Personality testing is a technique applied in measuring a person’s character or persona. The technique is believed to provide accurate and consistent results. Personality, therefore, refers to traits assessed informally and applied to describe an individual. For example, when people talk about their friends, they often refer to the individuals’ different traits. Conversely, health care professionals including therapists and psychologists rely on the personality tests to assess patients’ personalities on scientific levels. The personality tests, however, are universally applied in assessing personality changes among people. The tests are also used to assess and evaluate effectiveness of therapeutic measures aimed at improving patients’ traits by boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Thus, personality tests should be applied in diagnosing patients’ suffering from physical, mental, and emotional issues. The tests can also be applied in a formal set-up by screening job candidates and ensuring they are skilled and qualified. Conversely, a personality test can settle a child custody dispute as it can be applied in forensic settings to conduct risk assessments and establish participants’ competencies (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 210). The research, therefore, will discuss the instruments of personality tests. The validity, strengths, weaknesses, benefits, and limitations of personality tests will also be examined. Lastly, the research will determine the value and usefulness of the personality tests.
Self-report inventory test and the projective test are the two primary personality tests. The self-report inventory test requires an individual to read questions and rate how the statements apply to him/her. Conversely, the projective test involves presenting people with a vague scene, scenario, or object. Consequently, every individual is requested to give an interpretation of the test item (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 210).
Validity of the Testing Instruments
The validity of a test refers to whether it can actually measure the construct it is meant to while the reliability is the degree to which it produces consistent results. Personality tests should relatively be free from analysts’ bias. They, however, are subject to respondents’ ability and willingness to be honest and open as some people can fail to represent their true traits. Informal and unscientific personality tests lack evidence required to draw reliable and valid judgments. Thus, they tend to rely on subjective judgments prompting people to endorse vague generalizations that can be applied to describe everyone’s character. In measuring peoples’ intelligence and aptitude, the tests should be designed as psychometric assessment to analyze and interpret personality results. Before the results are concluded. The measurements should be well founded. Thus, the correspondents should answer the test items accurately according to how they relate with the real world rather than basing their responses on fantasies (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 213).
Personality test items are not created equally. Thus, some can present better psychometric properties than others can. Objective personality tests, therefore, should be conducted, as they tend to be more valid than projective tests. This is because projective tests lack scientific evidence prompting analysts to rely on subjective judgment of a clinician. The objective tests, however, ought to account for weaknesses, limitations, and disadvantages of personality tests. For example, they should include reliability and validity scales to clinical scales by increasing the test items to ascertain if the respondents are being honest, open, and self-reflective to present true personality reports. Reliability scale tests can also be applied to ensure personality tests is consistent over time. For example, an individual can presently answer a set of test items and repeat the process in five years. In case the two tests are similar, the personality test should be identified as valid and reliable (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 213).
Strengths and Benefits of Personality Tests
Strengths and benefits of personality tests as measures of one’s personality are diverse. For example, a standardized personality test is easy to administer through use of established norms. The simplicity benefit, however, should not reduce the reliability and validity scales. More so, personality tests in conducting psychoanalysis can allow the analysts to assess and understand the patients or respondents as. For example, psychotherapists often focus on their clients’ response to particular tests items prompting them to change their body language and tone of voice. Thus, personality tests provide health care professionals with an opportunity to explore patients’ physical, emotional, and mental progress (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 215).
Consequently, they can encourage the respondents to accurately perceive their emotions and enhance their abilities to express them effectively. The tests also enable people to be aware of their emotions crucial in shaping respondents’ thinking, coping, decision-making skills. More so, they encourage respondents to understand and analyze their emotions, as they can be complex and contradictory resulting to development of unacceptable social skills. Ultimately, the personality tests enable people to regulate their emotions and make effective use of positive thinking. Thus, the strengths and benefits of the tests can produce reliable and valuable results if they are applied in similar conditions consistently. The testing process, however, should be fun and entertaining to ensure the respondents are neither bored nor frustrated by the procedure (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 215).
Weaknesses and Limitations of Personality Tests
The main disadvantage of a personality test is the possibility of individuals engaging in deception especially when answering questions likely to lead to unpleasant interpretation of their values, beliefs, and traits. Some tests are developed to detect deception. Individuals, however, can still confidently provide false answers in attempts to seem good, admirable, desirable, and socially acceptable. Another disadvantage involves misinterpretation of the responses provided by respondents taking the tests. The misinterpretation can encourage analysts to provide inaccurate and unreliable viewpoints depending on peoples’ responses on the highly subjective scoring test items. More so, analysts can diversely interpret them. The limitation can result to the test lacking either reliability or validity. Lack of validity and reliability presents a disadvantage as consistency in measuring the test items is also adversely affected (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 215).
The main limitation of the personality tests is attributed by the failure of people to provide accurate descriptions of their behaviors. For example, some people can overestimate their social skills to seem desirable hence acceptable. More so, they can underestimate their physical and mental skills impacting the accuracy of the personality tests. Consequently, the tests take relatively long as respondents have to spend a substantial amount of time to answer the test items. Thus, it is possible for people to be bored and feel frustrated prompting them to answer the questions in a rush and inaccurately as they can either misread or fail to read the test items. Ultimately, the weaknesses, disadvantages and limitations of the personality tests lie on the fact that they are subject to respondents’ willingness and ability to be open and honest. Thus, people have to provide self-reflective answers to represent and report their true personality (Arendasy, Sommer, Herle, Schutzhofer and Inwanschitz 215).
Personal Opinion on Personality Tests
The personality testing instruments often provide valuable feedback for enhanced self-awareness and personal growth. I, however, noticed there are different informal assessment tests available in conducting a personality test. For example, advancing technologies are encouraging people to take simple online tests. Although the tests are fun and entertaining, they lack the ability to present respondents with reliable and valid results. They, however, can provide a little insight into an individual’s personality.
Concerning the personality test I undertook, it was neither scientific nor formal. It, however, provided valuable feedback for enhanced self-awareness and personal growth. For example, I learnt that I can express my emotions effectively. I, however, can also be cautious in identifying the people to socialize with and openly express my inner thought to as people can be deceptive. The test, therefore, enabled me to understand that I ought to rely on critical thinking to either resolve or avoid social issues. Thus, it provided useful and valuable information I can apply to improve my personality, social, and leadership skills.
Personality tests should be conducted to provide insights into peoples’ traits and help social communities in developing and maintaining relationships. They can also help employers to determine employees’ skills and abilities crucial in establishing if they can fit in the organizational culture. The tests, however, can consume a lot of time, which can dissuade respondents from going further with the process. Individuals can also answer the test items dishonestly as they are keen on pleasing the analyst or clinician. Considering they are expensive, the analysts can provide unreliable and invalid results. The respondents, therefore, should be encouraged to take the tests regularly to determine if the results are consistently reliable and valid. As a result, valid and reliable personality tests should be undertaken frequently and consistently. The consistency can ensure the results are valuable and useful.
Arendasy, Martin, Sommer Markus, Herle Marqit, Schutzhofer Bettina, and Inwanschitz Daqmar. Modeling Effects of Faking on an Objective Personality Test. Journal of Individual Differences, vol. 32, No. 4, 2011, pp. 210–218.