http://www.testedich.de/tests/person.php3

A so-called "behaviour trainer" gave us the above test and the results. I am quite skeptical about it; there were some correlations, but that could well be due to the construction of the answers.

The test asks you to choose one of nine abstract pictures. After you have chosen one, you'll get an analysis of your personality that is specific to the picture you chose.

Is there any scientific psychological research giving hard evidence (strong correlation) that this sort of tests does work?

  • This website made no claims as to its accuracy, nor did it provide any details of how they associated personality types with images (if there even was any serious methodology). Did your behavior trainer make any claims regarding this website's accuracy? Your title speaks to a broader question, but I don't feel the example you have provided is a notable case of it. – called2voyage Mar 24 '14 at 16:40
  • As I said in the answer, I know by now this trainer wss bullshitting (or didn't know better... either way, it's bad). I think that's all there is for Skeptics.SE. The broader question in the title might be better answered someplace else. – chaosflaws Mar 24 '14 at 16:44
  • Actually, your answer did not say anything about the trainer. More importantly, both the question and answer could do with a bit (or a lot) of elaboration. Providing a link is great, but it is best if you summarize for us here what you discovered there. Stack Exchange sites work best when we are not required to follow a link in order to understand a post. – Martin F Mar 25 '14 at 18:07
  • I tried to improve on the question as well as on the answer. – chaosflaws Mar 25 '14 at 21:10

I got an answer from someone else in the meantime. The phenomenon may be explained by the Forer effect: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect

Basically, all the answers possible will lead you to an "analysis" that just enumerates character traits that are virtually universal among mankind, and the Forer effect states that everyone will identify with his "personal" description.

  • This is a fairly weak explanation. Many of the descriptions on the site are opposite each other. Any evidence the Forer effect is applicable here? – William Grobman Mar 26 '14 at 0:26
  • @William Grobman: the Forer effect works because 1) our brain keeps the hits and discards the misses and 2) the descriptions used are so generic that you may identify with any of those. The original text by Forer had things like: "while you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them." which is easily applicable pretty much to anyone. Also, it contained possibly discording things: "you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside" but "You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof" and so on. – nico Jun 19 '14 at 18:52
  • Essentially you put a bunch of generic sentences trying to cover as much ground as possible and most people will think that is a good match to their personality. – nico Jun 19 '14 at 18:54

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