Those of you who didn’t like the flashing photos in the last two tests will be relieved to know that this week’s test is a series of multiple choice questions. The Personality and Emotion test at Test My Brain looks at three areas:
how frequently you experience negative emotions like fear, worry, anger, frustration, and self-consciousness
how sensory seeking you are
how much you enjoy social interaction
Their working hypothesis is that people who score higher on the second two will score lower on the first. In other words, if you enjoy sensory and/or social aspects of life, you are less likely to experience high levels of negative emotions. I like the inclusion of sensory elements in this test. I’m not “social seeking” but I’m highly sensory seeking. In fact, much of what I find enjoyable about life falls under the heading of sensory input. It’s nice to see that acknowledged as valid, alongside the more traditionally valued social interaction.
I want to talk some more about the individual sections when I share my scores, so let’s take the test first.
TAKING THE TEST
The test takes 10 to 15 minutes. To start, go to testmybrain.org and click on the Go! button next to the “Personality and Emotion” test.
You’ll be asked to make your browser window large. I kept mine the size I normally use and it worked fine. The next screen is a simplified informed consent form. You’ll be told what the research is being used for and asked to consent (agree). The next screen collects some anonymous demographic information.
Once you’ve entered your demographic info, you’ll begin the test. There are three questionnaires, that you’ll answer on a 5-point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree:
24-question Emotions Questionnaire
30-question Physical Pleasure Questionnaire
40-question Social Pleasure Questionnaire
That’s it! On to the results . . .
SCORING THE TEST
Part 1: 24-question Emotions Questionnaire. My score was 41. The average score was 47.36. I scored in the 40th percentile, so slightly below average experiencing of negative emotions.
I’m really on the fence about how accurate that result is. Weirdly, I’m generally a pretty content person and yet I experience frustration and self-consciousness quite often. Not so much anger or fear. Probably an average or slightly below average amount of worry. I guess I don’t find happiness/contentment and some of these emotions to be mutually exclusive.
That, combined with how hard I found it to answer a lot of the questions in this section (because, you know, emotions), might be throwing off my results. Also, being autistic is basically going to skew the results of the social interaction questions because I’m probably answering more based on my autistic social preferences and tendencies than on my emotional states/traits.
Part 2: 30-question Physical Pleasure Questionnaire. I scored 95. The average score was 76.68. That put me in the 90th percentile.
Unlike the emotion questions, I had very strong feelings about all of these questions and rarely hesitated in answering. I’m very tuned in to my physical state of being. If I feel physically good, I’m a lot more likely to feel emotionally contented. Conversely, if I feel physically out of balance, I’m going to be emotionally out of whack too. I think if more nonautistic people understood this aspect of being autistic, there would be fewer misunderstandings about things like stimming and meltdowns and sensory sensitivities.Our bodies play a hugely important role in our emotional and mental contentment.
Also, possibly the best question ever: When I have seen a statue, I have had the urge to feel it. Yes, yes, yes! I walk through museums imagining what all of the sculptures and statues feel like.
Part 3: 40-question Social Pleasure Questionnaire. I scored 59. The average score was 93.75. That put me in the first percentile.
I’m not surprised at my little blue man being all the way over on the left, but I am surprised that I’m so far below average. I thought my answers were pretty socially positive. Well, for me at least. I think this questionnaire might fail to take into account the sort of people who have one or two close relationships and value them highly but have little need for social/friend interaction beyond that.
Are my results in line with the hypothesis? Kind of. I have below average experience of negative emotions and way above average sensory pleasure. However, I also have rock bottom social pleasure. Do the two extreme results in the “pleasure” categories cancel each other out? I have no idea. (I also suspect that results like mine may get discarded in the analysis phase as outliers).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Since autistic people tend to have atypical experiences of emotions, sensory input and social interaction, this test is a nice way to locate yourself on all three scales. It doesn’t take into account the atypical relationships that autistic people may have, but it does capture sensory experiences well and may be a good measure of emotional experience, assuming you are able to gauge your emotions accurately.