Can personality measurement play any role in an adult individual’s life? Can it be used effectively to assess and eventually help children as well? Is there a way to judge which is the best method for its measurement?
If you are looking for answers to similar questions, then read ahead.
Any test, standardized instrument or questionnaire which has been designed to aptly measure the personality, also known as the character or the psychological makeup, of an individual can be named as a personality measurement.
It all started with design of simple personality tests in 1920s. The tools were devised select the candidates who were considered fit for certain types of jobs with specific characteristics. Their primary customers were armies all over the world.
Before that, the personality of an individual was assessed in an entirely different and unique manner. They relied mostly on pseudoscientific techniques like phrenology, which is the measurement of the skull of that particular individual, and physiognomy, which is the assessment of personality judging from the outer appearance of the individual. However, due to demands of armies for better tools led the psychologists to go for more empirical methods of testing which eventually those pseudoscientific methods.
One of the earliest successful personality measurements that came into being was the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, which was a self-report inventory type of personality. This test had been developed to carry out a psychiatric screening of the new inductees into the army at the time of World War I. There were a few more:
► Self-Report Inventory
The Self-Report Inventory has been the most common type of personality measurements. It is also termed as the objective personality test. There are many items included in this kind of tests, some of which are questions and others are statements or situations, and the test taker is required to answer in the degree to which he agrees or disagrees to the ‘problem.'
A sample item on such a test could be, ‘I like to socialize with new people on parties.’ The test taker can be asked to answer with a number on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 for example; with one end connoting to strong agreement and the other to obvious disagreement. A very commonly used self-report inventory test would be the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). It is probably the best personality test of this kind which is widely used to identify different psychological problems in the test takers.
► Observational Measures
These kinds of personality assessments can only be carried out by an expert psychologist who has to derive personality evaluations by assessing the behavior of the person.
► Peer Report Studies
An individual’s personality can be assessed in limitless ways as it tends to unfold many dimensions said to be relative to the situation and the surrounding. Another type of personality testing method is using the peer report studies in which the reports provided by the peers offer a valuable insight into the character of the individual being assessed.
► Projective Tests
Projective tests are also widely used as part of the dynamic personality testing. These often contrast to the objective methods because the projective testing methods utilizes ambiguous stimuli, which can be images, words or scenes, to invoke response from the individual being assessed. These help in evaluating the hidden emotions or internal conflicts of the test taker. The most commonly known and best personality test from this category is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. Others include,
The term ‘personality’ comes in common usage, and for this reason, the significance of the test that evaluates the personality of a person is often taken for granted. It is commonplace to judge someone as an introvert, extrovert, emotional, rational or realistic based upon whims and perceptions. However, the real personality of a person cannot be assessed exactly.
One way of assessing the personality is by taking or conducting personality test. As you have learned above, various types of personality tests are now being used by psychologists to determine the personality, a complex entity, of an individual. There is no single prescribed method of doing that just as you cannot label the personality of an individual with a single word.