Unless you've been living under a proverbial rock (or nobly sworn off social media), you've likely taken, or at least observed others taking, one of the personality quizzes recently circulating the Internet. (Full disclosure: I'm a grilled cheese sandwich who should've gone to Yale.) Not only are they flooding our newsfeeds, but Slate reports that the New York Times' most popular story of 2013 was the dialect quiz that aimed to guess where you're from based on, among other criteria, how you pronounce Mary, Merry and Marry. And while anyone who grew up reading Seventeen knows the idea of navigating life through multiple choice questions is hardly a new one (after all, who doesn't need to know if you should ask your crush out?), personality quizzes are, decidedly, having a modern viral moment.
So why exactly can't we stop taking them, even when common sense tells us the veracity of some of the results is probably shaky at best? While the obvious answer is that they're a fun way to kill time, psychologists suggest that there might be something more at play. "I think it's fun, but I think it also does touch something about our own sense of our unfolding story, " says Robert Simmermon, Ph.D., a psychologist in Atlanta Ga., who specializes in media psychology. "I think it really goes to a sense of narrative psychology."