I’m not particularly proud of this fact, but here it is: Pottermore, the Harry Potter-themed website unveiled by J.K. Rowling in 2012, has peered deep into my soul, evaluated its findings, and pronounced me a Hufflepuff.
Fans of the series will know why this is upsetting. For all the non-Harry Potter buffs reading this, though, here are three quick points of explanation. One: At Hogwarts, the wizards’ academy that serves as the backdrop for most of the series, students are sorted into one of four houses, each with its own distinctive character. Two: On Pottermore, fans can take a personality quiz to do the same. Three: Hufflepuff’s defining trait is “nice.” Its mascot is a badger. Its members, if Hogwarts were an American high-school cafeteria, would be the ones in the corner, frantically combing the trash for their retainers.
So, perhaps understandably, I’m less than thrilled by the idea that Pottermore may, in fact, have read me pretty well: In a study recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that a person’s preferred house may offer hints about his or her personality.
For the study—titled “Harry Potter and the measures of personality: Extraverted Gryffindors, agreeable Hufflepuffs, clever Ravenclaws, and manipulative Slytherins”—132 Harry Potter fans who had already taken the Pottermore quiz filled out a series of personality assessments. Comparing average scores for each house to scores for the whole group, the researchers found that, for the most part, people’s personality traits tended to mirror the stereotypes of each house: Ravenclaws scored highest on “need for cognition.” Slytherins—the villains of the wizard world—scored highest on the Dark Triad (not to be confused with the Dark Arts), which encompasses narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism; Hufflepuffs, true to form, were the most agreeable. Only the members of Gryffindor—home of Harry Potter himself, along with his gang, and all of Hogwarts’ bravest—didn’t match up to their fictional counterparts.