Picks and Pans Review: Cd-Romping
SOME MIGHT CLASSIFY DO-IT-YOURSELF psychology tests as little more than Ph.D.-certified Cosmo quizzes, but Keith Harary has set out to change all that. "I always hated personality tests," says the research psychologist who developed the Berkeley Personality Profile used in the CD-ROM Who Do You Think You Are? (HarperCollins Interactive, $39.95), not to mention his 1994 book of the same title. "I can't stand anything that typecasts people just by asking them a few questions."
Instead, Harary came up with a battery of questions that lets users separately evaluate their relationships with friends, significant others, even coworkers—as well as solicit their opinions of the users. But talk about typecasting: Not only does the disc challenge users to guess the personality types of real people, based on 30-second video interviews with them, its big payoff is a feature that matches users' own personalities with those of 50 celebrities.
Sounds like good, albeit fluffy, fun, right? Actually, it's downright disturbing. The oddball list is booby-trapped with famous folk not exactly noted for congeniality (Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher), levelheadedness (Salvador Dali) or long, happy lives (Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac). It's enough to send the most unflappable user scurrying to the nearest online shrink.