A&B Computing

The Real You

Author: Jonathan Evans
Publisher: Collins
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in A&B Computing 3.03

The Real You is a computerised version of the sort of "know yourself" quizzes to be found in women's magazines, colour supplements and the like. Although the accompanying booklet has "based on major research" printed in one corner, there is little or no indication within as to whether the tests and analyses of scores are actually based on any proper scientific research. However, since this is the sort of consideration which only appears to bother professional psychologists like me, I won't dwell on it.

The review copy used disc access to provide a fairly large number of tests on a variety of subjects, organised under six major headings: Work, Intellect, Personality, Lovelife, Anxiety and Views. In each case, a series of questions are presented on-screen with multiple choice answer format. Answers are selected by use of cursor keys or joystick but with rather sluggish response. The screen designs are generally good with occasional graphic images (e.g. in the IQ test). Each test is scored by the computer and your rating is then analysed in the booklet.

I know many people like this sort of thing, though I really can't understand the appeal. You know the sort of thing. You answer a lot of rather obvious questions and then get told that you are satisfied/dissatisfied with your job or lovelife or whatever. So what? If you thought you were OK and the test says otherwise are you really going to say "Well, this is the *real* me, so I'd better do something about it"? If so, you must be potty, and if not it was a waste of time bothering to do the test in the first place!

My other objections to this sort of software are (i) that computer presentation adds little to what a book could provide with considerably more text and (ii) what do you do with the disc once you've done all the tests? You will have gathered by now that I am not the kind of person that The Real You was made up to sell to. However, if you like this sort of thing, it is quite a good example of its kind.

Jonathan Evans

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