A Brief Guide to Personality Assessments
Personality assessments are measurements of personal characteristics. These assessments collect information that is then used to advance psychological research and theory and to enhance the probability that wise decisions may be taken in applied settings (e.g., choice of candidates among job applicants).
The approach used by experts in personality assessments is predicated on the idea that significant discrepancies in an individual’s behaviour are due to variances in their inherent features or fundamental personal characteristics. These professionals strive to define such traits, conduct their objective measurement and connect them to behavioural aspects of social significance.
Simply said, personality assessments like ADHD assessments are instruments used to assess or gauge human personality. These evaluation methods are designed to gauge the normal behavioural patterns that people display in diverse contexts.
It is possible to use personality assessments to help throw light on a clinical diagnosis, offer guidance to therapeutic interventions and aid in predicting how persons may react in various situations.
The earliest psychological tests were called Phrenology and emerged in the late 18th century. In these tests, the bumps on the human skull were measured, which were, in turn, linked to specific features of personality.
Later on, psychologists started to try to determine and define the number of personality traits. For instance, more than 4000 traits were defined by Gordon Allport. As for Raymond Cattell, he used a statistical technique of Factor Analysis to narrow down the list to 16 Personality Factors, and Hans Eysenck whittled it down to 3.
Currently, the most popular personality theory is referred to as the Big Five Theory. As per this theory, human personality is composed of five wide dimensions: Openness, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Extraversion.
Nowadays, many personality tests have become popular and are designed as per specific theories of personality. These include MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) and 16 PF Questionnaire (Sixteen Personality Factor).
Types of tests
There are two main kinds of Personality Tests: Projective Tests and Self-Report Inventories.
- Self-Report Inventories
In this, test takers read test questions and rate how best the statement or question applies to them. One of the best and most common such tests is the MMPI.
- Projective Tests
It comprises of presentation of the test taker with a vague scenario, subject or scene and requesting them to provide interpretation about the test item. A common example of such a test is the Rorschach Inkblot Test.
The advantage of self-report inventories is that it is possible to standardise them and use well-defined norms. They can also be easily administered and have higher validity and reliability than Projective tests. As for projective tests, they are used mostly in psychotherapy settings and permit therapists to collect much information about clients. Both kinds of tests can be used for ADHD assessments.
Use of tests
There are many uses for administering personality tests:
- Evaluating theories
- Assessing the impact of therapy
- Diagnosis of psychological issues
- Screening of candidates for jobs
- Exploring changes in personality
Personality tests also have unusual uses, like risk assessments in forensic settings, in child-custody disputes, and to establish competence. Other settings include occupation & career counselling, school psychology, clinical psychology, relationship counselling, and employment testing.
Impact of tests
Personality tests are beneficial for several reasons. Such tests can help people know more about themselves and understand their weaknesses and strengths. Though all personality tests differ, learning that one is good or high in a specific personality trait can provide useful insight into behaviour patterns.
For instance, one personality test might reveal that the person is on the higher side of the personal quality of introversion. This may indicate they need to find time alone to charge their energy after spending time in social situations. Knowing this nature of their personality can help them identify when they are becoming drained from socialisation and devote some time to recover their equilibrium.
Tips for taking personality tests
There are no tips to perform well in personality tests, but there are some things to do so that the test truly reveals the authentic nature of personality:
- Stay honest: Avoid trying to project an ideal version of yourself. Only try to react and respond in a way that you feel.
- Peruse instructions with care: Results of the test might not be accurate reflections if you do not follow the instructions and guidelines with care.
- Avoid trying to ‘beat the test’: You should respond honestly and avoid trying to guess the ‘best or ideal answer’.
While you explore personality tests out there, you will find something for sure: there are hundreds of informal tests available. Even a simple Google search will throw up an enormous range of tests and quizzes that can reveal your personality.
Yet there are some potential drawbacks and pitfalls. One of the most common ones is the act of deception by test takers to influence results. Another problem is that most people may fail to understand their qualities due to a lack of awareness. Also, people may dislike taking tests as they are typically long.
In sum, these are various aspects of personality assessments.