Tag Archives: quiz

The Quiz Abyss

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If only this came with a pied-à-terre

I should live in Paris, I should live in Barcelona. If I were a movie it would be an action movie, but my TV friend group is the Office (and the US version at that). If I were a planet I’d be Venus and if I were a piece of furniture I’d be a coffee table. The Daily Mail hates me (fine) and I belong in the 80s (please no).

On the upside I got a perfect score on European Geography.

There seems to be a frenzied fashion for these quizzes judging by my facebook timeline at the moment; a sort of “quantified self” meets “cosmo quiz”.

Why? Three possible reasons

  1. We are our own favourite subject

    We love any chance to learn about ourselves, and see these tests as a way to learn more about ourselves. There’s probably some truth in this, but given that I don’t always understand the questions I’m pretty sure the answers can’t be accurate. In any case in most quizzes the outcomes are a limited range of options, sometimes just an option of Thelma or Louise; so they’re clearly less accurate than an MBTI test or a horoscope.

    All the results of the tests are phrased positively, which appeals to our egos, with just a touch of vague negativity, which makes them seem more credible. It’s the Forer effect at work.

    There’s a new test out called You Just Get Me that somewhat covers this by asking you and your peers to rate you on a series of characteristics, it then scores you on how close you were to others’ perceptions.

  2. Sense of belonging

    If my online friends also do the quizzes there’s a bonding effect, even stronger if you get the same or similar results. The most often completed quiz is “Which Game of Thrones character are you?” and I guess on some alternate facebook feed the Starks gang up on the Wildlings.

    Given that the population of facebook is over a billion, playing such games creates a kind of cohort or tribal bonding. Amongst my facebook friends it’s a source of amusement – either because of the scary accuracy or the rampant inaccuracy; either way the quiz wins.

  3. Competition

    Some quizzes are aimed more at finding out how much we know, or how much we’ve done. The one on European geography fits this category as does the perennial favourite the “bucket list” quiz. This one was pretty competitive across my facebook for about two weeks. Turns out it’s cheating to say yes to number 62 – “you’ve driven across the country” – if you live in the Netherlands.

The quizzes seem to come in waves, it’s all about which city you should really live in this week, but next week we’ll be back to movie characters I’m sure.

Now excuse me, I’ve had enough of the introspective tests, I’m off to find out which Friends’ character is my soulmate.