Call me King Julien

Among other things, the Apenheul website includes a quiz that allows you to find out what primate are you?

I can never resist a quiz, especially a silly one like this. It turns out that I am most like a Ring-tailed lemur:

  • a true lover of life
  • happy with who you are
  • gentle and peace-loving
  • not one to fight
  • usually very positive

And I’m quite happy with this.

As for the rest of the family, we have two orangutans, a bonobo and a gorilla. No wonder my home life is so chaotic.

Click here if you want to do the test yourself.

Happy Single (Digitally Speaking)

Since 2009, imec have been publishing an annual Digimeter report that attempts to assess how and to what extent digital technologies are used in Flanders. Flanders Today reports that the 2018 report is now out.

The headline news is that, this year, they have focussed on attitudes to technology and divided the region into five groups ranging from the Passionate Lover (of technology), who sees smartphones and social media as wholly wonderful, to the Distant Acquaintance, who is totally disinterested in digital media or technology.

The Dutch part of the site also links to a set of ten questions that you can use to assess your own Digimeter profile. And I can never resist a quiz.

Happy Single

You are quite happy as a bachelor with regard to technology, and at this moment you are certainly not interested in a fixed relationship with digital media. For that you are too worried about the many disadvantages that go with it: personal data that are misused, the spread of fake news, the addictive nature of the smartphone and social media…

If necessary, you can find your way into the digital world, but you can also enjoy offline forms of media.

This sounds like a reasonably fair description of me — I do have social media accounts, but I also avoid the big data mines like Facebook and Twitter and would prefer to spend my time reading a book, playing a game or watching a film. I was, however, a bit surprised to note that, elsewhere on the site, this makes me the opposite of the Passionate Lovers and a fierce opponent of technology. That strikes me as a bit of an overstatement of how I feel.

Elsewhere the report notes that, while people do feel better informed thanks to the internet, there is also an awareness of the challenges it brings, especially in the guise of fake news. Consequently, reliance on social media for news is declining (a very good thing, in my opinion), especially among 16 to 24 year olds, with people falling back on traditional news outlets and real journalists to stay informed. Social media is still heavily used, but is declining as a news source and hopefully this trend will continue.

I’ve not read the full report yet, but the site is nicely laid out allowing you to poke around whichever chapter happens to catch your interest. Although the survey was carried out in Flanders, I would assume that the Flemish are reasonably representative of Western Europe.

A quiz, and it’s all about me

It would be a mistake to take any sort of online personality test seriously. Since the results depend on the answers you provide, the best they can do is reflect back at you what you already know or think about yourself. That said, I’m still a sucker for these things so when I saw a link to a Narcissistic Personality Quiz on Pharyngula, I couldn’t resist.

Your Total: 4
Between 12 and 15 is average.
Celebrities often score closer to 18.
Narcissists score over 20.

My highest score was in Self-Sufficiency which I can certainly agree with. But that’s hardly surprising since it was me answering the questions in the first place.

Technical middle class

The BBC has carried out a survey and found that we can all be slotted into one of seven social classes.

It says the traditional categories of working, middle and upper class are outdated, fitting 39% of people.

It found a new model of seven social classes ranging from the elite at the top to a “precariat” – the poor, precarious proletariat – at the bottom.

I’m always a bit wary of these attempts to categorise everyone but the survey’s attempt to measure people’s economic, cultural and social capital did strike me as interesting. Also, I can never resist a quiz.

Not surprisingly, the quiz identifies me as being part of the all new Technical Middle Class.

This is a small, distinctive and prosperous new class group:

  • People in this group tend to mix socially with people similar to themselves
  • They prefer emerging culture, such as using social media, to highbrow culture such as listening to classical music
  • Many people in this group work in research, science and technical occupations
  • They tend to live in suburban locations, often in the south east of England
  • They come from largely middle class backgrounds

Apart from the fact that I don’t live in the south east of England, it is a reasonably accurate description of me. On the other hand, of course, when a quiz asks you if you listen to indie music and use social media, it’s not much of a jump to tell you that you prefer emerging culture and use social media.

Quiz Time

The BBC asks: Personality tests: Can they identify the real you?

I should start this post by admitting that I didn’t actually read the article, but I’m going to respond to it anyway for reasons that will probably become clear by the time you reach the end of this post.

My answer to the question is: No, for several reasons.

Firstly, and most fundamentally, personality tests ask you to asses your personality and then tell you how you assessed your personality. This is hopelessly circular and, at best, can only tell you what you already think about yourself.

Secondly, personalities are not as neatly defined as these tests try to imply. Assuming that people can be categorised as simplistically as this is a mistake and one that can lead you into all sorts of bizarre beliefs.

And finally, given that the starting point of the article is employers using psychological tests, these things are trivially easy to game. I am aware that there are supposed to be no right answers, but if I am applying for a customer facing role, there is no way that I will tick the “I hate people” box.

On the other hand, I am a sucker for silly quizzes (I’m as interested to find out what sort of vampire slayer I am as my Meyers-Briggs personality type), so when I noticed that the article linked to a quiz I gave it a go.

It turns out (surprisingly enough) that the Beeb thinks I am a Realist.

Realists are loyal to the people around them and work hard to keep their promises. They are honest and straightforward with others and expect the same in return. Realists believe in standard procedures and will only support change when there is a demonstrable benefit.

Realists respect factual information, which they store up to use when making decisions. This group likes to have time to think quietly and carefully before taking action.

These extremely productive people like to be occupied in their leisure time with pursuits such as craftwork, hiking or reading.

In situations where they can’t use their talents or are unappreciated, Realists may become obsessed with schedules, be critical of others or have trouble trusting other people to get the job done properly. Under extreme stress, Realists may complain loudly that events have taken a turn for the worse and predict negative outcomes.

Realists typically only share their opinions or personal experiences with trusted friends.

Yup, that’s me.

Not so different after all

Back in February, I mentioned that Computer Weekly had worked with a Psychological Consultancy to design a personality questionnaire to identify natural risk-takers within IT. Being unable to resist a quiz, I answered the questions and posted my results.

The totals have now been collated and it turns out that I’m not that far from the norm.

I am disappoint.

The quiz is still available online. Click here if you want to have a crack at it.

Adventurous; and unable to resist a quiz

Computer Weekly has teamed up with Psychological Consultancy to design a personality questionnaire to identify natural risk-takers within IT. I can never resist a quiz, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Apparently, I am Adventurous

At the root of this Risk Type is a combination of a gung-ho impulsivity and fearlessness. At a general level, this type is resilient and attracted by excitement. They will be open to new experiences and will cope well with disappointments and unexpected turns of event. Their positive, upbeat outlook means they are drawn towards stimulating challenges and are able to pursue their adventures unperturbed.

There are upsides to this risk type, down sides, a pretty graphic and an interpretation.


The interpretation is interesting as it identifies me a a moderate example of the Adventurous Risk Type and then lists some (possibly contradictory) bullet points which – it claims – are my most distinctive characteristics.

  • They are not easily fazed by events and will generally take things in their stride
  • They will rarely worry about things unnecessarily, or easily become unduly apprehensive
  • They seem generally disposed to trust others and have faith in their good intentions
  • They are unlikely to be resentful or to dwell on past disappointments
  • They are more inclined to base decisions on facts and logic rather than on their feelings
  • They may be impatient with delays and obstructions and want quick results
  • They seem quite cautious, a careful person who likes to minimise exposure to risk

If you work in IT, have 10 minutes to kill and don’t mind being aggregated into an online report,

  1. Click here to go to the test
  2. Choose “Online Assessments”
  3. Enter access code: COMPUTERWEEKLY
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions
  5. Wait to receive confidential risk-type compass report by e-mail

Blog your results, or just paste them into the comments. These things fascinate me.