I'm continuously being perplexed by psychological tests that display a lot of questions that don't seem to be able to be answered in a simplistic ways, but nevertheless simplistic answers are demanded.
I was subjected to such tests a few times in my life already. Each time the questions were a major challenge for me... until, out of necessity, I was stopping caring about the accuracy of the answers. Instead, I was giving rough estimations, feeling these estimations are almost meaningless.
As an example, I was once subjected to a test whether I was aggressive, submissive, assertive, or manipulative. The test contained questions like "do I think cunning is an effective way to get what one wants"? Do I think so? Yes, I think it is an effective way insofar people were able to trick me a few times in my life. Do I do this? I try not to and I don't even think I'm any good at it. Nonetheless, such questions clearly contribute to showing that I'm manipulative.
For an other example, let's take the Dark Factor test. We have here questions like:
- Most people deserve respect.
My problem with this questions is that, as far as I'm aware, there are many definitions of "respect". How am I supposed to answer this question without knowing what definition of respect we're talking about?
- The innate respect that, according to many moral theories, is an indefeasible privilege of every human being?
- The respect that is defined as a person's trustworthiness or ability to perform their duty?
- The respect that stems from fearing other person?
All 3 definitions entail radically different answers on my part, including an "I don't know, I'm not strong enough in philosophy to be able to answer this" in the first case.
Or another question. "It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to help others in need." Is it? I believe yes. Can I? Sadly, rarely. Which of these two answers should I give?
Another category are questions like these two: "It’s wise to keep track of information that you can use against people later." and "I feel sorry if things I do upset people." Here, however, my problems with these questions border critiquing the test itself, so I wonder if I'm not falling to the trap of arrogance. Namely, I have a feeling (maybe very wrong) that this test here treats what is not necessarily immoral as if it was. Is it wise to keep track of information that can be used against people later? In most circumstances likely no. But there are situations when this course of action is both necessary and perfectly ethical, I suppose: to protect oneself from these people anticipated unwarranted attacks. Do I feel sorry if I do things that upset other people? This depends on circumstances even more. If I win a sport match I'm likely to upset my opponents: does my attempts to win a fair game make my personality have dark traits? Escaping one's mother's overprotectiveness is likely to make her even more upset: but as far as I can tell, the psychologists' theories were that it is most healthy and necessary to do this. Nonetheless, I have a feeling that a positive answer to such a question would make one's personality darker in the results.
Could someone explain to me what's the point of such questions and how to answer them?