Personality Test Approaches and the Dark Side

Published: 21st September 2011
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Personality test is one of the tests taken to define a personís character, which might be shown or exposed within the personís lifetime. This defines the individualsí character and pattern of thoughts, feelings and behavior. This type of test can be scored by using a dimensional or typological approach. Dimensional approaches like the Big 5 test such as the NEO PIR can define personality as a group of continuous dimension wherein individuals differ and can be very powerful.

Typological approaches like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator define opposing categories of functioning wherein individuals differ. There are also normative responses for every category can be graphed as normal curves which can imply that some aspects of personality of some people are better than others.

Meanwhile, Ipsative test can offer 2 equal responses where an individual can choose from. These responses can result to bi-modal graphs. Meanwhile personality test like the strength deployment inventory assesses purpose or motivation of behavior. It is known that 3 continuums of purpose which are combined to yield 7 distinct types.

On the other hand, emotive tests could become unreliable because the test taker can try to pick the answer that they feel would best fit their ideal self so they end up answering the test untruthfully so the result might not be correct.

Every meaning of a personality test scores can be difficult to interpret in a direct sense. That is the reason why producers of personality test make ample efforts to produce norms which can provide a comparative basis to interpret a test takerís test scores. The common format for the norms is the percentile ranks, sten scores and percentile ranks.

However, there are certain controversies that surround these kinds of tests. One of them is that the test taker will only find the result accurate because if the validation of the subjects involved. This is where the taker will only recognize the information that will apply to him.

Another is the application of the test for non-clinical purposes. Some companies are intrigued in administering these tests to their employees as often as a psychiatric patientís experience, which is not acceptable. Another problem is the test taker is faking everything. Test takers fake his answer to control the results.

Because of these, there are a lot of strategies that are adopted to reduce the faking. One of these strategies involves giving the test taker a warning that there is a way to detect faking and might result to a negative consequence to the test taker. Another is giving forced choice item format. This requires the test taker to choose between substitutes of social desirability. Social desirability and lie scales can detect a certain pattern of responses. On the other side, one way to detect faking is by looking into the timing of each response on electronically administered tests.

Personality testing is used mostly on psychological researches to test their different theories of personality. Researches also show that some companies use personality testing as one of their hiring process. However some has been misused so some discontinued administering them.

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