An Illustrated Guide to Categorizing Yourself

Robert Benchley once remarked that there are two kinds of people in the world—those who divide people into two kinds and those who don’t.

We are the former. If you’re a reader of Quiet Revolution, you probably love personality tests as much as we do. We’ve got the list you’ve been looking for!

1) The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most famous. Based on the typological theory described by Carl Jung, it was created in 1943 by a mother-daughter team, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers. Neither Katherine nor Isabel were trained in psychology, although Katherine was a devoted reader of Dr. Jung.

Today, it’s used for evaluating job candidates, executive development, and even marriage counseling. The test looks at four dimensions of personality, allowing the test-taker to indicate a preference for either of the two choices on each dimension. The dichotomous dimensions are introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving.

Each preference is coded by a letter, and the resulting personality type will have four letters, describing a person’s preference for the way they perceive the world and like to make decisions. Two examples of 16 possible personality types are ISTP: The Analyzer Operator or ENFJ: The Envisioner Mentor.

The test is so widely used that IMDB lists the personalities of fictional characters.

Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test here (at a cost of about $50).

2) The Big Five (or five-factor) is the test that’s more commonly accepted within the field of psychology today. Francis Galton created an early version of the test in the 1880s, and in 1980, American psychologist Lewis Goldberg gave it the trendy name of Big Five, bringing the test into wider use. According to the test, there are five dimensional factors of personality: extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience.

Unlike in the MBTI, every factor is a spectrum, so you can be somewhere between extroversion and introversion.

Take a version of the Big Five test here.  

3) The Enneagram test is popular in both business and spiritual circles. Its origins are the most fuzzy and least research-based. Unlike in other personality tests, one of the Enneagram’s focus areas is on the relationship between the types. All of the nine types are related to each other by connecting lines around a circle. Like in the MBTI, each type has a name: 3 is the Achiever, and 8 is the Challenger.

Each type is described incredibly in depth, with information about its ego fixation, holy idea, basic fear, basic desire, temptation, vice, and virtue.

Take the Enneagram test here.

4) The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) differentiates itself by describing only bright-side personality qualities—qualities that describe how we relate to others when we are at our best. Psychologists Robert and Joyce Hogan created it in 1980 specifically as personality assessment designed for use in business settings.

Participants take a test comprised of 206 true-false items that measure personality along seven scales: adjustment, ambition, sociability, interpersonal sensitivity, prudence, inquisitive, and learning approach. Example questions include:

  • Y/N: I like everyone I meet. “This question evaluates someone’s empathy and sensitivity. People who answer ‘yes’ tend to be more prosocial and considerate toward others,” explained Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems and a professor of business psychology at University College London, to Business Insider.
  • Y/N: I am destined to be famous. “This question measures how ambitious someone is,” he said. “People who say ‘yes’ are more driven and have higher expectations of success. This may indicate that they are more willing to work harder. However, research also shows that people who say ‘yes’ are typically more narcissistic and entitled.”

The test has been widely studied by psychologists, and many research studies have shown that it does use valid personality measures to help organizations and people get the right people in the right roles. This one is used by the FBI and other US government agencies and departments when assessing candidates.

No free online version of this test is available, but you can find out more information here.
5) The Hogwarts Personality quiz measures which Hogwarts house a person would be sorted into. The tests are based on neither science nor magic but on the sorting hat’s preferences.

To our knowledge, no businesses are using this personality test yet for hiring or team dynamics, but it’s only a matter of time.

The sorting hat is currently unavailable, but you can find close replications from BBC America and from Buzzfeed.


Here are Mollie’s assessment results:

  • Myers-Briggs: INFJ (just like Dumbledore!)
  • Enneagram: 2 (helper)
  • Hogwarts: Hufflepuff or Gryffindor (mixed results)

Here are Liz’s assessment results:

  • Myers-Briggs: INTP (just like Gandalf!)
  • Enneagram: 4 (individualist)
  • Hogwarts: Slytherin

Share your thoughts.

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  • I’d be curious to know why psychologists like the Big Five test. The questions are so badly designed (so many questions are vague, of the “it depends” type, or otherwise unanswerable) and the results so inaccurate it’s virtually useless. I’ve tried online Big Five tests before and wasn’t impressed, but this one has been made by an actual psychologist. If this is what Big Five is like I’ll be very concerned if this is the test that’s “more commonly accepted within the field of psychology today”.

    • ajd009

      I agree with you! Even though my results on the Big Five test was fairly close to describing me, there were SO MANY questions were “it depends” was the most accurate answer. So I picked Neutral for a lot of those questions.

  • Robyn Wells

    On most personality test some of the test question choices aren’t even close to what I would answer so I feel the result aren’t entirely valid.

  • Jackie

    FYI, you can take the Sorting Hat quiz on Pottermore again. It’s back! And easier than before!

  • 认真拜读中……

  • David Pool

    It’s funny the authors say they are “the former” (i.e. people who divide people into two groups) and then list out instruments that divide people into… for example 16 types for the MBTI. There’s far more information in 16 types than just 2.

    The “2 kinds” division would be more like “There are two kinds of people, ESTJ’s and everyone else!” which is like “There are two kinds of colors in the world, green and everything else” or “There are Type-A people and everyone else”.

    The MBTI is actually officially run through: but it costs like $50. The 16 personalities site is similar, but includes a measure of neuroticism with it’s -a or -t appendage (ironically creating 32 personalities)

    Also, it’s explicitly deemed unethical to use the MBTI for job evaluations.

  • My MBTI results are all on spectrums. That to me is a critical part of the MBTI but a lot of people seem to miss that part. The results I see all have percentages.

    • David Pool

      Val, you hit on a key distinction there. The trait vs. type distinction. A trait measurement tells you how much of something you have while a type tells you which category you fall into. Different sites may give you different answers, but the official MBTI site is telling one only about type i.e. how sure you are that you are for example Extraverted, NOT how extraverted you are. (you could be really sure you are somewhat extraverted, or kinda sure that you are REALLY EXTRAVERTED!, but they are different things.

      The 16personalities site claims to blend traits and types, so I’m not sure what a percentage there would mean.