Jordan Peterson’s Insulting Personality Test

It’s no secret that I like Jordan Peterson, and I like the Jordan Peterson phenomenon. I think he’s a nice and interesting person, and the advice he shares via YouTube is clearly helpful. However, I’m suspicious of psychology in general, and reflexively annoyed by other people’s success. When I first noticed him on YouTube he was just a college professor with a message about compelled speech. Watching him grow into a social phenomenon, gave me the same conflicted feeling I get when I talk to friends who started restaurants in pre-2012 Beijing. Every purchase I make to his benefit is grudging and I’ve combed everyone of his books for evidence that he doesn’t deserve what he has. I don’t want to bring him down mind you, I just want to enjoy a cynical laugh at his expense.

An unfaltering picture of Peterson taken out of context.

A year ago, I purchased Jordan’s personality test with a sense of annoyed optimism. I was angry at enriching someone who’s elevation above myself I resented, but optimistic because I knew that I would either discover something to dislike about Peterson’s work, or learn something useful.

The cost was negligible at the time, and irrational resentment aside, it seemed like a no-lose situation. The website was basic, but easy to use. Apparently angular hadn’t made it that far north yet, and the programmer was probably somebodies nephew. The questions were fairly standard personality test fare, from my uneducated perspective at least. Things like: On a scale of 1–5 how much do you agree with the statement “I sometimes feel unsure of myself.” In in the interest of fairness I should indicate that the “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” ends of the spectrum were clearly marked.

It’s worth paying the 10 bucks to avoid the “free” personality test.

It’s probably a good thing that I can’t remember any specific questions. Personality test questions, or so called “psychometric tools” are notoriously overvalued by the people that spend decades wording them and normalizing answers to them across statistically significant populations. If I did remember one I would have shared it with you and then probably been sued for a disgusting sum of money.

Anyhow, I completed the test, which was engaging at first but ultimately proved too long to hold my interest. The result of the test was a statistical evaluation of the degree to which you possessed each of the “Big Five” traits, coupled with an explanatory passage, which reads suspiciously like a transcript of Jordan Peterson talking endlessly about these traits in any one of his innumerable interviews, debates, lectures, and YouTube videos. The word “manifest” is mentioned with irritating frequency.

What would a Canadian know about Manifestation anyway.

The test does the same thing with the two sub traits into which each of the “Big Five” traits apparently break down. Reading through the scores you see how the whole thing fits together and realize that your ten dollars just bought you a single read through a larger “find-you-way-through” book. It was a useful clarification of what a Big 5 test actually is, which is useful in a world where a person advocating a particular style of employ-ability test is constantly gaining notoriety. I didn’t find anything I could act on to improve my life. Nevertheless, I was pleased to find some aspects of my score personally insulting, and therefore flattering. According to Peterson, I’m a Disagreeable [Bastard].

You are very low in agreeableness, which is the primary dimension of Interpersonal interaction in the Big Five…People low in agreeableness are not so nice: stubborn, dominant, harsh, skeptical, competitive and, in the extreme, even predatory… If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less agreeable than 95 of them and more agreeable than 4 of them.

This seems plausible, bearing in mind that 100 isn’t really that many people. The level of accuracy is impressive given that I gave the site a fake birth date, so Peterson couldn’t simply divine my personality based on the planetary energy dominant at my birth. (This is an example of the type of disarming humor with which ensure the smoothness of my flawless interpersonal interactions.)

More annoying was the breakdown of my “disagreeableness” in which I was accused of having “Exceptionally Low” politeness tempered with merely “Average Compassion”. This came as a bit of a shock because I wasn’t aware that I was obligated to show compassion or politeness to some stupid website in the first place. I’m not sure how this was measured, but I can assure you that I entered my credit card information, and answered the endless inane questions with the utmost genteel deference.

You are exceptionally low in politeness, which is one aspect of Agreeableness... If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be..more polite than 0 of them.

People who are exceptionally low in politeness challenge and confront authority — and they are not obedient. If they are respectful, it is grudgingly, and will only be manifested[sic] toward people who continually both deserve and demand it.

In conclusion. I guess Peterson is one step ahead of me yet again. He took my money, branded me with an insult which would only be confirmed by my efforts to disprove it, and left me with no real reason to complain. Here I am shilling his product, and increasing his personal prestige while advertising my own gullibility. If it was his intention to force me to live well by annoying me and cutting off all other avenues of revenge, it seems he’s succeeded.

Jordan Peterson as friendly journalist would picture him




Martial Arts, Law, Science, Philosophy文武双全, body hacking, dyslexia

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

One Standard Deviation of Suffering

State-dependent memory is a thing...

Quiet -The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain -Book summary

Causing Effect Or Effecting Cause?

How Some “Victims” Are at Fault:

[Series: Influential Educators] Hermann Ebbinghaus & the Forgetting Curve

Hacking Your Brain to Use Dopamine for Success

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


Martial Arts, Law, Science, Philosophy文武双全, body hacking, dyslexia

More from Medium

Healing Psyche False Hope Is Non Existent

21st Century Relationships: The Good & Bad Sides of Memes (not animated gifs)

Etsy Strike Conclusion Time Travel

Dear PR Agencies: More Money, Better Ethics or Both?