test is not valid, then its use is more fun than a professional approach.

That is, if the test was not tested before, it is useless to hope for the accuracy of its results.

The psychological test cannot be very short and must contain at least 15 questions.

Professional tests have questions about veracity. 

The tests should include several identical but different questions.

If you answer them differently, it will show that you could have lied in other questions, so the test may show an inaccurate result.

Professional tests have closed questions, where it is unclear which answer is better to choose.

Otherwise, the tests will not show the real result, but what you want to hear.

If there is a question that you can answer without a test, then this test is meaningless.

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What psychological tests can actually help

In addition to the well-known tests for character, emotional intelligence, and temperament, there are questionnaires in psychology that help determine the predisposition to certain disorders.

Beck’s Depression Inventory. It helps to diagnose the level of depression.

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This is one of the effective tools for diagnosing postpartum depression.

Beck Anxiety Inventory. Anxiety test.

Because depression is common now, and we often take its symptoms for granted, these scales of depression are good diagnostic material. Of course, you don’t have to diagnose yourself with them, but the results of these tests can be a reason to consult a mental health specialist.

These questionnaires are freely available on the Internet in various languages.

If you decide to take any of these tests and the results confuse you, see a doctor — you should not diagnose yourself.

If you want to explore your personality lengthwise and crosswise, the American psychology site Phycology Today has compiled dozens of tests that may help you with this.

But the tests emphasize that they are for information only, and it is not good to make “diagnoses” based on the results.