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Examples of Personality Assessments

Examples of Personality Assessments

Author: Erick Taggart

This lesson will give an overview of specific personality assessments; including the Rorschach Inkblot Test, Thematic Apperception Test, and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2nd Edition.

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Hello, class. So in today's lesson, we're going to look at some specific examples of personality assessments. Now, if you recall, personality assessments, or tests, are ways to help to measure various traits and aspects of a person's personality. So the tests measure these different aspects, and they can also have different strengths and weaknesses. So oftentimes with assessments, we want to use a variety of them so that we can get the best possible range of information.

So these are some of the specific ones we'll look at. So the first category are our objective tests. Objective tests are tests that give the same scores, even when different people correct them. They also give the same questions and measures for each person that takes these tests.

One famous example of an objective personality test is a personality questionnaire called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, Version 2. This is a test that was first developed in the 1930s to '40s. But then, it's gone through some revisions, particularly in 1989, where it got into its second form. And it's still frequently used today. OK.

And the way it works is the MMPI is a self-report inventory, which is to say, it's a questionnaire that a person takes individually based on a list of questions. There are 567 different items or questions, and all of them are answered true or false. Within that test, there are 10 different scales that measure different aspects of personality, things like emotionality of the person, anxiety, or paranoia. So each of these different groups of 10 is being measured by some of these questions that are being asked.

For example, some of the questions are, I do not always tell the truth, true or false. Or I am liked by most people who know me, true or false. So you can see how that relates to some of those aspects of personality.

Another example that we'll look at briefly is the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, which is a questionnaire that's based on Carl Jung's theories that measure a person based on four different personality scales, things like introversion versus extroversion, to see where they fall within that rating. And from these four scales, it matches a person to one of the 16 different personality types to say what type of person they are.

Now besides objective tests, we also have what are called projective tests. And projective tests are tests that use ambiguous words or images to try to uncover unconscious thoughts or desires. So projective tests are very much focused on psychodynamic theories and on the importance of the unconscious on our personalities.

So one of the very famous ones is the Rorschach Inkblot Test, which is a test created in 1921 by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. And it's one of the most commonly used today, generally in conjunction with other ones. So it's not just a test that's given on its own.

The way it works is that people are shown 10 standard inkblot pictures. OK. And they're asked what do they see. The psychologist records what the person says as well as what the person does. And it doesn't matter how important the person thinks it is. The psychologist records everything that they see and hear. Now, the psychologist is a lot less focused on the content of the people's answers. While it might be important if they talk about something especially violent, that isn't necessarily the focus of the psychologist.

The psychologists is more focused on the organization of the person's answers, so what parts they look at first or second, as well as the determinant. So what triggered their answers? Was it the color? Was it the shape? Things like that. OK.

And the psychologist uses a standardized scoring system to come up with responses about the person's personality. And this is something we call the Exner Scoring System. OK. So this isn't something that's up to the psychologist only to decide how it's scored.

Another projective test that's very famous is the Thematic Apperception Test, or the TAT test, which is also a pictorial test. And it was first created in the 1930s by two psychologists, Henry Murray and Christiana Morgan. And in this test, a subject is shown a picture of a neutral kind of scene. So there isn't anything that gives away necessarily how the people are thinking and feeling. And they're asked what happened before the scene, what's happening in the scene now, how the person is feeling or thinking, and what happens next after the scene. So basically, they're trying to create a story out of this one picture.

Now scoring for the TAT is not necessarily as standardized as the Rorschach test. There are multiple systems that people use. But mainly the systems are based on the needs, the motivations, and the anxieties of the characters within the story, so what the person says this person might need or how they're feeling, as well as how the story eventually turns out. So what is the result, and what does that say about the person? So again, they're trying to uncover the person's own feelings and motivations in unconscious, particularly about their relationships towards other people.

OK. So this is a good example that you can look online for for more examples. Just see if you can do a web search for the TAT, or Thematic Apperception Test.

Terms to Know
Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory (MMPI-2)

Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory (MMPI-2) Objective test, most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests.

Rorschach Inkblot Test

Projective test in which the evaluator presents "inkblots" to subject to assess personality, cognitive disorders, etc.

Thematic Apperception Test (T.A.T.)

Projective test in which the evaluator presents ambiguous scenes to subject to assess personality, motivation, achievement, defense mechanisms, etc.