Traci Horgen just found out she's a lemur, but she feels much more like a spider monkey. Brad Godorhazy discovered that he's most like the jock Slater on the TV show ``Saved By the Bell.'' Carole Dec found that of all the minor characters on ``The Simpsons,'' her personality matches that of the whiny nerd Ralph.
The source of all this self-discovery: on-line tests. Evaluations range from the serious - Why are you still single? What is the best career for you? Are you at risk for cancer? - to the entirely frivolous: Which college snack food staple are you? Are you a sex goddess? What is your inner non-sequitur?
All are interesting questions. But maybe test takers should be asking which tests really make the grade.
``Everyone's favorite subject is themselves,'' says James Currier, who came up with the idea for the San Francisco-based self-test Web site www.emode.com while at Harvard Business School. During the term's first weeks his fellow students weren't the friendliest, but once they finished an assignment - taking the Myers Briggs Personality Test - and started comparing notes, that all changed.
``The amount of conversations, the amount of energy and laughter it released made me realize it was an incredible medium,'' says Currier. With the Internet, Currier could create tests that people could easily share and compare with friends across the county.
``It's a revolution for people to know themselves and know the people they are communicating with,'' says Currier. ``Before the Internet it would take a battery of tests that would cost $4,000 off-line. You have to fill out paper form, you have to wait, it's a huge hassle.''
Emode offers a more detailed report of what your scores reveal for $14.95.
Because tenured professors and PhDs are creating Emode's 100 popular culture tests and 50 ``serious'' tests, Currier says people can accurately compare results to determine who they should date, hire, or just invite to their next party.
Traci Horgen, 33, an artist who lives in New Milford, Conn., was disappointed with a few of the Emode tests she took. Excited to take the test assessing talent, she was shocked that the result simply said that she possesses verbal skills. ``That's wrong,'' she laughs. ``I'm totally inarticulate.''
She did agree with the evaluation that said her cat Dante's true identity is James Dean. ``That was pretty funny. And it fits him pretty well,'' she says.
Several test takers lamented that they could too easily see where the questions were leading them.
``I chose the answers because I wanted to be Ralph,'' says Carole Dec, 33, a programmer analyst in Jacksonville, Fla. referring to Bart's pudgy, high-voiced classmate. She took the test "Which minor ``Simpsons'' character are you?"
Dec adds that while she thought the test was ``entertaining,'' she does not consider it a true character assessment.
When Shannon Whitfield, 29, took the test "Which `Sex and the City' character are you?" she already knew she was the prudish Charlotte, ``I took the test because I like that show,'' explains Whitney, a financial analyst for Forbes in New York City, N.Y.
The test is offered on www.selectsmart.com , a site with tests made by both staff members and site visitors.
A marketer for an Ashland, Ore., drill sharpener manufacturer, Curt Anderson first created a test for customers to determine the appropriate sharpener for their drill.
``I realized if I can make a test for something as dry as drill sharpeners, I could make them for more interesting stuff,'' says Anderson. Then he figured he'd let the public in on the test-making fun, for free. Now SelectSmart has 15,000 tests, called ``selectors.'' Creating a selector is ``easy, quick and fun,'' says Anderson.
Anderson is most proud of the test he most recently created to help visitors determine which presidential candidate fits best with their beliefs.
``I based questions on issues (the) polls say Americans are most interested in - welfare, taxes, education, health care,'' he says. Anderson looked up the policies of 33 candidates for the test.
The test to help people determine their religion is popular, as well.
Scott Kreger, 34, a health care analyst in Richfield, Minn., didn't think it was perfect.
``With some of the questions, none of the answers was exactly what I feel so I thought well, I'll just go with this one,'' says Kreger. ``There weren't enough options.'' Because he erred on the conservative side of the questions, the result was a religion more ``rigid'' than he feels he is.
``I thought it was interesting, though, to think about it,'' he says.
For Brad Godorhazy, 36, laughs rather than intrigue compelled him to find out which ``Saved by the Bell'' character he is. Turns out the Columbus, Ohio, telecommunications analyst is like Slater, the jock.
``But I don't think that's me,'' says Godorhazy, dubbed Slater even after taking the test again and giving different answers. Godorhazy felt the test had too few questions to accurately determine which character he'd be. Frustrated, he says, ``I should have done something that was more my generation like `Gilligan's Island.'''
You can e-mail Alina Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 348-4333.