Personality Test Approaches
Personality tests are common tools used by schools, hospitals, companies, and other institutions in order to assess the personality of a particular person. Such tests apprise individuals of their personalities, including their behaviors and what they are capable of doing. The history of personality assessment is very long. It might be possible that assessing personality had been of existence since the time a man tried to assess the personality of a stranger for the first time. However, formally assessing personality first became popular in the beginning and the end of World War II.
The first tests were paper-and-pencil group tests which consisted of multiple choice and true-or-false questions administered to a large group (Kaplan, et al, 2005). Objective Personality Tests There are two main approaches to personality tests. They are the objective approach and the projective approach. The origin of objective personality tests was from the United States Army during World War I. The army had s many recruits that it made them look for a way to assess their personalities in order to determine who were mentally fit and who were not (Hersen, et al. , 2004).
Objective personality tests are known as standardized measures of assessment. These tests can be used in a number of conditions. Firstly, the stimuli to be presented must be the same for all the respondents and must be presented at the same way. Secondly, objective tests make use of norms, where responses may be assigned within an anticipated range. Finally, objective tests must be correlated to other objective personality tests (Lanyon, et al. , 1997). Objective personality tests are very strict, where all tests in this approach tend to follow the same criteria.
One of the most widely used objective personality tests is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The test has been translated to more than 115 languages and used in more than 46 countries (Hersen, et al. , 2004). The test has 500 items in a true-or-false format. There are 10 categories in the test which are Hypochondriasis, Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic Deviate, Masculinity-Femininity, Paranoia, Psychasthenia, Schizophrenia, Hypomania, and Social Introversion. The MMPI is a popular test because it is very easy to administer.
It also provides an objective evaluation of a person’s characteristics while at the same time, cost effective. The test can also be computer scored making interpretations easier to prepare (Hayman, 2009). Another objective personality test is the 16PF. The test was first published in 1949. It consists of 16 primary scales, five of which are global scales, and three are response bias scales. The personality scales at both ends have clear and meaningful definitions. The scores are standardized ranging from 1 to 10 with a mean of 5. 5 and a standard deviation of 2. 0. The test is untimed and simple to administer.
A computerized version is also available, reducing the administration time to only 25 to 40 minutes. This test has high reliability as it has high correlations with other personality tests. It is productive in many settings such as employee selection, and in predicting academic achievement (Boyle et al. , 2008). The professional Assessment Inventory is a modern objective test which involves measuring client variables in the professional setting. The test contains 344 items and is answered using a 4-point Likert-type scale. The options are “Totally False”, “Slightly True”, “Mainly True”, and “Very True”.
The responses are measured according to how intense they are. Advantage of Objective Personality Tests The main advantage of objective personality tests is its cost. Since these tests consist of fixed number of items per questionnaire, administering over a large number of people of groups can be done. It is also easier to administer objective tests because it does not require firsthand intervention from the administrator. Those taking the test can do it by themselves. Moreover, scores for objective tests are standardized, providing easier means of interpreting results.
Also, objective results are useful in diagnosis and treatment of a personality disorder. Objective tests are also easy to score. There are computer software available in scoring which makes the entire process less time consuming (“Advantages”, 2007). Disadvantages of Objective Personality Tests According to some clinicians, objective tests may not be effective if the goal is not behavioral. It is thus a disadvantage for objective tests since there can be many interpretations as to why certain behavior is occurring. Objective tests also limit the interpretations to the score of the assessment.
It does not allow alternative interpretations. When administered in a large scale, objective tests may not necessarily reflect the cognition and desires of each client (“Advantages”, 2007). Projective Personality Tests Projective tests are anchored on stimuli, which are presented to the client. The stimuli are well designed so that clients are encouraged to project their feelings, desires, and emotions on to it (Kline, 1993). This approach is based on the psychoanalytic school of thought, which focuses on the unconscious thoughts or urges of an individual. There are different types of projective tests.
Unlike objective tests, these tests do not make use of scoring and therefore are not standardized. Types of tests include sentence completion, free drawing, solid objects, and auditory projective tests. The most famous of these tests is the Rorschach Test. This test is popular because it has been used in many films and books for many years. The test is administered rigidly with a particular format in order to lessen variances in the results. The test consists of a number of inkblots that are shown to the client. The client is free to rotate or flip the cards.
In administration of this test, the test giver takes note of everything the client says or does (The Rorschach Test, n. d. ). Another projective test is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). It was authored by Henry Murray and was first used at Harvard University in the year 1935 (Net Industries, 2010). The test is basically a set of 20 cards with an inkblot on them. The test subject is asked to interpret the inkblot through story telling. Murray’s basis for developing this test was the fact that one can reveal his or her personality when he or she interprets a certain ambiguous situation (Woltmann, 1948).
It is concerned with the expression of the subject’s needs. The TAT focuses on aggression, perception, and the expression of the subject’s needs through interpretation (Net Industries, 2010). The eight most frequently used projective test for clinical diagnosis in the United States of America is the Draw-A-Person Test. Administering the DAP test starts with the examiner always giving the client a blank piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. The client is basically asked to draw a person, hence the name of the test. The basis for interpreting DAP is the psychodynamic theories.
For example, if the head is not proportionate to the rest of the body or larger, it may show a sign of preoccupation over headaches or other brain disorders. Absence of facial details may mean that the client may be avoiding interpersonal relationships that might cause conflict. A heavy line in the mouth area show signs of aggression while irregularities in the chin may indicate weakness. Homosexual tendencies may also be determined if the drawing is a male with large eyes and has eyelashes. Usually, the test is administered to children for screening and diagnosis of behavioral or mental disorders (“Draw-A-Person”, n.
d. ). Advantages of Projective Personality Tests The main purpose of projective personality tests is for clients to be able to release their thoughst, feelings and emotions; hence, it is very effective in therapeutic settings. Since this test does not make use of scores, the therapist or the test giver has a free hand in the administration of the test. The flexibility of projective tests shows that such can even be administered as an ice breaker, encouraging the client to discuss different issues or to assess his thoughts and emotions (Kendra, n. d. ).
Disadvantages of Projective Personality Tests Generally, projective tests are scored blindly. There is no inter-score reliability concerning interpretations. The interpretation of one may be another interpretation of another. Projective tests also have poor validity. These tests only cite clinical evidences to support their claims. Unlike objective tests, projective tests are not scored, thus, they have low to almost no correlation with other personality tests. Moreover, projective tests tend to be easily influenced by different contextual factors such as the manner the test was administered.
The gender or the race of the tester could also contribute to the results of the test. Though those who practice projective tests claim that the tests are focused on the innermost layers of personality, the results have the potential to be distorted because of the said factors (Kline, 1993). Personal Preference Both objective and projective approaches in personality tests are significant in assessing behavior and diagnosing behavioral and mental disorders. Each offers a different set of strengths and weaknesses which contribute to the successful assessment of human behavior.
However, in my opinion, I would prefer to use objective personality tests over projective tests. First of all, objective personality tests offer a wider range of advantages for research. Since it has high validity it can easily be correlated with other psychological tests. Its high reliability means that results can easily be duplicated. Standard scores of objective tests make interpretations universal and can be applied to almost all related cases. Secondly, objective personality tests make diagnosis easier.
Because these tests make use or norms, it is easier to assess a particular behavior or trait and rate it according to the norms. The presence of norms provides more information in the statistical aspect of diagnosis, giving more support as to which behaviors are normal and which behaviors are not. Finally, objective personality tests are less expensive in a lot of ways. Since most objective tests are of paper-and-pencil type, material for the test is inexpensive. Also because of this characteristic of the test, clients can finish the tests alone with minimal supervision of the test giver.
Some tests are also computerized, thus, dramatically reducing administering and scoring time. References Boyle,G. J. , Matthews, G. , Saklofske, D. H. (2008). “The Sage Handbook of Personality Theory and Assessment”. London: Sage Publications, Ltd. “Draw-A-Person Test”. (n. d. ). Advice and Information on Psychology. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://www. healthster. co. uk/draw-a-person-test/. Hayman, F. E. (n. d. ). ”The MMPI: Its Validity in Assessing People With CFS”. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://www. mefmaction. net/Patients/LegalIssues/PsychologicalTests
Treatments/MMPI/tabid/540/Default. aspx. Hersen, M. , Hilsenroth, M. J. , Segal, D. L. (2004). “Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological Assessment: Personality Assessment”. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Kaplan, R. M. , Saccuzzo, D. P. (2009). “Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues”. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Kendra, C. (n. d. ). “What Is a Projective Test? ”. About. com. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://psychology. about. com/od/psychologicaltesting/f/projective-tests. htm. Kline, P. (1993). “The Handbook of Psychological Testing, 2nd Edition”.
New York, NY: Routledge. Lanyon, R. I. , Goodstein, L. D. (1997). “Personality Assessment, 3rd Edition”. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Net Industries. (2010). “Projective technique”s. In JRank Psychology Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12 May 2010 from http://psychology. jrank. org/pages/506/Projective- Techniques. html. “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Objective Personality Tests” (2007). Retrieved 10 May 2010 from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/478711/ the_advantages_and_disadvantages_of_pg2. html? cat=72.Sample Essay of PapersOwl.com