Choose The "Best" And "Worst" Faces For This Old Personality Test

Illustration for article titled Choose The "Best" And "Worst" Faces For This Old Personality Test

Ever heard of the Szondi Test? If you've taken it, fire your psychiatrist. It's a test that's meant to diagnose people by having them pick the faces of mental patients from sets of cards. Find out what you're like if you pick out "the hysteric" and "the homosexual."


Léopold Szondi was, in the 1930s and 1940s, on a level with Freud and Jung. When he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis and put on a train to a concentration camp, nearly two thousand American intellectuals paid for his release. Unfortunately, his theories aged less well than those of his contemporaries, and he's largely unknown today.

This may in part be because he was more ambitious. He believed that all of mental illness could be explained in a single theory. Laboring for some time, he came up with "Drive Theory." He believed that humans being had eight drives, most of them with self-explanatory names. There's the sadist drive, the katatonic drive, the paranoid drive, the hysteric drive, the maniac drive, and the depressive drive. Two of the drives are more abstrusely-named; the "h-drive," stands for the hermaphroditic drive. It may also be considered the "homosexual drive" as it is represented by a picture of a homosexual in the test. It's supposed to be our maternal, passive, tender, and loving drive. Then there's the "e-drive," or "epileptic drive." This represents any emotions or drives we have which tend to "erupt" in a fit - like rage and envy.

Illustration for article titled Choose The "Best" And "Worst" Faces For This Old Personality Test

Szondi both combined and subdivided the drives. The sadistic drive could be subdivided into a drive to inflict sadism on others, and a drive to invite sadistic behavior on one's self — sadism and masochism. The different drives could also be re-classified depending on whether people expressed those drives to a large group of people, or to a select few. Combining certain drives could result in healthy behavior, such as normal sexual impulses or a good level of personal ambition. Combining others could lead to mental illness. Guess what diagnosis combining the "maniac" and "depressive" drives gets you.

Szondi recommended showing people six sets of eight photos. Each photo showed mental patient who represented one of the drives. The test subject was to pick their two favorite and two least favorite photos in every set. The favorite photos were meant to represent fulfilled drives, while the least favorite photos represented unfulfilled drives. Alternately, the favorite and least favorite photos represented their expressed and repressed drives. Over time, people would reveal their hidden personality traits, by literally picking the "faces" of those traits.

Szondi's test was favored for some time, in part because it didn't require the patients being tested to speak. They only had to indicate their choice of photos. The Szondi Test did not wear well, and today you'll probably see it only as an oddity.


Image: Forest Test Blog.

[Via Szondi Test and The Szondi Test and Pictures]




What's that hook-up app where you swipe left and right if you like or dislike someone? I'm sure you could easily develop a personality test based on that. Better than that Meyer-Briggs test anyway