Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: Dr. Phil's Test (but not Dr. Phil)

1. When do you feel your best? A: Late at night, although early morning has become more common recently. [c] [a]
2. You usually walk... A: less fast, head down. [d]
3. When talking to people, you... A: stand with your arms folded, maybe have one or both your hands on your hips or in pockets. [a] [c]
4. When relaxing, you sit with... A: your legs stretched out or straight, but I think I switch between all of them. [a]
5. When something really amuses you, you react with... A: a sheepish smile [d]
6. When you go to a party or social gathering, you... A: make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know [b] [c]
7. When you're working or concetrating very hard, and you're interrupted, you... A: feel extremely irritated, although I wouldn't say extremely. I feel more indifferent but definitely not a welcome break. [a]
8. Which of the following colors do you like most? A: light blue, black, gray, white, dark blue, green, orange, brown, purple... although couldn't there be a large influence from just school colors(?) [c] [b] [g] [f] [e] [d] [a] [g] [e]
9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep, you lie.. A: stretched out on your back... I can sleep in any position [a]
10. You often dream that you are... your dreams are always pleasant [f]

1. 2 or 6 points
2. 2
3. 4 or 5
4. 4
5. 5
6. 4
7. 6
8. 5, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 1, 3
9. 7
10. 1

31-40 Points: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken.

41-50 Points: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them up.

Analysis

Range

The lowest you can score is 15 (5 questions have 1, 5 questions have 2). The most points you can score is 64 (4 questions with 7, and 6 questions with 6).

Average

1. 4
2. 5
3. 4.8
4. 4.25
5. 4
6. 4
7. 4
8. 4
9. 4
10. 3.5
Total Average: 4.155 (average of averages); 4.232 (average of responses)

Conclusion

If we assume that none of the answers have no relationship to the questions, answers are all guesses. Assuming that we guess on a normal distribution (we do not have bias to certain letters or numbers), the averages above can be used. Thus we should be scoring around 41-42. Very unlikely someone will be 60+ because you can only score a max of 64; same as 21 points with minimum of 15 points. 30-40 and 50-60 should have a lower distribution than 30-50.

Looking at the different descriptions, most people will fit 30-50 score. My scores are not sufficient to prove or disprove this test (see snopes). A strong indication will be to see if the outliers fit the description provided.

I think there may be small correlation between personality and the answers, but the scores can be manipulated to fit the main bell curve making it more popular and believable. Also, there is an error with question 5. It has 5 possible answers in the point list but the question only had 4 options.

My interest in this was primarily to see why so many people find these kind of things interesting and believable, and to see if someone could scientifically use that information to misinform the public. For most of these tests, they seem to be thrown together and see which ones survive the email chains. When there is sufficient chain mails, a hypothesis could be drawn to purposely create tests that are believable and popular but have absolutely no correlation between responses and the results.

Reference

http://www.slideshare.net/javachai/dr-phil-test-1
http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/trivia/philtest.asp