Without doubt, they are entertaining, but they remain unscientific and should not be taken too seriously.
It comes as no surprise that magazines in beauty salons and dentists surgeries are full of tests that have already been completed.
'Many people have the need to learn something about themselves,' said psychologist Michael Ziegelmayer in Freiburg. That leads to keen interest in the tests, even if they are only loosely based in science.
Any psychologist can put a magazine personality test together in a few hours. Nonetheless, there is a method behind most popular personality tests.
'Most personality tests consist of five factors: adherence to norms, personal resilience, independence, ability to make decisions and need for contact,' said Werner Stangl, psychologist with the Kepler University in Linz, Austria.
These elements are interchangeable and be weighted differently depending upon the test.
The results can reveal more about personality traits and relationships. Tests do this by asking readers to gauge their reactions to real situations.
'If I want to test a certain personality trait of a reader, I have to touch upon that mental area in multiple ways that are close to home. These should, even if subliminally, reflect part of the entire personality,' explains Arnd Stein of Iserlohn in the German state of North Rhine Westfalia.
Stein has spent years creating psychology tests for various media. The better the image created, the more reliable and significant the entire test becomes, says the psychologist and psychotherapist ... which is why some questions seem so blunt.
'The more concrete the question, the clearer the answer can be interpreted,' said Stein. Answers are best when they are spontaneous and honest. That provides the best results.
After all, this is not about fooling the test. Experts say the function of the test is more along the line of 'entertainment mixed with personal diagnosis.'
That means the results should not be taken too seriously, especially when it comes to serious problems.