Dr. Phil’s Personality Test

A brief personality profile test has been circulating online, where it's identified as having been authored by "Dr. Phil" (Dr. Phillip McGraw). However, Dr. Phil has disavowed any connection with the test.

So the question is, where does this test come from? Sleuths on the Snopes message boards tracked down a version of it that was posted on USENET back in 1994, at which time it was attributed to a Dr. Charles Vine.

With that info, it was relatively simple to do a google search and find a version of the test that was included in a 1987 book titled Great Ideas: Listening and speaking activities for students of American English.

This book, in turn, acknowledged that the test was "Copyright 1978 by Cleo Magazine." So Cleo magazine (which is an Australian women's magazine) must be the original source.

I can't find any clues about who Dr. Charles Vine was. Either he was an Australian doctor who didn't publish much else, or he was a pseudonym of a Cleo magazine staff writer.

So, to summarize, here's the history of "Dr. Phil's Personality Test":
  • 1978: First published in Cleo magazine as a test, authored by "Dr. Charles Vine," titled, "Do you see yourself as others see you?"
  • 1987: Dr. Vine's test is reprinted in the book Great Ideas.
  • 1994: The test first appears online.
  • 2002: By this time, the test is circulating online without any indication of who authored it.
  • circa 2009: The test starts being attributed to Dr. Phil.
  • 2010: Dr. Phil denies that he authored the test.
  • 2013: The test becomes "one of the hottest social media shares of the moment" (as David Emery puts it).
It just goes to show that once something enters the black morass of the internet, it circulates there endlessly, occasionally being spewed upwards to the top of the feeding pile, before settling back down, once again, into the darkness. Look for Dr. Phil's Test to return to internet fame sometime around 2025.

Below is the original version of the test (and the key to score it).

Add the scores from your answers together and read the interpretation found below.

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Over 60 points: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care". You are seen as vain, seft-centred, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you and wish they could be more like you, but they don't always trust you and hesitate to become too deeply involved with you.

From 51 to 60 points: Your friends see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, quick to make decisions (though not always the right ones). They see you as bold and venturesome, someone who will try anything - well almost anything - once; some who takes a chance and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

From 41 to 50 points: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, and always interesting; someone who is constantly the centre of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to your head. They see you also as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who will cheer them up or help them out.

From 31 to 40 points: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or too easily, but someone who is extremely loyal to the friends you do makes and expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize that it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but, equally, that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is taken.

From 21 to 30 points: Your friends see you as painstaking, perhaps a little too fussy at times. They see you as very, very cautious and extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment. They expect you to examine everything very carefully from every side and then, usually, decide against it. They think this reaction on your part is caused partly by your careful nature and partly by laziness.

Under 21 points: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs to be looked after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who does not want to get involved with anyone or anything. They see you as a worrier, who sees problems that don't exist. Some people think that you boring. Only the people that know you well know that you aren't. The trouble is that you don't let many people get close to you.


Posted on Thu Sep 26, 2013


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