Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

How Good Are You? Five Online Tests to Gauge Your Goodness

Alt Wire is a morning digest of links and information collected and explained by a different guest blogger every weekday. Today's guest is Jason Marsh of Greater Good magazine. We asked him for five links. Here's what happened:

Jason MarshOver here at Greater Good magazine, we spend our days reporting on “the science of a meaningful life.” What makes people do good? What makes them happy? What makes them get along well with others?

Of course, we can’t help but ask these same questions of ourselves—and wonder how we stack up against the rest of humanity. Fortunately, the web is home to several scientific tests—well, at least tests designed or inspired by scientists—that can help us (and you) determine just how good we are. They’re short (most take just a few minutes), fun, and illuminating. Here are five we like best.

How moral are you? University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt and colleagues are the brains behind YourMorals.org. Questionnaires on the site provide a window into your morals and where they come from. Check out their “Moral Foundations Questionnaire,” which reveals your core moral beliefs and how they inform your political views.

How prejudiced? Researchers at Project Implicit have created a series of fascinating tests that help you detect your unconscious biases (along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, and much more). They’ve found, for example, that most Americans have an automatic, unconscious bias for white faces over black ones. Do you?

How empathic? Autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen has devised the “Mind in the Eyes” test to measure how well people can decipher the emotional states of others, just by looking at their eyes.

How socially intelligent? This experiment created by the BBC, based on the work of legendary psychologist Paul Ekman, tests how well you can tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one.

How compassionate? This test, developed by sociologist Sue Sprecher and psychologist Beverly Fehr, measures how much “compassionate love” you feel for others, including strangers and even all of humankind. To take it, you’ve got to register through the University of Pennsylvania’s “Authentic Happiness” program, which features lots of other questionnaires you can take to gauge your levels of happiness, gratitude, and more.

BIO: Jason Marsh is the editor in chief of Greater Good magazine and an editor of The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness, an anthology of Greater Good articles forthcoming from W.W. Norton & Co. His article on why sadness makes us want to buy things appears in the March/April issue of Utne Reader.

Previous Alt Wire Guests: David LaBounty, Jen Angel, Will Braun, Regan Hofmann, Josh Breitbart, Andrew Lam,  Jessica ValentiJessica HoffmannNoah ScalinRinku SenPaddy JohnsonMelissa Mcewan,  Fatemeh Fakhraie Joe Biel Anne Elizabeth Moore