BBC launches UK personality test

Tuesday, November 24 2009, 13:52 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

The BBC has launched a new nationwide online test to map the way in which personality affects the daily lives of people living in Britain.

As part of the BBC One Child Of Our Time project, the corporation's Lab UK website will host The Big Personality Test. Despite personalities being as unique as fingerprints, the team believes that everyone fits into five main types - extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

The public can take part in the test to see if they fit into one of the types, with all contributors to receive personalised video feedback from professor Robert Winston, including information about the dominant traits of their personality.

A host of celebrities, including Fay Ripley, Lauren Laverne, Jo Whiley, Dan Snow and Evan Davis, have already taken part in the test.

The results will be broadcast in spring 2010 during a two-part Child Of Our Time special. Professor Winston, who will present the show with Sophie Raworth, described the test as "an extremely ambitious project".

He added: "With the help of people from all over the UK, from Land's End to John O'Groats, this stands to be the largest ever profile of British personality. It will help scientists answer one of the biggest questions in psychology: How much does personality shape our destiny?"

Cambridge University's professor Michael Lamb will assess the results and try to gain a greater insight into how personality affects an individual's circumstances.

"What makes each of us an individual is a fundamental question that has been debated for thousands of years and is a subject of interest to us all," said professor Lamb.

"Through the research, we hope to learn a great deal about personality - its origins, its effect on our relationships, experiences, attitudes and the ways in which these in turn affect our personalities."

Co-produced by the BBC and The Open University, Child Of Our Time is almost halfway through a 20-year mission to follow 25 children born in the year 2000.