Sunday, January 9, 2011

We’re Off to See the Quizard

The internet is full of pleasant diversions to distract us from boringly productive activities. Quizzes are particularly self-indulgent time-passers. Aren’t we our favorite subjects, after all? Besides, we can point to the dictum of the oracle at Delphi (know thyself) for justification.

Do online quizzes really help us know ourselves? Some may. The pages of tests at Psychology Today ( ) purport to do so. The political quiz at tagged me spot on, though it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know before.

Others don’t. Tickle’s “The Classic IQ Test” ( ) for example, scored me at 142. That is flattering, but no I’m not – unless on a scale invented by Tickle itself for the sole purpose of flattering test-takers. I know the results of more legitimate tests, and I regret to say they are not that. Flattering users was not enough to save Tickle, which officially is closed, though the test remains up.

Some quiz results make us hope they are wrong. A quiz at , for one, tells me the science fiction character I am most like is Kosh. That’s the Babylon 5 dude in the environment suit who goes around uttering cryptic pseudo-profundities such as, "Understanding is a three edge sword: your side, their side, and the truth." OK, maybe I utter the occasional cryptic pseudo-profundity, but I try not to make a habit of them. A Facebook quiz tells me the type of pagan I am is “heathen.” Other quizzes inform me the celebrity I’m most like is Jack Nicholson (well, we’re both from Jersey), the TV family most resembling mine is the Addamses, the Harry Potter character I’m most like is Hermione (!), and the horror movie villain I’m most like is Norman Bates. Hey, I hardly ever wear that wig and dress anymore.

Then there is the survey on “attachment styles and close relationships” at . According to this site, I’m quite the solid fellow romantically:

"Combining your anxiety and avoidance scores, you fall into the secure quadrant. Previous research on attachment styles indicates that secure people tend to have relatively enduring and satisfying relationships.”

I didn’t fib on the answers to this quiz, yet not one relationship out of my lifelong string of them (including one marriage) lasted as long as 4 years, and most were much shorter. Maybe it was the Norman Bates thing that scared them off.

Well, revealing or not, taking quizzes sure beats paying the bills.

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