Category Archives: personality

Questions about the personality test

Carl Jung

Personality analysis can be very useful for understanding people and the mechanisms of social interactions.  The Zamora Personality Test provides an approach for identifying behavioral characteristics that contribute to what is called “personality”.  Through these characteristics we are able to judge whether a person is honest, hard-working, aggressive, etc.  Such knowledge enables us to develop strategies for successful business negotiations or satisfactory everyday interactions.  Recently, I got the following questions about the personality test.

Question from Alex:

I happened upon your interesting website and conducted your online personality tests for myself.  Might you answer the following questions on these Zamora tests, please?
1. Which personality theories, or tests, are they based on, or are they entirely your own creation?
2. I had problems answering quite a few questions, both in the Social and in the Individual Attributes test. The reason is, I think, that these, and many of your questions are actually a compound of two questions, but your questionnaire only allows for one answer;  thus, I believe, my conflict, or disagreement with being forced into giving one answer to actually two questions, also will affect the results of your testing procedure. I admit, I am very logical when it comes to reading and writing, but these remarks to you are intended as a stimulating thought process to see if I, or you, have missed anything!

An example from the Social Attributes Test:
Your Question reads:  I have enough money, and I don’t like to spend it:
say my Answer is: Disagree (No), then logically I am agreeing to two statements:
First, that “I have enough money” and second, “That I don’t like to spend it”.
But for any individual person, two other answers (which match reality) as combinations of the double-question are possible, namely:
Alternative Answer 1:
First, that “I have enough money” (Agree = Yes) and second, “That I don’t like to spend it” (Disagree = No). I.e., this person has enough money for their needs, and does enjoy spending the money they have (possibly few people in today’s consumerism-driven society!)

Alternative Answer 2:
First, that “I have enough money” (Disagree = No) and second, “That I don’t like to spend it” (Agree = Yes).  I.e., this person tends to spend money, even more than they have (a common social affliction apparently!).

I think my interpretation of this question is logical and correct, and there are many other of questions that are equally “difficult” for me to answer as the questions similarly allow two possible answers, but only one answer is allowable to both in the questionnaire.

I would value your comments to this conundrum in your questionnaire.

I approached the personality test form a linguistic perspective.  The rationale is explained in the discussion of what is personality.  With regard to the questions, I tried to identify personality attributes by probing from different perspectives and then coordinating and ranking the results.  In any linguistic test, it is inevitable that there will be misinterpretations because language has many subtleties and ambiguities.  This is one of the reasons for the variety of statements, some of which appear to be redundant.  Inconsistency in answering may indicate a neutral attitude, but it may also be the result of not understanding the question.

Regarding the particular statement: “I have enough money, and I don’t like to spend it.”, The purpose of the statement is to try to determine whether a person is generous or stingy as a measure of egocentrism; it is also an indicator of tolerance for risk.  Of course, if a person does not have enough money, the answer is tricky, as you mentioned.  Many of the personality attributes could be obtained by asking direct questions, such as “Are you mature?”, “Are you generous?” or by posing ranking criteria “On a scale of 1 to 10 how dependable are you?”. Unfortunately, people are not very objective judges of their character and it is better to classify them by their actions.  The test provides this round-about way of gathering information which hopefully is more reliable than an introspective self-evaluation.

Looking at the question from a Boolean perspective, as you have, is an interesting exercise, but it does not apply well to natural language.  The statement  “I like apples and oranges” could not be true in Boolean logic since the intersection of apples and oranges is null in set theory.  The Boolean interpretation is “I like apples or oranges” where the set includes both, but this is not the way we speak in English, or any other natural language. The sentence “I like apples or oranges” has the natural language implication of liking one or the other, but not both, which is another Boolean conundrum.  I am sure that logicians could write many papers on the topic that the English “and” is approximately equal to the Boolean “or”, but not quite.

Try the Zamora Personality Test

Stable relationships depend on brain chemistry


Scientists have found a gene that affects the way men bond to their partners.[1]  The gene codes for one of the receptors for vasopressin, a hormone found in the brains of most mammals. Men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene (allele 334) are more likely to have a marital or relationship problem than those who lacked the gene variant.  The research found that men without the allele had more stable relationships with their partners.  Men with two alleles were less likely to show enough commitment in their relationships.

Earlier studies had found similar results in animals.  Prairie voles form lifetime bonds with their mates and help to raise successive litters.  On the other hand, montane voles which are physically very similar, do not bond with the females and do not help to raise their offspring.  The animal experiments showed that by manipulating the vasopressin receptors, montane voles could be changed into devoted partners and prairie voles could be changed into unsupportive parents.

Vasopessin is a small peptide consisting of 9 amino acids which is very similar to oxytocin, a maternal hormone that stimulates mammary glands and helps to bond a mother to her child.  About 40 percent of men have one or two copies of allele 334.  The median duration of first marriages that end in divorce is about 7.8 years.  In the future, it may be possible to have premarital genetic tests that could be used to predict the chances of a successful marriage and avoid the chances of marrying a womanizer or a deadbeat dad.

[1] Hasse Walum, Lars Westberg, Susanne Henningsson, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss, Wilmar Igl, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Nancy L. Pedersen, Elias Eriksson and Paul Lichtenstein, Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans, PNAS Early Edition, 2-5 September 2008.

How can you get a good husband or a good wife?

Happy Couple

At a Christmas dinner, I met a woman who would like to get married, but has not found a suitable candidate.  The clock is ticking and she is now 35 years old.  You can sense frustration and a some desperation in her attitude as she seeks advice from her friends.  Why has this happened?  The simple answer is that she has given lower priority to her personal needs than to her education and career.  This woman has fantastic credentials.  She is a noted researcher with a PhD and several publications, but her love life scores a zero.

There was a time when the social life and the destiny of a person was fairly well planned out by the parents. Times have changed.  Today, children leave the parents to go to college at an early age and they don’t have the family support to help them make wise decisions and avoid mistakes.  Young people have to take responsibility of their own life at an early age and decide what is important to them.  Here are some things that you can do to improve your chances of success:

  • Make a list of what you would like to accomplish in your life.
  • Don’t wait until it is too late to go after what you want.
  • Improve your chances of success by participating in favorable situations.
  • Meet with people who can help you.
  • Don’t make hasty decisions that you may regret.
  • Keep your goals and your priorities in mind.

Psychological techniques that encourage gambling

Casino gambling

I visited Atlantic City during the Labor Day holiday.  The weather was perfect and it was very pleasant to walk along the beach wading in the warm water.  However, Atlantic City is also known for its casinos.  Atlantic City is the Las Vegas of the East Coast.

The casinos are dimly lit, the atmosphere is always filled with cigarette smoke even though there are separate smoking and non-smoking areas, and there is the constant din of the slot machines 24 hours per day.  I risked $20 Dollars in a 25-cent slot machine, and cashed out when the total went up to $50 Dollars after several plays — a $30-Dollar profit.  Other people around me were not so lucky.  I saw several who started with $50 or $100 Dollars and had nothing 30 minutes later.  In the $5-Dollar machines, the money goes even faster.  One pull with a bet of 3 credits costs $15 Dollars.  You can lose $100 Dollars with seven pulls of the handle in less than one minute.  No wonder that the casinos are so rich.  New Orleans is still a disaster zone full of rubble two years after hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005, but the casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi which were also wiped out, were reconstructed in record time.  There is no financial incentive for rebuilding New Orleans, but the casinos would have lost billions of Dollars if they had not been rebuilt promptly.

During my stay in Atlantic City, I paid attention to the players.  I tried to figure out why they kept putting coins in the slot machines even though they kept losing.  I risked another $20 Dollars, and this time I got nothing.  I quit while I was $10 Dollars ahead for my two-day stay. It seems that humans are no more intelligent than fish who go after a shiny lure, get hooked, and become a meal for a fisherman. Casinos have refined the art of taking our money using techniques that take advantage of our greed and our lack of discipline.

Can a soulmate make you happy?

Beating Hearts

Actually, that is a trick question. Your happiness should come from within yourself. Nobody can make you happy, just like nobody else can sleep for you. Certainly, it is easier to be happy with someone who meets your expectations and complements your personality rather than with someone who opposes you and makes it more difficult to achieve your goals.

We often think that a soulmate is someone who shares the same interests and is exactly like ourselves. This is not always the case. Some personality traits work better when the partner has balancing traits that result in a win-win relationship for both persons. Two dynamic individuals may be frustrated when both want different things. A dynamic individual and a passive individual may find happiness if they can adjust to the different pace of their partner.

The most important feature of a good relationship is honesty. Many relationships end when trust is broken or secrets are discovered. Financial problems or difficulties with relatives can also stress a relationship and end it. People often approach a relationship with great optimism, only to be disillusioned later. The problem of failed relationships is usually due to making decisions based on emotions rather than on impartial evaluation of the compatibility of the personalities.