Assessment Research Applications in Personality Psychology
By Lubna Maklada
If we choose to define the Phrase “personality”, the following dictionary definitions will properly and accurately help us to pursue this goal:
According to the Even Shoshan dictionary, Personality is: “all of the person's traits that distinguish him from others: a person's personality is revealed in his appearance, his conversation, his behavior in society and so forth.” (Even Shoshan dictionary).
Gordon Allport1found out that the source of the word personality is in Latin, and it means “Persona”. This word referred to a mask that actor wore during a Greek drama. Over time, the word has got a more abstract meaning, which emphasized the difference between the external appearance, (the mask), and the actor himself.
In psychology, a very prominent branch has been the ‘Personality Psychology’. One of Its areas of focus includes: investigating human nature and individual differences.
The 20th century heralded a new interest in defining and identifying separate personality types, in close correlation with the emergence of the field of psychology. As such, several distinct tests emerged; some attempt to identify specific characteristics, while others attempt to identify personality as a whole.
A personality assessment tests aim to describe aspects of a person's character that remain stable throughout that person's lifetime, the individual's character pattern of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
There are many different types of personality tests, many of which are similar, but some differ in its uniqueness, methodology, characteristic style, but all have the same primer purpose- to evaluate and assess the human nature.
This paper thoroughly explains the ‘psychology personality’ branch of psychology, and for this matter, I will define it’s theories, it’s impact on the world of psychological therapy, and most prominently, the different assessment research applications in the world of psychology.
(1) An American psychologist and one of the founding figures of personality psychology.
2. Personality Psychology
Many, throughout history, tried to define the concept of personality. Here are some common definitions: The source of the word "personality" is in Latin: (Persona). Personality is a word with different definitions, and the most widely accepted of which are: The complex of the mental characteristics, both innate and congenital, which dictate behaviors, thoughts and feelings in cases where other individuals will not necessarily behave, think or feel the same.
"Personality has many meanings. It is reasonably distinct subfield of psychology that comprises both theory and research. However, even within psychology there is disagreement about the meaning of the term". )Hjelle & Ziegler, 1992, p. 3)
As mentioned, the word persona first described "personality" in Latin. This word was taken from the Greek language which has first described a theatrical mask, and later the mask and the extroverted mental features that the actor needs to demonstrate while wearing it on his face. The Romans used the word "persona" to describe the characteristics that the person who is not a player demonstrates when he doesn’t wear the mask. Later, the word also described the demonstrative external image of a man and also his true qualities known only to a few. After the publication of Sigmund Freud’s theory, the use of the term "personality" has taken place also to describe the psychological mechanisms that prompt every individual to behavior, thoughts and feelings.
2.2 Personality Psychology:
Personality Psychology is a branch in psychology that studies personality and individual differences. One stress is laid upon constructing a clear portrait of a man and of his main psychological procedures. Another approach defines the personality as the basic differences in an individual and it comes to study these differences. A third approach examines human nature and how humans are similar to each other. Personality psychology consists of two activities related to each other: the first activity is a half philosophical theory which aimed to understand the human nature. The second activity focuses on the personality assessment in a practical level. Personality psychology started out with the development of psychiatry in France and Germany during the 19th century.
3. Personality Theories
3.1 General Definition
There are many definitions for personality, and every definition depends on the theoretical approach regarding the human essence.
In general one can use the definition proposed by Atkinson2 and others, that: "Personality" is a way of thinking, feeling, remembering and behaving that determine a person's unique style and influence on his interaction with the environment, and it is affected by environmental and hereditary factors.
(2) An American psychologist who pioneered the scientific study of human motivation, achievement and behavior.
The purpose of the study of personality is to: describe, explain, predict and influence the processes that affect human behavior.
What criteria can be used systematically to evaluate theories of
personality? The criteria for such an analysis follow from the
functions of theory- the organization of existing information and the
selection of fruitful areas for investigation. The corresponding
criteria for evaluation of theories of personality are comprehensive,
parsimony or simplicity, and research relevance. The first two relate
to the organizing function of theory, the third to its guiding
function. (Pervin & John, 2005, p. 19)
3.2 Different Approaches To personality
Most of the existing personality theories refer to the structure and process, although the structures and the processes they offer are different from each other.
The term "structure" refers to the parts consisting personality. Freud argued that human personality, for example, consists of three parts: the id, the ego and the superego. According to the behavioral theorists, personality consists of habits, (connections between stimuli and responses), or of the total previous learning of an individual's, (Skinner). Others argue that personality traits are the ones that construct the human personality.
The term "process" refers to the dynamics, meaning the major forces that drive the human-being, and the effects of these individual components that have on one another and on the behavior. For example, some theories assume that the behavior stems from efforts to reduce impulse (the behaviorist theories).
It is customary to sort the personality theories into seven major approaches, when each one of them has a different conception of human nature and of the factors that drive him and affect his behavior:
The Psychoanalytical Theory- is a body of ideas developed by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud and continued by others. It is primarily devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behavior, although it can also be applied to societies.
The Cognitive Behavioral Theory- It lays the stress upon the way humans process information, looking at how humans treat information that comes in to the person (what behaviorists would call stimuli) and how this treatment leads to responses.
The Humanistic Theory- This approach adopts a holistic approach to human existence through investigations of meaning, values, freedom, tragedy, personal responsibility, human potential, spirituality, and self-actualization.
The Trait Psychology Theory- The Trait Psychology Approach- This is a psychological theory that lays the stress upon the centrality of stable traits in the personality structure. Carl Jung, (who emphasized the importance of the introversion and the extroversion), is considered to be one of the prominent pioneers in this approach.
Bio-psychosocial Theory- Focuses on the study of the biological processes which may provide an explanation to the human behavior and to the occurring processes in human’s brain and nervous system.
Type of Personality Theory (Typology) – Is the division of the human species by races. Practical examples to this theory are: Carl Jung’s personality classification mode, Mayers-Briggs’s Type Indicator (MBTI), 16 personality factors by Raymond Cattell, and etc’.
Social Cognitive Learning Theory- Cognitive theories are theories of personality that emphasize cognitive processes such as thinking and judging. This theory is used in the world of psychology, education and communication. This theory assumes that parts of the acquired information by an individual can be directly related to observing others within social interactions, social experiences and external communication influences.
3.3 The Psychoanalytic approach
3.3.1 The Topographical Model
Freud distinguishes between three levels of awareness in human personality:
"Freud's original conception divided personality into three levels: the conscious, the preconscious, and the subconscious.” (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 47)
The Topographical Model Structure:
The Topographical Model divides the human mental apparatus into the following 3 layers:
1. The Conscious Layer- The smallest layer which contains limited amount of items which we grasp in a given moment, such as thoughts or feelings, and they construct only a small part of the total mental processes.
“The conscious, as Freud defined the term, corresponds to its ordinary every day meaning. It includes all the sensations and experiences of which we are aware at any given moment."- (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p.47)
Freud considered the conscious a limited aspect of personality because
only a small portion of our thoughts, sensations, and memories exists in
conscious awareness at any time. He likened the mind to an iceberg. The
conscious is the portion above the surface of the water- merely the tip of
the iceberg"- (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 47)
2. The Preconscious Layer- It is the second larger layer which concentrates the accessible material, kind of material that lay on the edge of the tongue that could be transferred at will to the conscious layer. Sometimes thoughts transfer from there to the conscious layer on their-own.
(3) A neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry.
"Between these two levels is the preconscious. This is the storehouse of memories, perceptions, and thoughts of which we are not consciously aware at the moment but that we can easily summon into consciousness." (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 47)
3. The Unconscious Layer- Also known as the sub-conscious. It is the thickest layer, which concentrates the majority of the mental material. In constitutes an accumulation place for thoughts, impulses and memory which are blocked from the consciousness. According to Freud, these materials navigate the thinking and behaving pattern of humans.
More important, according to Freud, is the unconscious, that larger,
invisible portion below the surface. This is the focus of psychoanalytic
theory. It's vast, dark depths are the home of the instincts, those wishes
and desires that direct our behavior. The unconscious contains the major
driving power behind all behavior and is repository of forces we cannot see
or control." (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 47)
At any given moment there is an opening to a transition between the conscious and the sub-conscious. On the other hand there is a solid demarcation between the sub-conscious and the un-conscious.
The following diagram illustrates Freud’s Topographical Model
3.3.2 Structural Model
Structural model represents the structure of the psyche. According to Freud, the psyche is a complicated structure divided into three factors: Id, ego and super ego, by which, humans try to contain in a single entity his initial impulses and primeval instincts, alongside to the tradition and laws of society, and with supervision, control and balance of forces.
184.108.40.206 The “Id”
The id comprises the un-organized part of the personality structure that contains the basic drives. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle", seeking to avoid pain or un-pleasure aroused by increases in instinctual tension
The id corresponds to Freud's earlier notion of the unconscious (although
the ego and superego have unconscious aspects as well). The id is the
reservoir for the instincts and libido (the psychic energy manifested by the
instincts). The id is a powerful structure of the personality because it
supplies all the energy for the other two components" (Schultz &
Schultz, 2008, p. 48)
220.127.116.11 The “Ego”
The Ego is the part of the personality which maintains a balance between our impulses, (the id), and our conscience, (superego).
The “Ego” has three roles:
A. In the External Environment- To examine the good and bad in the external environment. To identify the stimuli that might satisfy our needs.
B. In the Internal Environment- To filter and regulate excessive demands of the id by using the principle of reality, (to behave ethically), the perception of reality, judging it and come to logical reasoning. That is, an attempt to bridge between the internal requirements and the reality.
C. Sources of punishment and guilt- The social values become an integral part of the personality.
Freud's second structure of personality, the ego, which is the rational
master of the personality. Its purpose is not to thwart the impulses of the
id but to help the id obtain the tension reduction it craves. Because it is
aware of reality, the ego decides when and how the id instincts can best be
satisfied. It determines appropriate and socially acceptable times, places,
and objects that will satisfy the id impulses. (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 48)
18.104.22.168 The “Super-ego”
The id and the ego don't represent Freud's complete picture of human
nature. There is third set of forces- a powerful and largely unconscious set
of dictates or beliefs- that we acquire in childhood: our ideas of right and
wrong. In everyday language we call this internal morality "conscience".
Freud called it the superego". (Schultz & Schultz, 2008, p. 50)
The super ego has two parts that are a derivation of society influences:
Conscience- the feeling of guilt.
Ego Ideal- striving for perfectionism.
22.214.171.124 Freud’s Model of Personality Structure
(4) The life instinct innate in all humans.
(5) A death drive, According to Sigmund Freud
According to Freud, the human mind can develop complications that might prevent humans from functioning properly in reality. These processes are referred to as anxiety.
Freud distinguishes between three types of those processes:
1. Realistic Anxiety- It warns the organism against external dangers.
2. Neurotic Anxiety- It derives from the fear the Ego would lose control over the Id and that person would behave instinctively.
3. Moral Anxiety- It stems out of feeling of guilt and conscious flooding that stem out of the upper-ego.
3.3.3 Dynamics of personality
* The source of instincts is biological processes and the energy that activates these processes is the inability to us to satisfy our instincts. Every instinct can be translated into one of the following instincts: instinct of life or instinct of death.
* We are driven to the desire to return to Homeostasis (principle of balance). When there is a shortage in one of our instincts, we enter a state of imbalance. (this is a state of physical stress, resulting from the arousing of an instinct that aims to satisfy the shortage, for we naturally seek the phase of balance.
* We return to balance by actions we execute.
How to return to balance by an action or activity? An example: when we are hungry, we create a shortage. Shortage creates physical tension that requires a relief. Eating stops the tension, and hence we get back to balance. In other words: our actions drains into the attempt of reaching the Homeostasis. When we feel a shortage of any kind, we direct energy to satisfy this shortage.
* We work according to the law of energy preservation.
A human has certain energy in his body. Therefore, the more he consecrates energy to satisfy a certain need, the less energy he has to satisfy other needs.
* Every instinct has its own energy.
Freud called the energy of the life instinct as Libido. Humans direct this energy to creativity, constructions and survival. Freud didn’t name the energy of death instinct, yet he claimed that its purpose is to hurt the person himself, his follow-men and his possessions. Freud considered death to be a method of reaching the state of humans when they were in the uterus- meaning that all human’s needs are satisfied and there are no shortages.
* Our lives are the struggle between two instincts and the attempt to satisfy them. Although human’s life is a struggle between two instincts and satisfying them, yet, by developing the Ego and the Superego, man has to take under consideration the reality and the environmental principles. The result is that man acts in different ways in order to satisfy his instincts.
* Every action we execute stems from a certain reason. (principle of causality).
It can be concluded that according to Freud every action executed by man stems from a certain reason. In other words: every behavior has a reason. Freud referred to this phenomenon as the principle of causality.
* During the first 5 years of our lives, the experiences we experience are the most significant.
According to Freud man’s experiences during the first 5 years of his life are the most significant. Freud referred to these years as the critical period. If events/experiences/developments will not take place during these years, it will have a negative influence on man’s future.
3.4 Humanistic-Phenomenological Approach-(Phenomenology)
Carl Rogers6, B.F Skinner7, Abraham Maslow8.
The Humanistic Approach- It adopts a holistic approach to human existence through investigations of meaning, values, freedom, tragedy, personal responsibility, human potential, spirituality, and self-actualization. The humanistic approach includes theories that refer to humans as an active creature who strive to realize himself, and as a complete entity which can’t be divided to personality units.
Leal (2004) explained the humanistic approach in her words:
The humanistic approach (sometimes referred to as phenomenological approach)
to personality is an optimistic response to the pessimism of psychodynamic
theorists. Humanistic psychologists emphasize immediate subjective experiences
that are unique to each of us. The humanistic approach stresses each person’s
capacity for personal growth, positive growth, free will, and freedom to choose
one’s destiny. (Leal, 2004, p. 35).
According to Misiak & Sexton (1973) phenomenology is:
The phenomenological method consists of examining whatever is found in
consciousness or, in other words, the data or phenomena of consciousness.
The method's primary concern is not the act of consciousness, but the
Object of consciousness- that is, for instance, all that is perceived,
imagined, doubted, or loved – (Misiak & Sexton, 1973, pp. 6-7(
Phenomenological psychology asserts as its basic doctrine that the
psychological reality of phenomena is exclusively a function of the way in
which they are perceived. A person's senses do not directly mirror the
world of reality, instead, effective reality is reality as it is observed and
interpreted by the reacting organism. (Hjelle & Ziegler, 1992, p. 295)
(6) An influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology
(7) An American psychologist, author, inventor, social philosopher, and poet.
(8) An American psychologist and is considered the founder of humanistic psychology.
The following are some notes conducted by Carl Rogers regarding some of the aspects of the humanistic approach:
Carl Rogers disagreed with Freud and assumed that humans aren’t driven by the Homeostatic9 principle or by unconscious impulses or bad solutions of conflicts.
Carl Rogers disagreed with Albert Bandura and assumed that man is the outcome of social learning.
Carl Rogers disagreed with Pavlov and Skinner who referred only to objective behaviors and overlooked the subjective interpretation that humans have to stimulus.
According to Rogers, man is not passive, but he is able to choose freely.
Self Actualization- according to Carl Rogers, self actualization is the main motive of the personality (which contains the little motives: hunger, thirst, the need of self-esteem, love and acceptance.)
Roger's main focus was on the process of psychotherapy, and his theory of
personality is an outgrowth of his theory of therapy. In contrast to the
psychoanalytic emphasis on drives, instincts, the unconscious, tension,
reduction, and early character development, the phenomenological theory
approach emphasizes perceptions, feelings, subjective self-report, self-
actualization, and the process of change."- Personality Theory and Research-
(Pervin & Cervone & John, 2005, p. 171)
Humanistic psychology is not new, original, or unique in focusing on the
study of human experience and the human person. It's deep concern with
the human being depends perhaps more on philosophy, religion, literature, and
the whole long and varied history of humanism than on traditional psychology-
(Misiak & Sexton, 1973, p. 108)
"The organism has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism.” (Rogers, 1951, p. 487).
The humanistic approach states that the self is composed of concepts unique to ourselves. The self-concept includes three components:
Self worth- Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and father.
Self-image – How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image includes the influence of our body image on inner personality. At a simple level, we might perceive ourselves as a good or bad person, beautiful or ugly. Self-image has an affect on how a person thinks feels and behaves in the world.
Ideal self – This is the person who we would like to be. It consists of our goals and ambitions in life, and is dynamic – i.e. forever changing. The ideal self in childhood is not the ideal self in our teens or late twenties etc.
(9) The property of a system, either open or closed, that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition.
3.5 Social- Cognitive Approaches
Prominent Theorists: George Kelly10, Albert Bandura11, Lev Vygotsky12
3.5.1 Social-Cognitive13 Learning
Theory- (Albert Bandura)
The social learning theory proposed by Albert Bandura has become perhaps the most influential theory of learning and development. While rooted in many of the basic concepts of traditional learning theory, Bandura believed that direct reinforcement could not account for all types of learning.
Social learning theory or SLT is the theory that people learn new behavior through observational learning of the social factors in their environment. If people observe positive, desired outcomes in the observed behavior, then they are more likely to model, imitate, and adopt the behavior themselves.
Observational learning is a type of learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating novel behavior executed by others. It is argued that reinforcement has the effect of influencing which responses one will partake in, more than it influences the actual acquisition of the new response. Although observational learning can take place at any stage in life, it is thought to be of greater importance during childhood, particularly as authority becomes important. The best role models are those a year or two older for observational learning. Because of this, social learning theory has influenced debates on the effect of television violence and parental role models.
Observational learning, sometimes called modeling or in some instances
vicarious learning, is a type of social learning. In Albert Bandura’s famous
experiment, one group of nursery school children observed an adult punch a
Bobo clown doll, and one group did not. Later, those children who had
observed the punching behavior were more likely to punch the Bobo doll
(model the adult’s punching behavior) when they were frustrated than were
whose who had not observed it. Observational learning occurs also through
exposure to events and people in the media. One may decide, for example, to
copy the clothes or behaviors of television personalities. This tendency is one
reason that many object to excessive violence in television programs both for
children and for adults. (Sonderegger, 1998, p. 67)
(10) An American psychologist, therapist and educator, best known for developing Personal Construct Psychology. George Kelly was perhaps the first cognitive theorist.
(11) A psychologist and the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University.
(12) Was a Soviet psychologist and the founder of cultural-historical psychology.
(13) The act or process of knowing.
The Learning Process
Albert Bandura claimed that obtaining behavior is being conducted in 4 different forms which are very essential to the learning process:
1. Attention- various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid. Includes
distinctiveness, affective valence, prevalence, complexity, functional value. One’s
characteristics (e.g. sensory capacities, arousal level, perceptual set, past reinforcement) affect
2. Retention- remembering what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding,
mental images, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal.
3. Reproduction- reproducing the image. Including physical capabilities, and self-observation of
4. Motivation- having a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as Â past (i.e. traditional
behaviorism), promised (imagined incentives) and vicarious (seeing and recalling the
Self-Efficacy according to Albert Bandura:
According to Albert Bandura self-efficacy is: “The conviction that one can successfully execute the behavior required to produce the outcome” (Bandura, 1977a, p. 193).
Self-efficacy is differentiated between “outcome expectancies” and “efficacy
expectancies” (self-efficacy”), because an individual can believe that a behavior
will produce a certain outcome, but if serious doubts exist about whether s/he can
perform the necessary tasks to carry out the behavior, the behavior may not be attempted.
Health and Pathology According to Bandura
Albert Bandura has mostly laid the stress upon the learned aspects of pathology. He has claimed that sickly behavior is an acquired behavior, and in order to change it one has to focus on the revealed behavior more than on the unconscious internal factors. Therefore, treatment in pathology needs to be focused upon the changing in the thinking and the existing behavior patterns, similar to the combined behavioral-cognitive treatments that exist nowadays. Additionally, self-efficacy has an important component in health and pathology: a low feeling of self-efficacy is related sometimes to disturbances of depressions and anxiety.
Through the increasing of self-efficacy in a pathological treatment, through experiencing successful social experiences and through learning from positive models, patients can develop new social skills and get out of the negative circle.
Psychotherapy according to Bandura:
Albert Bandura considered himself as a psychotherapist and a researcher. He believed in research, and claimed that a clinical psychologist who has a professional responsibility needs to have proven professional knowledge.
Therefore, the treating techniques that he used mainly consisted of the scientific research that he implemented.
The effectiveness of counseling and psychotherapy, according to Bandura, determined primarily by the possibility of forming a conscious individual self-efficacy raising self-efficacy contributes getting rid of specific and irrational fears and phobias (such as: fear snakes, injections, fear of examinations), deliverance from addictions (smoking, alcohol, drugs), helps stabilize and strengthen the psychophysical building individual, lifestyle changes, create a positive life installation as a whole.
3.5.2 Lev Vygotsky Social-Cognition Theory
Radha Mohan (2007) elaborated some of the principles of Lev Vygotsky’s Social- Cognition Theory:
The social cognition learning model asserts that cultural is the prime determinant
of individual development. Therefore, a child’s leaning development is affected
in ways by the culture, including the culture of family environment, which he or
she is brought up in. In a country like India, with its cultural diversity, the social
cognition model will definitely have a bearing on the learning taking place in a
classroom. Every science teacher needs to keep in mind the cultural milieu of the
school in which he or she teaches. In the social cognition learning model, culture
teaches children both what to think and how to think. It is through culture that
children acquire much of the content of their thinking, i.e. their knowledge.
Second, the surrounding culture provides a child with the processes or means of
their thinking, the tools of intellectual adaptation. Cognitive development results
when a child learns through problem- solving experiences shared usually with a
parent or a teacher, but sometimes, a sibling or peer. Slowly the locus of control
of learning is transferred from the parent to the child. As learning develops, the
child’s own language comes to serve as the primary intellectual tool which
eventually directs behavior. Internalization refers to the process of learning using
language, and thereby internalizing, a rich body of knowledge and tools of thought
that first exist outside the child. Vygotsky referred to the difference between what
children can do on their own and what they can do with the help of adults or peer
as the zone of proximal development. (Mohan, 2007, p. 27)
3.5.3 George Kelly’s Personal Construct Psychology
Personal construct psychology is a constructivist system of psychology developed by George Kelly and expounded in his two-volume work: Principles of Personal Construct Psychology.
The Personal Construct Psychology is known as such, rather than as a “theory”, because it is the only approach in psychology which was developed from the start as a complete psychology, explicit about its assumptions and theoretical base. Although often treated as a cognitive approach alongside others and seeming a little too rational in some respects, it claims to go beyond the distinction between cognition, emotion and conation (“will”) found in all other psychologies.
George Kelly's assessment in the cognitive approach- "his primary technique was a straightforward interview. "If you don't know what is going on in a person's mind, Kelly said, "ask him he may tell you". (Kelly , 1958, p. 330)-
Constructs are bipolar categories that people can use to understand the world. People then behave according to how they construe the world around themselves. All constructs are not used in every situation because they have a limited range. People are continually revising and updating their own constructs. Personal Construct Psychology is an entire psychological system that has been used in management studies, knowledge modeling in artificial intelligence, and a wide range of other disciplines. This system has a fundamental postulate and eleven corollaries.
George Kelly’s writings describe in detail his criticisms of the previously popular personality theories. He wrote that Freud's theory was not only unbelievable but went as far as to call it 'nonsense.' He referred to behavioral theory as a bunch of confusing arrows, R's and S's.
In contrast to these theories, Kelly saw individual differences as a result of how we interpret and predict the events that affect us. He called these personal constructs, referring to our individual way of gathering information from the world and developing hypotheses based on these interpretations. Much like the scientist who develops hypotheses and then performs tests to determine the efficacy of the initial thought, so to do individuals develop ideas about relationships and test their ideas. Based on our results, right or not, we develop a way of interacting with the world. This way of interacting is our personality.
3.6 Trait Theory of personality
Carl Jung14, Gordon Allport, Hans Eysneck15 , Lewis Goldberg16 ,Raymond Cattell17
Trait theory is a major approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. According to this perspective, traits are relatively stable over time, differ among individuals and influence behavior.
The approach to personality that has most strongly influenced efforts to study it is
trait theory, based on the psychometric approach that guided the development of
intelligence tests. According to trait theorists, personality is a set of trait
dimensions or continua along which people can differ (for example, sociable-
unsociable, responsible- irresponsible)…Trait theorists assume that personality
traits are relatively enduring: Like psychoanalytic theorists, they expect to see
carryover in personality over the years. Unlike the psychoanalytic theorists,
however, they do not believe that the personality unfolds in a series of stages.
(Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 310)
3.6.1 Big Five Personality Traits Model by Lewis Goldberg
In contemporary psychology, the "Big Five" factors (or Five Factor Model; FFM) of personality are five broad domains or dimensions of personality which are used to describe human personality.
The Big five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (OCEAN, or CANOE if rearranged). The neuroticism factor is sometimes referred to as "emotional stability". Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the openness factor, which is sometimes called "intellect". Each factor consists of a cluster of more specific traits that correlate together. For example, extraversion includes such related qualities as gregariousness, assertiveness, excitement seeking, warmth, activity and positive emotions.
The Five Factor Model is a purely descriptive model of personality, but psychologists have developed a number of theories to account for the Big Five.
(14) A Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology.
(15) A British psychologist of German origin.
(16) An American personality Psychologist.
(17) A British and American psychologist known for his exploration of many areas in psychology.
(18) Distinguishing characteristic or quality of a person- (Theories of Personalities, Fourth Edition, Duane Schultz- page 223).
The Five Traits:
“The extent to which one is more social and outgoing (extraverted) or more aloof, retiring, reserved, and introspective (introverted). Similar to Jung’s definition. One of the big five personality traits, and one of Eysenck’s three super-traits.” (Ewen, 2003, p. 302)
“Agreeableness refers to a person’s ability to get along with others. Agreeableness causes some people to be gentle, cooperative, forgiving understanding, and good natured in their dealings with others.” (Griffin, 2007, p. 263)
“Consciousness refers to the number of goals on which a person focuses. People who focus on relatively few goals at one time are likely to be organized, Systematic, careful, thorough, responsible, and self-disciplined” (Griffin, 2007, p. 263).
“The extent to which one is nervous and insecure (emotionally unstable), as opposed to calm and secure (emotionally stable). One of the big personality traits, and one of Eysenck’s three super-traits.” (Ewen, 2003 , p. 302)
“The extent to which one is creative and nonconformist (more open) or conventional and down-to-earth (less open). One of the big five personality traits.” (Ewen, 2003 , p.302).
Gordon Allport is a psychologist who believed in the trait theory. He distinguished between the following aspects:
A. Common characteristics- characteristic dimensions by which men can be compared.
B. Personality traits- The unique array of human attributes. He divided the personal tendencies into traits into more influential and less influential traits:
Cardinal Traits- traits that dominate an individual’s whole life, often to the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits.
Central Traits- These are the general characteristics that form the basic foundations of personality. These central traits, while not as dominating as cardinal traits, are the major characteristics you might use to describe another person. Terms such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are considered central traits
Secondary traits- These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. Some examples would be getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while waiting in line.
Allport summarized the characteristics of traits as follows:
Personality traits are real. They are not just theoretical constructs or labels conjured up to account for or explain certain behaviors. They exist inside each person.
Traits determine or cause behavior, guiding it's course
Traits can be demonstrated empirically19
Traits are not rigidly separated from one another- only relatively so.
Traits are vary with the situation
Gordon Allport defined traits as predispositions to respond, in the same or similar manner, to different kind of stimuli. If so, traits are enduring ways of reaction to the stimulus aspects of the environment surrounding us.
Cattell’s sixteen personality factor Model
Raymond Cattell’s Research propagated a two-tiered personality structure with sixteen "primary factors" (16 Personality Factors) and five "secondary factors."
A list of primary factors by Cattell
4. Emotional Stability
8. Social boldness
14. Openness to Change
(19) Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.
3.7 The Bio-Psychological Theory
Avicenna20, William James21, Claude Bernard22, Charles Bell23, William Harvey24
Bio-Psychology25- Behavioral neuroscience26
Is the application of the principles of biology (in particular neurobiology), to the study of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in human and non-human animals. It typically investigates at the level of nerves, neurotransmitters, brain circuitry and the basic biological processes that underlie normal and abnormal behavior. Most typically experiments in behavioral neuroscience involve non-human
animal models (such as rats and mice, and non-human primates) which have
implications for better understanding of human pathology and therefore contribute to evidence based practice.
Bio-Psychology, Behaviors typically are influenced by many genes – "most behavior, of course, is not determined by single genes or single chromosomes, rather, it is affected by many genes. Such behaviors are said to be polygenically determined. In polygenic system, many genes influence the expression of a trait, each single gene having only a small and cumulative effect." (Groves & Rebec, 1988, p.44)
"Many methods have been used to study behaviors that are polygenically determined, of which the most common methods in behavioral genetics are inbred strain comparison studies and selective breeding experiments." (Groves & Rebec, 1988, p.44)
Avicenna- The works of Avicenna, the medieval Persian physician, was one of the first to recognize the connection between psychology and physiology.
(20) A polymath of Persian origin and the foremost physician and philosopher of his time. He was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, Hafiz, Islamic psychologist, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, Maktab teacher, physicist , poet, and scientist.
(21) A pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a medical doctor.
(22) A French physiologist. Historian of science I. Bernard Cohen of Harvard University called Bernard "one of the greatest of all men of science"
(23) A Scottish anatomist, neurologist, surgeon and natural theologian.
(24) An English physician
The term bio-psychology is just one of many names given to that area of science which studies the relationship between biology and behavior…in practice, the study of biology and behavior concentrates on the brain and the nervous system.." – (principles of bio-psychology-Simon Green, p. 1)
(26) The scientific study of the nervous system.
3.8 Type of Personality Theories – (Typology)
Typology is the division of the human species by races. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropologists used a typological model to divide people from different ethnic regions into races. This approach focused on traits that are readily observable from a distance such as head shape, skin color, hair form, body build, and stature. The typological model was built on the assumption that humans can be assigned to a race based on similar physical traits. However, author Dennis O'Neil says the typological model in anthropology is now thoroughly discredited. Current mainstream thinking is that the morphological traits are due to simple variations in specific regions, and are the effect of climatic selective pressures. Claims that typological models are scientific are often criticized as anecdotal and unsupported by credible scientific evidence. This debate is covered in more detail in the article on race.
Extraversion and Introversion:
The trait of extroversion-introversion is a central dimension of human personality.
– "Extraversion means an outward-turning of the libido"- …everyone in the state of extraversion thinks, feels, and acts in relation to the object, and moreover in a direct and clearly observable fashion, so that no doubt ca exist his positive dependence towards the object"- (Sahakian, 1977, p. 71)
– "Introversion means a turning in wards of the subject to object is expressed. Interest doesn't move towards the object, but recedes towards the object"- (Sahakian, 1977, pp. 71-72)
Carl Jung proposed four main functions of consciousness:
Two perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition
Two judging functions: Thinking and Feeling
The functions are modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. Jung theorized that the dominant function characterizes consciousness, while its opposite is repressed and characterizes unconscious behavior.
The eight psychological types by Carl Jung
1. Extraverted Thinking- “Involves a process of putting order on the outer world according to either the principles inherent in what is being organized or (like color, size or shape) or some conventional order that is agreed upon (like alphabetizing or numbering).” (Berens, 2000 , p. 22)
2. Introverted Thinking- “Introverted thinking (coded as T) involves a process of directing your attention inward to the categories and principles that can help you figure out what is going on or to classify something analyzing, checking consistency, defining, and matching- all involve introverted thinking.” (Berens, 2000 , p. 23).
3. Extraverted Feeling- “Extraverted feeling…involves a process of arranging the external world according to interpersonal importance. We use this process when we consider what is important to other and what is appropriate to a situation.” (Berens, 2000, p. 24)
4. Introverted Feeling- “Introverted feeling involves a process of deciding and evaluating according to importance.” (Berens, 2000, p. 25)
5. Extraverted Sensation- “Extraverted sensation is preeminently oriented to objective reality. As a way of perceiving through the physical senses, the sensation function, whether introverted or extraverted, is naturally dependent on objects.” (Sharp, 1987, p. 54).
“The ideal of extraverted sensation types is to be well adjusted to reality, things as they are- as they see and experience them.” (Sharp, 1987, p. 56)
6. Introverted Sensation- “In the introverted attitude, sensation is based predominantly on the subjective component of perception. Although its very nature makes it dependent on objective stimuli, the sensed object takes second place to the sensing subject.” (Sharp, 1987 , p. 79)
7. Extraverted Intuition- “When the intuiting process is directed outward, it is called extraverted intuiting…Extraverted intuiting involves seeing things “as if”, with various possible ways of representing reality… Extraverted intuition involves realizing that there is always another view” (Berens, 2000, p. 20)
8. Introverted Intuition- “As an irrational perception function, intuition in introversion is oriented toward the perception of possibilities (especially as regards the future), derived from the material of the unconscious, insofar as it lies behind actual reality.” (Meier, 1995, p. 49).
3.9 The Behavioral Approach
(B.F Skinner27, John.B Watson28, Ivan Pavlov29)
Behaviorism is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do including acting, thinking and feeling can and should be regarded as behaviors.
"Behaviors emitted spontaneously or voluntarily that operate on the environment and thus change it" – (Schultz, 2008, p. 415)
Behaviorism has been a controversial topic. Some objections arise from Correct
understanding, but misconceptions about behaviorism abound. The three
chapters in this part aim to clarify what might be called the “philosophical
stance” of behaviorism. All that is genuinely controversial about behaviorism
stems from its primary idea, that a science of behavior is possible. (Baum, 1994,
In the second half of the twentieth century, behaviorism was largely eclipsed as a result of the cognitive revolution.
Learning is indeed a key factor in the behavioral approach. According to the approach, there are 2 main learning processes, through which the abnormal behavior is acquired too. The one process is
the classic conditioning which elaborates and explains “what goes with what” and the second
(27) Was an American psychologist, author, inventor, social philosopher and poet.
(28) An American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism.
(29) A Russian physiologist, psychologist, and physician.
process is the instrumental learning (operant) by which one can learn what should he do in order to accomplish his desire and what shouldn’t be done in order to accomplish what we don’t desire.
B.F Skinner’s Theory- Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning is the use of a behavior's antecedent and/or its consequence to influence the occurrence and form of behavior. Operant conditioning is distinguished from classical conditioning (also called respondent conditioning) in that operant conditioning deals with the modification of "voluntary behavior" or operant behavior. Operant behavior "operates" on the environment and is maintained by its consequences, while classical conditioning deals with the conditioning of reflexive (reflex) behaviors which are elicited by antecedent conditions. Behaviors conditioned via a classical conditioning procedure are not maintained by consequences.
"Skinner rejects all attempts to theorize about personality: "you can't get results by sitting around and theorizing about the inner world…I want to sat to those people: get down to the facts" – )Schultz, 1990, p. 408(
The principle of operant conditioning, another form of associative learning,
are among the most powerful tools in psychology…operant conditioning
explains much day to day behavior and can be used to alter the behavior of
pets, children, other adults, and your own behavior, too. (Coon & Mitterer,
2008, p. 10)
The behavioral approach to assessment emphasizes three things: (1)
identification of specific behaviors, often called target behaviors or target
responses; (2) identification of specific environment factors that elicit, cue, or
reinforce the target behaviors; (3) identification of specific environmental
factors that can be manipulated to alter the behavior.- (Pervin & John, 1997,
Ivan Pavlov’s theory- Classic Conditioning
Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian or respondent conditioning, Pavlovian reinforcement) is a form of associative learning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov (1927). The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral stimulus along with a stimulus of some significance. The neutral stimulus could be any event that does not result in an overt behavioral response from the organism under investigation. Pavlov referred to this as a conditioned stimulus (CS). Conversely, presentation of the significant stimulus necessarily evokes an innate, often reflexive, response. Pavlov called these theunconditioned stimulus (US) and unconditioned response (UR), respectively. If the CS and the US are repeatedly paired, eventually the two stimuli become associated and the organism begins to produce a behavioral response to the CS. Pavlov called this the conditioned response (CR).
The three main assumptions of the behavioral approach
All organisms, including humans, are designed by the environment. Due to the fact that we learn about our future through the association that the past stimulates in us, we are submitted to the will of methods of strengthening and punishment.
All organisms are actually researchers who empirically study their environment. Accordingly, we can study which environmental aspects caused a specific behavior.
The thought is that if we find the essential aspect of a specific behavior and then change it, the behavior will change as well, and accordingly, if the essential aspect will be returned, the behavior will return as well.
Using the experimentalism will help us to generally understand the reasons that make people behave as they do and to implement it in more specific cases.
The belief that humans can change through environmental changes is essentially optimistic.
4. Assessment Tests in Personality Psychology
Personality Tests- Psychological Assessment30
Personality Tests aim to describe aspects of a person's character that remain stable throughout that person's lifetime, the individual's character pattern of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
Personality Testing- Psychologists use personality tests for four different
1. to aid in the diagnosis of psychological disorders,
2. to counsel people,
3. to select employees,
4. to conduct research.
(Leal, 2004 , p.50)
The behavioral assessment is known as functional analysis and it usually involves
three aspects of behavior: (1) the frequency of the behavior, (2) the situation in
which the behavior occurs, and (3) the reinforcements associated with the
behavior- (Schultz, 1990, p. 430)
There are many different types of personality tests. Common personality tests consist of a large number of items, in which respondents must rate the applicability of each item to themselves. Projective tests, such as the TAT and Ink Blots are another form of personality test which attempt to assess personality indirectly.
If so, the two types of tests that are used to assess personality are projective and objective tests. Projective tests involve questions that are open-ended and relatively unstructured which allows the person being tested to have more freedom to respond appropriately.
Objective tests are very different from projective tests. These tests are very structured questionnaires involving multiple choice and true or false questions. These tests are scored in a basic manner based on the assumption that people generally agree on the scores. Projective tests tend to have lower validity and reliability than objective tests.
Two types of personality tests
1. Objective Tests- rating scales or self-report measure.
2. Projective Tests- free response measure.
"When the subject is asked to guess what the examiner is thinking, we call it an objective test; when the examiner tries to guess what the subject is thinking, we call it a projective device."- (Kelly, 1958, p.19)
Behavioral observations. Most people use behavioral observations to form impressions of others. Such observations are also an important part of clinical assessments by clinical psychologists and other professionals.
(30) "To assess something means to evaluate it. The assessment of personality is one of the major areas of the application of psychology to real-concerns."- )Theories of Personality- Third Edition- Duane Schults p.9(
"The best techniques of personality assessment satisfy three requirements: standardization, reliability, and validity."- (Schultz, 1986, p.10)
Standardization in Personality Tests
It can be defined in simple words as the process of formulating, issuing and implementing standards.
How much Standardization is important in testing process?
The standardization provides steadiness and objectivity of how tests are managed and scored. When comparing people to each other during the test, it’s very essential that they must take the test under the same situation and the same scoring course of action is applied to both.
Validity in Personality Tests
Validity is the most important consideration in developing and evaluating
measuring instruments. Validity was defined as the extent to which an instrument
measured what it claimed to measure. The focus of recent views of validity is not
on the instrument itself but on the interpretation and meaning of the scores
derived from the instrument. (Ary & Jacobs & Razavieh & Sorensen, 2009 ,p.
Reliability in Personality Tests: Reliability refers to the consistency of a measure. A test is considered reliable if we get the same result repeatedly. For example, if a test is designed to measure a trait then each time the test is administered to a subject, the results should be approximately the same. Unfortunately, it is impossible to calculate reliability exactly, but there several different ways to estimate reliability.
Personality Tests: any of a variety of testing procedures for measuring psychological traits and behavior, or for studying some specialized aspect of ability. Several forms of testing have arisen from the need to understand personality and its relationship to psychological disorders.
Personality tests attempt to measure your basic personality style and are most used in research or forensic settings to help with clinical diagnoses.
Personality assessment techniques: "In the practice of psychology today, the major approaches to measuring personality are self-report inventories, projective techniques and various questionnaire, interview, and observational techniques." – (Schultz, 1986, p.10)
Psychological and Personality Assessments are used by many small employers, Fortune 100 or even Fortune 500 companies. These companies have instilled these tests in their company policies with all new hires or promotional employees. These assessments are used to help all human resources personnel in the decision of hiring or promoting employees. These tests are used as tools to improve personal image, promote or hire compatible employees that will put the company into a more positive direction. Employers feel that by using and implementing these assessments they help with building good employee teams and to allow different types of personalities to work together no matter what his or her position level many be with the company. There are also many employers that feel that by using these assessments a more positive employee or new hire will be ignored because of the results of these tests. There are many reported cases where employees or their representatives have taken companies to court or even through the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because they felt that these tests were used incorrectly and therefore overlooked for a promotion or even a hired position.
Psychological Personality Assessments Used in the Workplace. In today's world many employers have elected to implement as part of their company's policy the use of Psychological or Personality Assessment tests. It is my assessment that these tests should not discriminate against new hires or promotional employees. The tests are used among small business companies all the way to Fortune 100 or even the larger Fortune 500 companies. All upper management and human resources personnel feel that these tests are important in helping them make what they consider to be the right decision with the prospective employee.
"Formal programs of behavior modification use three approaches to assess behavior: direct observation, self-report, and physiological measurements."- (Schultz, 1986, p. 430)
4.1. Projective Tests- Free Response Measures.
Projective test is a personality test designed to let a person respond to ambiguous stimuli, presumably revealing hidden emotions and internal conflicts.
According to Leal (2004) Projective tests are personality tests that present an ambiguous stimulus that subjects are asked to describe or explain. The assumption is that people respond by projecting their own inner thoughts, feelings, fears, or conflicts into the test materials. Projective tests are designed to elicit unconscious conflicts and feelings and are sometimes referred to as psychoanalytic tests. (Leal, 2004, p.52)
"These tests deal with material that is usually unstructured or ambiguous, supposedly permitting S to project his own wishes, desires and needs into the unstructured stimulus."- (Zubin & Eron & Schumer, 1965, p.14)
The general theoretical position behind projective tests is that whenever a specific question is asked, the response will be consciously-formulated and socially determined. These responses do not reflect the respondent's unconscious or implicit attitudes or motivations. The respondent's deep-seated motivations may not be consciously recognized by the respondent or the respondent may not be able to verbally express them in the form demanded by the questioner.
Few notes regarding projective tests
Projective tests are considered to be a very common method to assess personality.
Projective tests are being examined by people’s reactions to dim stimulus.
Projective tests are based on the assumption that people project instincts, fears, wishes and thoughts on dim stimulus.
Projective tests are anchored in psychoanalytic theory, according to which, the unconscious factors execute a decisive role in human’s behavior.
Projective techniques are not high in reliability and validity, partly because their interpretation is such a subjective process."- (Schultz, 1986, p.12)
“Methods of personality assessment that were to become known as projective techniques developed gradually over a long period of time.” – (Rabin, 1968, p. 3)
Examples of Projective Tests
1. Rorschach Test
2. The Holtzman Inkblot Test
3. TAT- Thematic Apperception Test
4. CAT- Child Apperception Test
5. SAT- Senior Apperception Test
6. HTP- House-Tree-Person Tests
7. DAP- Draw a Person Test
8. Sentence Completion Test
9. Robert’s Apperception Test
"The projective techniques have "long past but a short history"- (Rabin, 1968, p.3)
"Verbal methods such as words association or sentence completion are projective techniques."- (Schultz, 1986, p.14)
"The theory behind the projective technique is that when a person is presented with an ambiguous stimulus, such as an inkblot or a picture that can be interpreted in more than one way, he or she will project personal needs, fears, and values onto that stimulus when asked to describe it."- (Schultz, 1986, p.12)
4.2 Projective Tests- in Details
1. Rorschach Test
a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex scientifically derived algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning. It has been employed to detect an underlying thought disorder, especially in cases where patients are reluctant to describe their thinking processes openly. The test is named after its creator, Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach.
“This test consists of ten inkblots- half in black and white and half in color- that subjects are asked to describe. The examiner then goes through the cards again and asks questions to clarify what the subject has reported.” (Leal, 2004, p. 52)
2. Holtzman Inkblot Test
A projective personality test similar to the Rorschach test. The Holtzman Inkblot Test was invented to correct many, if not all, of the controversial issues aroused by the Rorschach Inkblot Test.
The test consists of two alternate forms of forty-five inkblots, originally drawn from a pool of several thousand. Scoring is based on twenty-two items: reaction time, rejection, location, space, form definiteness, form appropriateness, color, shading, movement, pathognomonic verbalization, integration, content (human, animal, anatomy, sexual, or abstract), anxiety, hostility, barrier, penetration, balance, and popularity.
The Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT, is a projective psychological test. Historically, it has been among the most widely researched, taught, and used of such tests. Its adherents assert that the TAT taps a subject's unconscious to reveal repressed aspects of personality, motives and needs for achievement, power and intimacy, and problem-solving abilities.
TAT- In 1935 the Rorschach was joined by a native son- the Thematic Apperception Test (Morgan & Murray, 1935). This method, according to authors "is based upon the well-recognized fact that when a person interprets an ambiguous social situation he is apt to expose his own personality. (Rabin, 1968, p.7)
According to Leal (2004) The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a projective test that was developed by Henry Murray and his colleagues in 1935. The TAT consists of one blank card and nineteen other cards showing vague or ambiguous black-and-white drawings of human figures in various situations. (Leal, 2004, p. 54).
4. CAT- Child Apperception Test
The Children’s Apperception Test (CAT-A) is a projective method of describing personality by studying individual differences in the responses made to stimuli presented in the form of pictures of animals in selected settings. The 10 items consist of 10 scenes showing a variety of animal figures, mostly in unmistakably human social settings. The use of animal rather than human figures was based on the assumption that children of these ages would identify more readily with appealing drawings of animals than with drawings of humans. The author discusses interpretation on the basis of psychoanalytic themes, but there is no compelling reason that Children’s Apperception Test protocols could not be interpreted from other theoretical frameworks.
5. SAT- is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still administers the exam. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college. It was first introduced in 1901, and its name and scoring have changed several times.
6. HTP- The house-tree-person test (HTP) is a projective personality test a type of exam in which the test taker responds to or provides ambiguous, abstract, or unstructured stimuli (often in the form of pictures or drawings). In the HTP, the test taker is asked to draw houses, trees, and persons, and these drawings provide a measure of self-perceptions and attitudes. As with other projective tests, it has flexible and subjective administration and interpretation.
7. DAP- The Draw-A-Person Test is a psychological projective personality or cognitive test used to evaluate children and adolescents for a variety of purposes.
8. Sentence Completion Test- Sentence completion tests are a class of semi-structured projective techniques. Sentence Completion Tests typically provide respondents with beginnings of sentences referred to as “stems,” and respondents then complete the sentences in ways that are meaningful to them. The responses are believed to provide indications of attitudes, beliefs, motivations, or other mental states. There is debate over whether or not sentence completion tests elicit responses from conscious thought rather than unconscious states. This debate would affect whether sentence completion tests can be strictly categorized as projective tests.
In this test, the stimulus is verbal and not visual (like in Rorschach and TAT).
The examinee receives beginnings of sentences and he is being asked to complete them quickly and spontaneously. For instance:
It makes me angry that…
If only could I do as I wish…
The analysis of the exam is based on the content of the sentences completed by the examinees.
9. RATC- The Children Apperception Test (CAT) is a projective personality measure for children aged 3-10 years. It is used to measure personality traits, and attitudes.
"Two widely used projective techniques are the Rorscharch Inkblot Test and the Thematic Apperception Test." (Schults, 1986, p.12)
Projective Techniques- "Some assumptions of projective techniques. One basic assumption which projective techniques have in common with psychology is that response to stimulation is determined and predictable and not accidental." (Zubin & Eron & Schumer, 1965, p. 12)
4.3 Objective Tests
Objective tests (Rating scale or self-report measure)
Objective tests have a restricted response format, such as allowing for true or false answers or rating using an ordinal scale. Prominent examples of objective personality tests include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III, Child Behavior Checklist, Symptom Checklist 90 and the Beck Depression Inventory. Objective personality tests can be designed for use in business for potential employees, such as the NEO-PI, the 16PF, and the OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire), all of which are based on the Big Five taxonomy. The Big Five, or Five Factor Model of normal personality, has gained acceptance since the early 1990s when some influential meta-analyses (e.g., Barrick & Mount 1991) found consistent relationships between the Big Five personality factors and important criterion variables.
Another personality test based upon the Five Factor Model is the Five Factor Personality Inventory – Children (FFPI-C.)
"A more objective techniques involves the observation of behavior. One example is the personality inventory for children, consisting of 600 items to be answered "true" or "false" (Wirt & Lachar, 1981).- (Schultz, 1986, p.14)
4.3.1 Self-Report Inventories31
A self-report inventory is a type of psychological test in which a person fills out a survey or questionnaire with or without the help of an investigator. Self-report inventories often ask direct questions about symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits associated with one or many mental disorders or personality types in order to easily gain insight into a patient's personality or illness. Most self-report inventories can be taken or administered within five to 15 minutes, although some, like the MMPI, can take up to three hours to fully complete.
Self-report inventories instruct people to answer questions about themselves-
about their characteristic behavior, beliefs, and feelings. The most widely used
self-report inventory is the MMPI or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
Inventory. The MMPI was recently revised and is now known as the MMPI-2.
(Leal, 2004 , p. 50)
"Two frequently used self-report inventories are Minnesota Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the California Psychology Inventory (CPI)." (Schultz, 1986, p.11)
(31) "The self-report inventory approach involves asking people to report on themselves by answering questions about their behavior and feelings in a variety of situations." – (Theories Of Personality- Third Edition- Duane Schults p.10)
4.3.2 Types of Objective Tests
1. MMPI- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory- The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is one of the most frequently used personality tests in mental health. The test is used by trained professionals to assist in identifying personality structure and psycho-pathology.
"…the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) has become the most used objective test of personality and, in recent years, probably the most used personality test, surpassing even the traditional leader, the Rorschach Inkblot Method." (Golden, 1990, pp. 79-80).
"The original purpose of the MMPI was to help establish psychiatric diagnosis at a time when there was a belief that the psychiatric nomenclature was as useful as the medical diagnostic nomenclature that has proven so useful in the treatment of physical disease."- (Golden, 1990, p.80)
2. MCMI-III- The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) is a psychological assessment tool intended to provide information on psychopathology, including specific disorders outlined in the DSM-IV. It is intended for adults (18 and over) with at least an 8th grade reading level.
3. CBCL= The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) is a widely-used method of identifying problem behavior in children. It is a component in the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment. This questionnaire is designated for parents.
4. SCL-90-R= The Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) is a relatively brief self-report psychometric instrument (questionnaire) published by Pearson Assessments. It is designed to evaluate a broad range of psychological problems and symptoms of psychopathology. It is also useful in measuring the progress and outcome of psychiatric and psychological treatments or for research purposes.
5. BDI, BDI-II= he Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, BDI-II), created by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is a 21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory, one of the most widely used instruments for measuring the severity of depression. Its development marked a shift among health care professionals, who had until then viewed depression from a psychodynamic perspective, instead of it being rooted in the patient's own thoughts.
6. PF16 – The 16 PF questionnaire – The 16 Personality Factors, measured by the 16PF Questionnaire, were multi-variately-derived by psychologist Raymond Cattell.
The purpose of the 16pf is to delineate the major personality factors in such a way
as to allow the clinician to form a broad picture of the individual's personality
functioning. It does not seek to recognize severe pathology or specific diagnostic
entities, but rather concentrates on deviations in the personality characteristic of
the normal individual. It allows for more extensive evaluation of the tendencies in
an individual classified as normal, enabling the clinician to gain a more effective
picture of the client's weakness and strengths, even in the absence of pathology of
any kind. (Golden, 1990, p.142).
7. OPQ or OPQ3= The Occupational Personality Questionnaires, OPQ or OPQ32, are widely-used occupational personality questionnaires. The authors were Saville et al., including Roger Holdsworth, Gill Nyfield, Lisa Cramp and Bill Mabey, and they were launched by Saville and Holdsworth Ltd. in 1984. The series included the first commercially-available Big Five instrument.
OPQ32 provides an indication of an individual’s preferred behavioral style at work; to help employers gauge how a candidate will fit into certain work environments, how they will work with other people and how they will cope with different job requirements. It is now available in more than 30 languages and uses innovative Item Response theory to shorten the questionnaire down to under 30 minutes.
8. FFPI-C- The Five Factor Personality Inventory – Children (FFPI-C) was developed to measure personality traits in children based upon the Five Factor Model (Big Five personality traits)
9. NEO PI-R- the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) is a highly-regarded assessment of personality. Based on the Five-Factor model, the NEO PI-R measures the interpersonal, motivational, emotional, and attitudinal styles of adults and adolescents. It consists of 240 personality items and 3 validity items, and is available in two forms. Form-S is designed for self-reports and Form-R is written in the third person for observer reports.
10. PAI- The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) provides information relevant for clinical diagnosis, treatment planning and screening for psychopathology. The PAI covers constructs most relevant to a broad-based assessment of mental disorders.
11. WRAT- Wide Range Achievement Test is an achievement test which measures an individual's ability to read words, comprehend sentences, spell, and compute solutions to math problems. The test currently is in its fourth revision.
12. MBTI- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.
13. MDI- Major Depression Inventory is a self-report mood questionnaire
developed by the World Health Organization.
14. GDS- The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a 30-item self- report
assessment used to identify depression in the elderly.
15. CPI – The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) is a self-report inventory created by Harrison Gough and currently published by Consulting Psychologists Press.
This questionnaire is considered to be long and contains 341 items with: true/false answers.
16. BHS- The Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) is a 20-item self-report inventory developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck that was designed to measure three major aspects of hopelessness; feelings about the future, loss of motivation, and expectations. The test is designed for adults, age 17-80.
17. BDI+BDI-II- he Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, BDI-II), created by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is a 21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory, one of the most widely used instruments for measuring the severity of depression.
18. BAI- The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), created by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is a 21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory that is used for measuring the severity of an individual's anxiety.
19. EPPS- Another well-established objective self-report personality test is the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS: Edwards, 1954, 1959). The EPPS contains 210 forced-choice pairs of items assessing 15 separate personality dimensions expressed as need preferences in such domains as achievement, autonomy, affiliation, dominance, endurance, heterosexuality, and aggression, to name a few. (Bernardo & Carducci, 2009, p. 49)
20. Content Validity
Assessment of both behavioral and cognitive variables is important in
the social-learning approach, and self-report techniques are used widely
for the assessment of cognitive variables. The primary purpose of all
these assessment devices is the functional analysis of behavior and the
relevant cognitive variables.- )Schultz, 1990, p.466(
"The person is, in a sense, observing his or her own behavior and reporting on it to the examiner." – (Schultz, 1990, p. 431)
21. The Semantic Differential
Semantic differential is a type of a rating scale designed to measure the connotative meaning of objects, events, and concepts. The connotations are used to derive the attitude towards the given object, event or concept.
The semantic differential is today one of the most widely used scales used in the measurement of attitudes. One of the reasons is the versatility of the items. The bipolar adjective pairs can be used for a wide variety of subjects, and as such the scale is nicknamed "the ever ready battery" of the attitude researcher.
Human’s personalities differ in many aspects which have been studied for many years. Its sophistications, complication and depth have amazed and occupied some of the brightest minds in the last century.
Many approaches and theories have revolved dealing with the variety of the personality’s dimensions and stratums.
The sublime purpose is to understand humanity and thus, to contribute to the world.
One of the tools, professionals have used to assess humanity are ‘personality tests’.
Personality tests take widely different forms- questionnaires, inkblots, stories,
drawings, dolls- but all make the same promise: to reduce our complicated,
contradictory, changeable selves to a tidy label. These tests claim to measure not
what we know, but what we’re like; not what we can do, but who we are.
Today, personality tests are a startlingly ubiquitous part of American life, from the
thousands of quizzes popping up online, to the personality types assigned in
seminars and workshops, to the honesty tests and personality screens routinely
required of job applications. (Paul, 2005, p. xi)
If so, this paper has covered the main personality approaches known in the field of psychology, and also the main personality tests implemented by those who have interest in assessing human personalities.
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