1. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  2. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  3. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
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  5. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
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  50. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  51. What I Ate Wednesday
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  53. VOTE TODAY!
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  55. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
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Saturday, December 7, 2019
  1. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  2. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  3. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
  4. Herbal Inclusions for Dishes and Drinks
  5. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
  6. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-30-2019
  7. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
  8. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-23-2019
  9. Wedding Planning: The Ring, Our Vendors, and More!
  10. Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
  11. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-16-2019
  12. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 10-26-2019
  13. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-02-2019
  14. Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  15. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-09-2019
  16. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  17. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  18. What I Wednesday: FNCE in Philly!
  19. Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  20. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  21. Unearthing Evidence-Based Integrative Remedies to Stress
  22. Scribble Anxiety Away
  23. Best Hostess Gift Ever
  24. What I Ate Wednesday: Fiancé Edition!
  25. Pumpkin Walnut Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
  26. Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
  27. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  28. Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
  29. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  30. Orca Conservation
  31. Fall’s Functional Foods
  32. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  33. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
  34. Simple Swaps for Your Zero Waste Journey
  35. Lessons on Food and Farming in Monterey, California
  36. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  37. Quick and Easy-One Pan Veggie Red Curry
  38. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-21-2019
  39. Here’s How to Live a more Colourful Life
  40. Cooking with CBD
  41. Eco-friendly Food Storage
  42. Bento Box Recipes
  43. How to Make Sushi Sandwich
  44. Healthy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
  45. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-14-2019
  46. 5 lunchbox ideas
  47. 17 Free and Easy Ways to Be a Self-Care Expert
  48. Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  49. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-07-2019
  50. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  51. What I Ate Wednesday
  52. The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
  53. VOTE TODAY!
  54. Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
  55. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
  56. Keep your cool
  57. Tart Cherry Crumble Pie
  58. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  59. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  60. Your brain on… air pollution?
  61. Brain Boosters
  62. MCT oil Coconut’s healthful gift
  63. Hot right now
  64. Cupcakes for breakfast?
  65. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  66. What is CBD? A Guide to Health Benefits, Usage, and More!
  67. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  68. Hummus Toast – 4 Ways!
  69. What I Ate Wednesday
  70. Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Banana Muffins
  71. Advances in Colorectal Cancer Research
  72. Advances in Breast Cancer Research
  73. Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip
  74. What is CPR?
  75. What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis
  76. Cushing Syndrome (For Parents)
  77. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimers Disease?
  78. Manganese
  79. Study Shows that Disrupted Gut Bacteria May Contribute to the Spread of Breast Cancer
  80. She Faced Breast Cancer At 16 With Little Help From Doctors. Now She’s Speaking Out On Behalf Of Black Women
  81. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?
  82. Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging
  83. Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans
  84. Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
  85. 49-Year-Old Breast Cancer Patient Grateful She Didn’t Wait Until 50 for a Mammogram
  86. Teen’s Innovative “SMART Armour” Protects Breast Cancer Patients from Radiation
  87. New Drug Improves 3-Year Survival by 50% for Young Women with Stage IV Breast Cancer
  88. Young Mother’s Life Tragically Taken by Breast Cancer After She Refused Traditional Treatments
  89. NIH Study Tracks Exercise with Mobile Apps to Improve Heart Health
  90. Lion With Skin Cancer Has Received Radiation Therapy In Hospital
  91. 3rd Grader Writes Note for Teacher Battling Breast Cancer to Read Right Before Treatment
  92. Skin Care
  93. Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know
  94. The Final Word on Whether Alcohol Actually Has Any Health Benefits
  95. New One-Time “Seed” Treatment for Breast Cancer Being Used in Philadelphia
  96. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks About The Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  97. Teacher on Leave for Breast Cancer Treatment Forced to Pay for Her Own Substitute
  98. 27-Year-Old Thought She Was Injured Falling Off A Horse, But Then She Learned She Had Breast Cancer
  99. Should Surgery And Radiation Be The Standard Treatment For DCIS? The COMET Study Is Finding Out
  100. Judge Rules That 3-Year-Old Child With Leukemia Must Get Chemo Against Parents’ Wishes
  101. This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals
  102. These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss
  103. Olivia Newton-John Talks About How She Stays Positive Amid Cancer Battle
  104. This Army Captain Mom Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer When She Was Just 8 Weeks Pregnant
  105. High-Deductible Health Plans Linked to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
  106. Antibiotic shortages are putting Aboriginal kids at risk – The Conversation AU
  107. Cuddle beds bringing some physical comfort to end-of-life patients – ABC News
  108. People who skip breakfast are five times more likely to die after a heart attack – Daily Mail
  109. Yale researchers revive cells in dead pig brains – Yale Daily News
  110. Scientists revive cellular activity in brain of dead pigs: report – Fox News
  111. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment – NPR
  112. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Technology Professor Teaches Computers to Read Mammograms
  113. Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation and Medications
  114. If Soap and Water Are Not Available, Hand Sanitizers May Be a Good Alternative
  115. Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products
  116. One side of your brain might be giving you nightmares – Cosmos
  117. What Personality Tests Tell Us About Ourselves – NPR
  118. Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute DOUBLES your risk of an early death – Daily Mail
  119. Wear protective goggles to play badminton
  120. Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says – USA TODAY
  121. Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life – EurekAlert
  122. Climate change is making allergy season worse – CNN
  123. 11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches – HuffPost
  124. New Jersey preschoolers have highest autism rates in the nation, researchers say
  125. Auburn gymnast who suffered severe injuries: My pain is not your entertainment
  126. A four-day work week could improve our health and cut carbon emissions
  127. Promising treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome fails large trial

Images of the seals that represent each of the Hogwarts houses.

Courtesy of Pottermore.com

Images of the seals that represent each of the Hogwarts houses.

Courtesy of Pottermore.com

In one of the most famous scenes from the Harry Potter series, a group of kids, new to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, line up before an old and crumpled wizard’s hat. It is the sorting hat. The hat will tell them which house they’ll belong to during their Hogwarts education.

There is something deeply appealing about the sorting hat. It is wise. It seems to know people better than they know themselves.

We humans love this kind of insight. And our drive to better understand ourselves and the people around us has led to the creation of a multi-billion dollar industry built around personality testing.

Probably the most famous of all personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI. But there are plenty of others, too. These tests categorize people based on personality traits. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Someone who likes unexpected challenges, or someone who prefers structure and calm? Many of America’s most successful companies use personality tests to gain a better understanding of their workers. Many individuals use them to gain a better understanding of themselves.

One Hidden Brain listener, Ally Adler, took the Myers-Briggs test when she was 26 and miserable in her job.

“It really helped me understand myself in a way that I hadn’t before so I could work around and manage challenges both in my personal and professional life,” she says.

At the Potterverse convention in Baltimore, adults and children alike enjoy talking about their Harry Potter Hogwarts “houses” — and the houses they think their friends should be in.

Tara Boyle/NPR


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Tara Boyle/NPR

At the Potterverse convention in Baltimore, adults and children alike enjoy talking about their Harry Potter Hogwarts “houses” — and the houses they think their friends should be in.

Tara Boyle/NPR

But other people say tests like these are deeply flawed. Listener Matthew Gale says the Myers-Briggs got him completely wrong.

“My experience with Myers-Briggs played no small part in ruining me emotionally for years,” he says.

While the effectiveness of these tests can be endlessly debated, one thing is clear. With a few exceptions, most do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. They typically aren’t peer reviewed and usually fail basic standards of validity and reliability. Adam Grant, a psychology and management professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has written of his concerns with the Myers-Briggs, particularly when companies use the results to guide hiring and firing decisions.

“It’s a great way to weed out diversity,” Grant says.

Allen Hammer, the former chair of the Myers & Briggs Foundation, disagrees. He believes the Myers-Briggs is as reliable as other personality tests. And he says Grant is wrong when it comes to evidence that the Myers-Briggs cannot predict real world outcomes; for example, he says, “when people matched roommates on their psychological type they got a 65 percent decrease in request for roommate changes.”

This week, we delve into the world of personality tests, and discover new research that suggests the power of personality assessments may not be in pinpointing the person you are, but the person you have the potential to become.

Additional Resources:

Can Superstition Create a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? School Outcomes of Dragon Children of China,” by Naci H. Mocan and Han Yu, 2017.

Hidden Brain is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Jennifer Schmidt, Parth Shah, Rhaina Cohen, Laura Kwerel, and Thomas Lu. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.

Editor’s note: In the original version of this story, interviewee Adam Grant mixed up the definitions of scientific reliability and validity. This error has been corrected in this version of the story.

According to the American Psychological Association, validity is defined as “the degree to which empirical evidence and theoretical rationales support the adequacy and appropriateness of conclusions drawn from some form of assessment.” The APA defines reliability as “the trustworthiness or consistency of a measure, that is, the degree to which a test or other measurement instrument is free of random error, yielding the same results across multiple applications to the same sample.”

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