One of my Facebook “friends” posted an unmeasurably annoying quiz on Facebook yesterday, called “How Loveable are you”. The quiz asks 10 multiple choice questions, and then based on this gives you a percentage value of how “loveable” you are.
Now, you could really only be taking this quiz for one of 2 reasons: firstly to assure yourself that, despite being lonely, you are in fact loveable, or secondly to assure yourself that you’re alone because you are not loveable, and hence fuel your pity party. Either way there is a bias in test taking, because it’s quite clear with each question which answers are the most and least “loveable”.
On top of the obvious issues with motivation and bias, it’s also clear that “lovability” is not something that can be measured with a 10 question online quiz. Surely this is not an appropriate use of a multiple choice psychological test. It’s also interesting how much this test relies on archaic societal conventions. The test will tell you that you are loveable if you have lots of friends, if you’re very polite, and if you always agree with others and go along with social norms. While this is obviously someone’s description of loveable, it is certainly not mine. There are no questions about how interesting you are as an individual, how original you are, how intelligent you are, or how empathic you are. In my eyes these are key factors in determining how “loveable” someone is, and yet they’re nowhere to be found in this quiz. Instead there are questions about how you would react to your friend’s new haircut, how you respond to office gossip, and how you act at office parties. While these constructs measure your manners and ability to adhere to social norms, and hence probably your initial likability to strangers, they really don’t even scratch the surface of “lovability”.
This leads me to ponder the question: why don’t we acknowledge the limits of psychological testing? Especially with such an abstract and subjective measure as lovability, who’s really stupid enough to believe that this quiz can provide you with any valuable information?