Personality Types: What, Why and How
Personality tests have been around for a long time, and over time even more precise tests have been developed. These tests are used to determine an individual’s characteristics and certain personality traits. Although many personality tests are freely available online, more precise tests might require an individual to make an appointment with a psychologist specialising in these types of tests.
A personality test is a test that usually comprises a list of questions that the taker needs to answer honestly. There are many different tests that are used to determine different aspects of an individual’s personality. These tests can also be divided into two categories, namely objective measures and projective measures. Assessing Personality, a course available on Lumen Learning, defines an objective test as “a psychological test that measures an individual’s characteristics in a way that isn’t influenced by the examiner’s own beliefs; in this way, they are said to be independent of rater bias”. A projective test, on the other hand, is defined as “tests that are based on Freudian psychology (psychoanalysis) and seek to expose people’s unconscious perceptions by using ambiguous stimuli to reveal the inner aspects of an individual’s personality”. Under objective measures, the most well-known tests are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Neo Pi-R, MMPI/MMPI-2, 16 PF, and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Under projective measures, the most well-known tests are the Thematic Apperception Measure and the Rorschach test.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
This is a very popular test amongst individuals who want to discover more about their personalities, because it is available online for free, and is a relatively quick test to take. The test divides individuals into 16 different personality types. The type is described by a four letter acronym: E for extroversion or I for introversion; N for intuition or S for sensing; T for thinking or F for feeling; J for judging or P for perceiving. A version of the online test can be taken here: https://practicalpie.com/myers-briggs-type-indicator/
NEO Personality Inventory (Neo PI-R)
The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) is a test that focuses on an individual’s big five personality traits. These traits are: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Each trait also contains six subcategories referred to as “facets”. You can try a version of this test for free at https://www.truity.com/test/big-five-personality-test
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI/MMPI-2)
In the article, “What Is The MMPI Test And What Does It Say About You?” written by Dylan Buckley on Better Help, the MMPI Test is described as a “psychological exam that takes a look at your personality traits as well as your psychopathology to determine if you have mental health issues”. The test consists of multiple true or false questions and it is usually used by doctors, but it can also be used in professional or legal settings. This test can be tried at https://www.idrlabs.com/multiphasic-personality/test.php.
16 Personality Factors (16 PF)
Cattel’s 16 Personality Factors (16 PF) is a questionnaire similar to the MBTI questionnaire in the sense that both use questions that must be answered using an accuracy scale. The 16 PF questionnaire focuses on 16 personality traits, which are: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self-reliance, perfectionism, and tension. Each trait will be given a rating out of 4, and can be tested at https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test.
Eysenck Personality Questionnaire
The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire focuses on two dimensions of personality, namely, “E” for extraversion or introversion, and “N” for neuroticism or stability. Four quadrants are defined by these dimensions: sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic. Another dimension was also included, namely “P” for psychoticism or socialisation. A version of the test can be taken at https://www.sapa-project.org/survey/start.php.
Thematic ApperceptionAppreciation Test (TAT)
The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a test where the taker is given a series of cards containing pictures. The taker will then be required to make up a story that aims to answer a set of questions. These questions include: “What is happening at the moment?”, “What are characters thinking and feeling?”, “What led up to the situation?”, and “What will the outcome be?”. In an article titled “Projective Assessment of Children and Adolescents”, written by Meha Jain, Amit Singh, Sujita Kumar Kar, and I.B. Weiner, it is explained that the test was developed in the belief that it “would provide clues to the underlying dynamics of a subject’s interpersonal relationships and self-attitudes”.
This test is also known as the inkblot test. The taker will be shown a series of pictures and asked the same question, “What do you see?”. An article on BBC News, titled “What’s behind the Rorschach inkblot test?”, explains that “by asking the person to tell you what they see in the inkblot, they are actually telling you about themselves, and how they project meaning on to the real world”.
Personality tests can be useful to discover and understand certain aspects of one’s personality. It can also be taken to help an individual understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Dimakatso Molepo, former Vice-Primaria of House Mags, told PDBY that the House Committee members were all encouraged to take the MBTI test before the commencement of their term. According to Molepo, this helped the team to understand the dynamics between the different members and allowed the team to function better.
Many personality tests are freely available online and require only a few minutes of an individual’s time. This is an opportunity to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of one’s personality – and can be fun to take.
Image: Cletus Mulaudi