Karma Chameleon?

This column originally appeared in The Observer magazine/Guardian online

How good are you at adapting your behaviour to different contexts, and what does this say about you? To find out, simply answer “True” or “False” to each of the following statements.

  • In a new social situation, I often look to others for clues about how to behave
  • I’m much more likely to laugh out loud if I’m watching something funny with friends than on my own
  • At a party, I avoid expressing opinions that I think others will disagree with
  • I sometimes pretend I’m enjoying an event or gathering when I’m not
  • I’m good at telling white lies to people’s faces

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This questionnaire measured your self-monitoring. People with higher scores (i.e., more “True” than “False” responses) tend to change their behaviour depending on the role or situation they find themselves in. People with low scores have a more “take-me-as-you-find-me” approach, and tend to have a similar disposition – whether that is grumpy, cheerful, or laid-back – whatever the situation.

 

Interestingly, studies suggest that people who score high for self-monitoring make good actors and entertainers, are good at public speaking, make better leaders, are better at inferring others’ personality from their appearance, are more impressed by physical attractiveness and – perhaps as a result – are more likely to have commitment-free sex.

 

A fully referenced version of this article is available at benambridge.com. Order Psy-Q by Ben Ambridge (Profile Books, £8.99) for £6.99 at bookshop.theguardian.com

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