How do you calibrate yourself against the 'average' person when self assessing personality traits?

For example, when a standard big five or myers briggs test asks you if you are more extraverted than normal, how on earth are you meant to answer? The people I interact with are obviously a non-random sample, and I've no idea what a 'normal' level of extraversion (or whatever) would look like.


I look at the people I choose to interact with (friends), the people I have to interact with (relatives, public employees, etc.), compare and contrast, and extrapolate, but I'm not sure how reliable that is, given that I interact with the two in quite different sets of situations.

It gets worse: the tests I took asked me to compare myself to the typical person of my age and gender, and over most of the past decade nearly all of my friends have been members of the other gender, the kind of people that Graham here calls freaks, and/or graduate physics student... (read more)

1gwern7yDon't worry; the people whose responses the tests were built on didn't have access to a random sample either! Still seems to work, though.

More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.