Thursday, January 1, 2015

Proust Questionnaire

A page from a confession album

Happy New Year! It's that time of year when everyone takes stock of their lives and resolves to make changes, right? So, a perfect time of year to talk about a personality quiz, or, at least, personal confessions.

Personality quizzes seem to be ubiquitous these days - at least, we can't seem to log into Facebook without seeing that someone's found out "What Is Your '70s Anthem?" or "How Spiritual Are You As a Human Being?" or "What Color Should You Die Your Hair According to Your Personality?" - but they are hardly a new idea. According to Wikipedia, personality testing was developed in the 1920s and "intended to ease the process of personnel selection".  Probably the most famous personality test of this type is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But questionnaires that asked people for "confessions" or "confidences" have been around much longer than that!

Remember autograph albums, wherein one collected signatures of family, friends, and the famous? Well, in late 19th century Britain, "confession albums" were popular - only, instead of having blank pages to fill, their pages were filled with a series of questions which you answered.  Those same kinds of questions are still around in the form of the "Proust Questionnaire", which is often used for celebrity interviews.

We first discovered the Proust Questionnaire in the pages of Vanity Fair magazine, where a version of it appears monthly. It poses questions to celebrities - including John Malkovich, David Hockney, Donatella Versace, Danielle Steel, and Terry Gross - such as:
  • What is your chief characteristic?
  • What is your main fault?
  • What is your idea of happiness?
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
Are you intrigued?  Looking to learn more about your personality or see how your answers compare to others'? You can take the Proust Questionnaire yourself - in the "links" section, there is a link to an interactive version - or just peruse some of the library catalog's offerings on personality assessment, listed below.

Who Are You Meant To Be?: A Groundbreaking Step-by-Step Process For Discovering and Fulfilling Your True Potential by Anne Dranitsaris, PhD & Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard

Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional by Dale Archer

Personality Power: Discover Your Unique Profile, and Unlock Your Potential For Breakthrough Success by Shoya Zichy [eBook]

The Complete Personality Assessment: Psychometric Tests to Reveal Your True Potential by Jim Barrett and Hugh Green  [eBook]

Why Him? Why Her?: Finding Real Love By Understanding Your Personality Type by Helen Fisher

How Do You Compare?: 12 Simple Tests to Discover Hidden Truths About Your Personality and Fascinating Facts About Everyone Else! by Andrew N. Williams

Do You Know the Real You?: More Than 66 Ways to Understand Your Personality by Claire Gordon

The Birth Order Book of Love: How The #1 Personality Predictor Can Help You Find "The One" by William Cane

Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career For You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron

What Color Is Your Slipcover?: How Discovering Your Design Personality Can Help You Create the Home of Your Dreams by Denny Daikeler  


Proust Questionnaire [Wikipedia]

Confession Album [Wikipedia]

Interactive Proust Questionnaire [Vanity Fair]

Celebrities' Answers to the Proust Questionnaire [Vanity Fair]

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