Summary

Hi all,

 

My research this summer was about personality testing, and my primary purpose in conducting this research was to create a website detailing the structure and scoring of four different personality tests as well as assessing their reliability and validity based on the findings of existing research. The four tests I chose to study were the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, and the revised NEO personality inventory. Of the found that the NEO-PI-R was the most widely supported by psychologists, but a direct comparison of the four tests is difficult because they serve different purposes– the MMPI, for example, is used in clinical settings to analyze psychopathology, while the MBTI is used mostly in business settings today to determine the motivational styles of employees. The implications of the wide reach of personality tests are numerous, but one thing in particular that concerned me is the fact that in many companies, the MBTI is a required test for all employees and can sometimes affect whether and employee is hired and/or promoted, but its reliability and validity have been seriously questioned by many psychologists. As a whole, personality tests are useful, but there are many people who trust them implicitly to accurately categorize human personality, and my research has shown me that this is rarely the best course of action.

 

By far the most important thing that I learned through my research this summer is that personality, because it is so difficult to quantify and often manifests itself differently across different situations, is exceedingly difficult to measure. As such, it is important that personality tests are not relied upon too heavily in any of the settings in which they are applied. In clinical settings, this may mean using a test as a diagnostic tool but not a substitute for an in-person evaluation with a patient. In business, this could mean refraining from making hiring and promotion decisions based off of the results of a personality test. For most of us, however, who only use personality tests as a way of categorizing ourselves and encouraging our friends to do the same, it means that we should be cautious when putting too much faith in any one personality assessment. Even the most psychometrically sound personality tests have their limitations, something to be mindful of the next time you come across a link to “The Best New Personality Test Sweeping the Nation!”