June 25, 2024

Exploring the Maze of Personality Tests on your “For You Page”: From Entertainment to Identity Distortion

by: Sneha Chopra


From taking personality quizzes in the early 2000s, leafing through magazines like TigerBeat and J14, to the present-day trend of sharing personality tests on your For You Page– when does putting confidence in these personality tests lead to a distorted sense of self-identity?

Background
Around a year ago, I saw an influx of personality types and “which one are you?” quizzes pop up on my FYP and I was beyond ecstatic. I loved this type of content as it occasionally fed into my ego, confirmed my preconceived opinions about myself and gave me a light-hearted sense of self. My friends and I would share them with each other and conversations about our “staple” characteristics would soon follow. But, as time went on and the algorithm began pushing out a plethora of these types of videos, I found myself analyzing this content and what associations continued to be forced to my view and my friends’. We started disagreeing with more than a few and realized these videos may be doing some harm to our self-perception.

Most of this content started with Zodiac sign personalities and obviously followed suit of the stereotypes of each sign. Some were simple and silly and some were niche and a little weird. Most were created with no legit reasoning.


Where is the harm?
Although these quizzes aren’t backed by science, research has demonstrated that younger generations are trusting the internet more. A study conducted by the UK Digital Media Company found that 53% of Gen Z and Millennials rely on advice from social media compared to their parents’ guidance. Our generation is trusting social media through a form of self-validation. Even worse- can these personality quizzes and zodiac pairings force untrue comparisons onto younger, developing minds that don’t have the maturity or esteem to look past a stranger’s belief of “who you are?”

These videos were most probably created with the intent to entertain, not influence. But, as this article by the JSTOR Daily found, getting your quiz results or seeing what other people think of your personality type isn’t what is problematic for most people. It’s the fact that the result has now exempt them from being another characteristic or type.

One scholar who experimented with these types of quizzes and finding their sexuality stated that, “For people who are sensitive to the prospect of constraint…the accrual of self-knowledge puts them between the proverbial rock and hard place…Although such people are innately driven to discover the self, the very act of defining the self is inconsistent with their conception of the self as an indefinable whole (Mohammed 1).”

In conclusion, the widespread use of personality tests on social media has changed over time, from being initially welcomed as a form of amusement and introspection to possibly endangering one’s perception of oneself. The risk arises when people, particularly those who are still developing, internalize the findings as defining traits, which could impede the process by which their self-concept naturally develops. These assessments must be taken with a critical eye, acknowledging their limitations and realizing that they are not infallible sources of identity.

Sneha Chopra-

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6 thoughts on “Exploring the Maze of Personality Tests on your “For You Page”: From Entertainment to Identity Distortion

  1. I loved this post! I thought everything you shared about horoscopes and zodiacs was super interesting, as I have also been thinking about this a lot recently. I, too hopped onto the personality quiz/zodiac trend pretty quickly, but have stopped feeding into it into the past year because of how oversaturated it’s gotten in the media. Funny enough though, someone recently sent me my Chinese Zodiac for the Chinese New Year, and a lot of the points you brought up came up for me as well. However, I didn’t consider the deeper impact this could have on our development. I will definitely keep this in mind, and make sure to be more aware of these things next time I see them.

  2. I really enjoyed this post! I have definitely seen this type of content on Tik Tok but have never really thought much about it. When this type of content is posted I like to watch until my zodiac sign gets talked about, or my initial of my first and last name means something. I know while I am watching it that there’s not actually any correlation regarding what they are talking about, but it can be fun to pretend! I can see now that these videos can be harmful to people’s perceptions of themselves and their friends. It is important to not be so trusting with social media.

  3. This is such an interesting topic! As a kid, I was super into the personality tests (especially those that were related to books or characters). But now that I’m older, I’m realizing that I did define myself based on those more than I should have. And as you point out, with Tik Tok and other social platforms now, they’re getting more prominent and can be deceptive to young people taking them and placing too much value on the results. Overall great post and an important topic to think about!

  4. Hi Sneha!
    I am still very interested in personality tests since they are fun and lighthearted but I also started seeing tests to see if you have ADHD and other tests along those lines. It can be very harmful to people that are actually diagnosed. And can oversaturate the disorder in a sense. In terms of personality tests, a lot of the videos are usually made just for gigs but they are not backed up by science which can be dangerous when it comes to self-identity.

  5. Hi! First off, I love your honesty in this piece. I feel like I was able to relate to you through your vulnerability right off the bat. It makes sense that we (Gen Z) relate the constant flow of information onto ourselves, but I had no idea the percentage would be so large! I completely agree with you about the harm in internalizing results of quizzes/information, and think that your ending point of maintaining a critical standpoint on anything regarding self-identity is crucial.

  6. Hello Sneha,
    I wanted to say thank you for sharing such a thought-provoking blog. As another kid who grew up with the internet, it is interesting to see how a childhood filled with screens is affecting Gen Z (and other generations) now. Another point I found interesting concerned the stereotypes of zodiac signs that have become increasingly popular recently. I enjoyed your conclusion and advice on how to approach this type of content in the future.

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