What's Your HEXACO Personality?

woman holding crossed fingers behind her back
Are you as honest as you think you are?.

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Every day there's a new tool on social media to gauge your personality traits — questionnaires reveal which "Game of Thrones" character you are, which country music song defines your life or which superpower you're most likely to have. These quizzes might make for fun Facebook posts, but if you really want to gain insight into your personality — or perhaps that of someone you know — you're better off using the HEXACO personality test.

Six Dimensions of Personality

The HEXACO test was developed in the early 2000s by researchers in Calgary, Canada. The test breaks down your personality into these six dimensions:

  1. Honesty-Humility: People with low scores in this category are more willing to break rules and manipulate others. They also have a greater sense of entitlement and are motivated by personal gain.
  2. Emotionality: High scorers in this category are more prone to fear of physical danger, anxiety over stressful situations and a need for emotional support from others.
  3. eXtroversion: As its name implies, those with high scores in the extrovert category feel positive about themselves, confident in social situations and are more lively and optimistic than their lower-scoring peers.
  4. Agreeableness: Agreeable people are quick to forgive, unlikely to judge and willing to compromise.
  5. Conscientiousness: People who score high in this category are disciplined, organized, careful and most likely to strive for perfection.
  6. Openness to Experience: Those who are open to experience are inquisitive and imaginative. They enjoy art, science, technology and nature and are likely to take an interest in people and ideas that are outside the norm.

How the Test Works

Now saddled with the hefty moniker HEXACO-PI-R (for HEXACO — Personality Inventory — Revised), the test measures these six personality traits through a series of statements that are rated by the respondent on a scale ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."

Here are some examples:

"I would get bored flipping through an encyclopedia."

"I have a quick temper."

"People often remark about my messy room or desk."

"If I could never be caught, I would steal a million dollars."

The HEXACO-PI-R test consists of 100 such statements followed by some optional questions about age, educational status, racial and religious background and current political leanings. Within a few clicks, survey-takers receive a personality assessment that looks something like this:

The HEXACO-PI-R test is similar to another popular personality test — the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures personality based on four primary categories: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuitiveness, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. But the primary difference between the Myers-Briggs test and the HEXACO-PI-R is that the latter looks at a respondent's levels of honesty and humility — characteristics that some studies have linked to trustworthiness.

In a series of studies recently published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found participants who scored high in the Honesty-Humility category were more likely to be more trustworthy in their real-life dealings with peers. It's important to note that researchers did not find this correlation with any other personality traits — not even Agreeableness, which was once thought to be the most likely connection to trustworthiness.

So how trustworthy (and honest, emotional, conscientious, agreeable, extroverted and open to experiences) are you? Head over to the HEXACO site to take the test and find out.