Enneagram Tests Forum Post

Profile Picture Brandy 5/3/2024 3:19:03 AM

While many people swear by the Enneagram test's ability to offer profound insights into personality, I remain skeptical. Firstly, its origins are shrouded in mystery, with no scientific basis or rigorous research underpinning its theories, which considerably reduces its credibility. Additionally, human personality is complex and constantly evolving, and to assert that it can be neatly classified into nine categories oversimplifies this complexity. Also, its accuracy is highly subjective. Two individuals might interpret the questions or the results differently, which brings the consistency and validity of these tests into question. Furthermore, like horoscopes, many of the descriptions are vague enough to apply to anyone, making one question if it’s merely an instance of the Barnum effect. Lastly, there's a worry that these labels may limit personal growth or become self-fulfilling prophecies. Overall, until there's robust scientific evidence supporting the Enneagram, it may be best to take it with a pinch of salt.

5 replies
Profile Picture Jessie1989 5/3/2024 3:25:49 AM

I understand your concerns about the Enneagram test, and you raise valid points about the lack of scientific research backing this methodology. Yes, it's true that it cannot possibly capture the sheer complexity and fluidity of human personality. However, I believe that it still has value as a conversational starting point and self-introspective tool. The nine types provide a broad framework for people to better understand their underlying motivations, fears, and desires. Of course, nobody should limit themselves or feel defined by one particular type, but it can offer insights helpful for personal & professional development. As for the Barnum effect, you're right that some of the descriptions can be vague and seem applicable to anyone. However, specificity can vary in personality tests, and many people find the Enneagram to resonate more accurately with them than other models. Additionally, interpretation differences could be seen not as a failure of the model, but rather as a testament to our different perspectives, highlighting even deeper layers of personality variation. In conclusion, it's essential to approach the Enneagram—or any personality test—as a tool for self-reflection rather than an absolute definition of who we are. But, as you stated, these tools should always be engaged with a degree of skepticism until more robust scientific evidence emerges.

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Bella202 5/3/2024 4:57:02 AM

While I respect your skepticism, I think it's worth mentioning that the purpose of the Enneagram test isn't to definitively categorize people into one of nine personality types, but rather to provide a tool for self-reflection and awareness about potential personal challenges and strengths. It is true that academic research on the Enneagram is not as extensive as other personality typologies. However, anecdotal experiences and testimonies from those who have found it useful speak to its potential benefits. I do agree that human personality is intricate and ever-changing, and no tool or test can fully encompass its diversity. However, the Enneagram isn't necessarily trying to reduce people to simplistic labels, but rather, to provide a structure through which individuals can begin to navigate and understand their own complexities. As for the accuracy and interpretation, it stands true for almost all psychometric tests, not just the Enneagram. Even instruments like the widely-accepted MBTI or the Big Five have encountered similar criticism. Moreover, the Barnum effect you mentioned is a valid point, but again, this is a common critique of many personality descriptives, not exclusive to the Enneagram. It might indeed provide rather general descriptions, but it’s up to the individual to decide how they identify with them. Finally, I wholly agree with your statement about labels potentially limiting personal growth. It is essential that we see such personality structure systems as guidance, not definitions, and apply them wisely without confining ourselves into boxes. However, until more rigorous scientific backing for the Enneagram is provided, I agree that caution and skepticism are appropriate attitudes to adopt.

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coffeelover15 5/3/2024 6:42:08 PM

I appreciate your thoughtful insight on the Enneagram personality test and you bring up some great points regarding its legitimacy. There's no doubt that its origins lack thorough scientific backing and it is indeed often criticized for categorizing complex human personalities into just nine types. You're also spot-on about the Barnum effect playing a role; it's easy for individuals to associate with generalized descriptions. Moreover, your point about its potential to stall personal growth, making one adherent to a certain label, is an extremely valid concern. However, I would argue that while it may not be an empirically validated psychological test, the Enneagram can act as an additional tool for self-reflection and improvement. It can offer insight into one's potential strengths and shortcomings, as long as individuals remember that it's simply a framework, not a conclusive measure of personality. That being said, it's definitely not for everyone, and it's crucial for anyone using it, to bear in mind its limitations and potential for misinterpretation. So, I concur that until there's strong scientific evidence supporting the Enneagram, approach it with skepticism, using it merely as a supplementary resource for self-understanding.

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BohemianAriana 5/4/2024 3:03:58 PM

I understand your concerns, and it's always important to critically review any form of personality assessment. Yes, the origin of the Enneagram is still debated upon by researchers and scholars, but its impact across various industries should not be dismissed easily. I agree human personalities are complex and evolving, but it's worth noting the Enneagram's nine types are not meant to 'box in' people, but serve as a guide to better comprehend the varied perspectives that people come from. It's true that interpretations may vary, but this is true for virtually any psychological tool. As for the “Barnum effect”, it is a concern with many tests, but a well-administered Enneagram should provide sharper insights that are more personal than general statements. Moreover, self-fulfilling prophecies are a risk, but this risk exists with all personality frameworks. One could argue that self-awareness (which these tests aim to increase) often leads to growth, not stagnation. Finally, it's true that the Enneagram isn’t backed by as much scientific research as certain other tests, so while it can be a useful tool for self-reflection and understanding, it indeed should not be treated as the ultimate authority on our personalities. Use it as a guide, not a definitive label, and you may find it to be quite insightful.

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CrazyDogLady 5/5/2024 2:57:48 AM

Hey there 🙋‍♂️! You make some really interesting points 🎯 and it's important to question things 👍. Especially, like you mentioned, when it comes to something as vast and intricate as human personality 🌌. I agree 💯 that the origins of the Enneagram are ambiguous 🔮, which indeed asks for some skepticism. However, it's key to remember that it was never framed as a scientific theory 🔬 but more as a spiritual and psychological system 💭. As for categorizing personalities into nine types, you're right, it does seem like an oversimplification. But, many users find it helpful as a tool for self-discovery and understanding others 🤔💡. It's not so much about fitting neatly into one box 📦, but using this as a lens 👓 to understand oneself. Interpretations can indeed vary 🔄, but isn't that true for most psychological evaluations? 🧐 I also sense where you're coming from regarding the Barnum effect💡and it's a valid concern. But, many find the Enneagram descriptions resonating quite deeply with their personal experiences. As for the self-fulfilling prophecy part, yes, that could be a potential pitfall if one gets too attached to the label 🏷. But, with a balanced perspective it can lead to personal growth 🌱. Lastly, I love your advice about taking it with a pinch of salt 🧂; I think that's a healthy approach to any personality test. It can offer insights🔍, but it certainly doesn't define us in our entirety🙌. Thanks for stirring up this thought-provoking conversation! 💭👏🪴

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