I heard this on the radio a few days ago. It’s not a trick. It’s one of those quick tests/experiments you can do to help you understand yourself better. You have to do the test quickly and spontaneously, without analysing it. I’ll tell you what to do now, and then put some pictures in between to stop you reading the explanation before you have finished.
Using the first finger of your dominant hand, trace out the capital letter ‘Q’ on your forehead.
That’s it. Remember what you did, and read on. [Here are some random photos to stop you scrolling down too quickly]:
This is from Richard Wiseman’s Quirkology website, “The curious science of everyday lives”. And here is his analysis:
This fun test provides some insight into whether you are ‘self’ or ‘other’ centered. These two types of people have a very different way of seeing the world, and one type is no better or worse than the other.
There are two ways of completing this exercise. Some people draw the tail of the ‘Q’ on the right hand side of their forehead whilst others draw it on the left.Self-centered people tend to draw the letter Q in a way in which it can be read by themselves [as if seeing the letter on your forehead from inside your head, looking out]. They tend to come across as being the ‘same person’ in different situations, and their behaviour is guided more by their own values than the needs of others. They pride themselves on being straight with people, and expect others to be honest with them. Because of this, they are not especially good at lying, but are better at detecting lies in others.
People who are other-centered tend to draw the letter Q in a way in which it can be seen by someone facing them. They tend to be concerned with how other people see them. They are happy being the center of attention, can easily adapt their behaviour to suit the situation in which they find themselves, and are skilled at influencing the way in which others see them. Because of this they are often good at lying, but not so good at detecting lies.
The other way of explaining this is in the language of ‘self-monitoring’ or ‘self-consciousness’, which I prefer, because ‘self-centered’ and ‘other-centered’ sound like value judgments in ordinary speech. So those who draw the Q for others have a higher level of self-monitoring or self-consciousness; while those who draw the Q as they see it looking out have a lower level of self-monitoring or self-consciousness.
Does this give some profound, scientifically-based psychological insights? I don’t know! But the simple fact that people respond in different ways is intriguing enough for me. Perhaps it’s no different from the ‘do you notice what shoes other people are wearing?’ self-analysis; and the corresponding ‘do you care what shoes you are wearing in the presence of others?’
I am a ‘Q-to-myself, self-centered, low self-monitoring’ person.