In Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Sorting Hat is an important part of famous psychological tests. It is more important than Myers-Briggs or whether you are a Carrie. It also contributes to personality trivial in reality at BuzzFeed, Pottermore, the Guardian and other sites. In recent days, Time Magazine created a sophisticated Sorting Hat quiz on the basis of psychological measures like Big Five human traits. Sorting Hat at Hogawarts plays an important role in one’s life, because it could determine a student’s social and sporting life, academic track and career. Is it possible for any psychological test to place students at such a young age accurately? I have asked a clinical psychologist Dr. Ali Mattu. He is also a fan of Harry Potter and host of YouTube’s the PsychShow. He gives his analysis:
For the Hogwarts Sorting Hat itself, I have no issues. All my issues are related to the idea that a hat could read thoughts, values and wishes of all first-year Hogwarts student. It’s a terrible way to operate a school by sorting students into houses. Values, thoughts and personality of a twenty-something person will change and develop at specific time. In fact, we have no ways to figure out whether someone is going to be primarily brave, loyal and wise like a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw and a Slytherin at 11 or 12. At that age, young and shy students may be panic when they come across something tricky. In general, a twenty-something person is more confident and mature than one at a young age.
However, it’s bad news for all students. It’s a dangerous message that who you are is fixed at the Hogwarts sorting ceremony. In fact, one could change the track of your life when you believe abilities is just the critical factor. All of these ideas are called a growth mindset. The Sorting Hat conveys some messages, “This is who you are, this is who you will be and you should go along with the preset track.” A kid who struggles with reading and refused from Ravenclaw might believe he or she may not adapt at reading and revert to pursue more physically intensive careers. To a certain extent, the sorting ceremony is also a self-satisfying tool. Viewing from Milgram’s obedience experiment and Standford prison study, the long-term psychological experiments prove that situations are powerful, and we are easily to take on qualities that are expected of us.
This is also the reason of business students get adapted at entrepreneurship, lawyers good at detailed information and physicians are standout in diagnosticians. Segregating students by houses will obscure their creativity. As we all know, teams will become creative when people with different academic backgrounds. Students from a same group feature same qualities, which leave them in segregation and suggest the same solutions. When it refers to TIME’s test, the Big Five is a great measure of personality. But all related outcomes are only represent one’s personality right now.