In order to assess personality, several tests have been constructed that can broadly be divided into two basic types: self-report inventories and projective tests. Self-report inventories involve having the test-taker read several items and rate how well this item or statement applies to them. Self-report inventories are widely used as they can be standardized and used to establish norms. They are also relatively easier to administer and have higher reliability and validity than projective techniques. So, in this article, we will discuss some of the significant techniques.
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Developed by Stuart Hathaway and Charley McKinley, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a popular self-reporting personality test. It was originally developed as an instrument that could objectively assess the different psychiatric conditions and their severity. The original test consisted of 567 true or false items, and it has undergone multiple revisions to remove the biasness based on race and gender and improve its accuracy. The clinical scales of MMPI include hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviate, masculinity/femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion, which have been summarized in the table given below.
|Scale||Scale Name Abbreviation||Standard Interpretation of an Elevated Score|
|1. Hs||Hypochondriasis||Excessive preoccupation with the body and physical symptoms|
|2. D||Depression||Sadness, discomfort, and dissatisfaction with life|
|3. Hy||Hysteria||Feeling overwhelmed by stress|
|4. Pd||Psychopathic Deviance||Rebellion, difficulty adhering to standards of society|
|5. Mf||Masculinity-femininity||Lack of stereotypic masculine interests (in men-high scores are rate among women)|
|6. Pa||Paranoia||Excessive sensitivity, hostility, suspiciousness (very high scores indicate psychotic behavior)|
|7. Pt||Psychasthenia||Anxiety, tension, worry. Obsessive-compulsive disorder tends to score high|
|8. Sc||Schizophrenia||Confusion, disorganization unusual thought processes|
|9. Ma||Hypomania||High energy and agitation, over activity, unrealistic sefl-appraisal. Mania|
|10. Si||Social Introversion||Shy, insecure, timid, introverted|
Source − A. (2017, September 27). Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) in Popular Psychology - IResearchNet. Psychology.
The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) is the briefest and most popular inventory among all the personality inventories. It was devised by two psychologists Hans Jürgen Eysenck and Sybil B. G. Eysenck. The EPQ-R can be used in various fields, including human resources, career counseling, clinical settings, and research.
The typical extrovert is sociable, impulsive, carefree, easy-going, optimistic, and craves excitement, unlike a typical introvert who is quiet and retiring. A typical stable person is even-tempered, calm, lively, responsive, and has leadership qualities. An unstable person is anxious, moody, touchy, restless, and aggressive.
The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) is a comprehensive assessment based on these 16 personality factors to measure normal range personality. It follows a forced-choice question where the respondent must choose one of three alternatives most suitable to them.
The 16PF questionnaire, unlike more personality tests, does not explicitly ask the respondent about their personality traits but rather asks about the respondent's reactions to certain situations. The administration requires minimal supervision as the questionnaire is flexible in timing and has simple and straightforward instructions. It can be administered either to an individual or even in a group setting and is available to be used either in a paper-pencil format, a web-based assessment, or can be computer-administered with an uncertain time of 35–50 minutes for the paper-and-pencil test format, and about 25–40 minutes for computer administration. This questionnaire is available in more than 35 languages worldwide and many different languages. The 16PF scales are divided into two sections— the primary scale and the global scale, and a brief overview of the scales is summarized below.
|16 PF Scale Names and Descriptors|
|Descriptors of Law Range||Primary Scales||Descriptors of High Range|
|Reserved, Impersonal, Distant||Warmth (A)||Warm-hearted, Caring, Attentive To Others|
|Concrete, Lower, Mental Capacity||Reasoning (B)||Abstract, Bright, Fast-Learner|
|Reactive, Affected By Feelings||Emotional Stability (C)||Emotionally Stable, Adaptive, Mature|
|Deferential, Cooperative, Avoids Conflict||Dominance (E)||Dominant, Forceful, Assertive|
|Serious, Restrained, Careful||Liveliness (F)||Enthusiastic, Animated, Spontaneous|
|Expedient, Nonconforming||Rule-Consciousness (G)||Rule-Conscious, Dutiful|
|Shy, Timid, Threat-Sensitive||Social Boldness (H)||Socially Bold, Venturesome, Thick-Skinned|
|Tough, Objective, Unsentimental||Sensitivity (I)||Sensitive, Aesthetic, Tender-Minded|
|Trusting, Unsuspecting, Accepting||Vigilance (L)||Vigilant, Suspicious, Skeptical, Wary|
|Practical, Grounded, Down-to-Earth||Abstractedness (M)||Abstracted, Imaginative, Idea-Oriented|
|Forthright, Genuine, Artless||Privateness (N)||Private, Discreet, Non-Disclosing|
|Self-Assured, Unworried, Complacent||Apprehension (O)||Apprehensive, Self-Doubting, Worried|
|Traditional, Attached to Familiar||Openness to Change (Q1)||Open To Change, Experimenting|
|Group-Orientated Affiliative||Self-Reliance (Q2)||Self-Reliant, Solitary, Individualistic|
|Tolerates Disorder, Unexacting, Flexible||Perfectionism (Q3)||Perfectionistic, Organized, Self-Disciplined|
|Relaxed, Placid, Patient||Tension (Q4)||Tense, High Energy, Dirven|
|Introverted, Socially Inhibited||Extraversion||Extraverted, Socially Participating|
|Low Anxiety, Unperturbable||Anxiety Neuroticism||High Anxiety, Perturbable|
|Receptive, Open-Minded, Intuitive||Tough-Mindedness||Tough-Minded, Rsolute, Unempathic|
|Accommodating, Agreeable, Selfless||Independence||Independent, Persuasive, Willful|
|Unrestrained, Follows Urges||Self-Control||Self-Controlled, Inhibits Urges|
|Adapted with permission from S.R. Conn and M.L. Rieke (1994). 16 PF fifth Edition Technical Manual. Champaign, IL: Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, Inc.|
Source − Cattell, H., & Mead, A. (2008). The sixteen personality factor questionnaire (16pf). In G. J. BoyleG. Matthews, & D. H. Saklofske. The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment: Volume 2 — Personality measurement and testing (pp. 135-159). SAGE Publications Ltd.
The scoring of the 16PF is presented on a 10-point scale (standard-ten scale). The sten scale has a mean of 5.5 and a standard deviation of 2, with scores below four considered low and seven considered high for each factor.
Self-report inventories are widely used as they can be standardized and used to establish norms. They are also relatively easier to administer and have higher reliability and validity as opposed to projective techniques. Apart from MMPI, EPQ-R and 16PF, tests like Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is based on the Jungian theory are also used to assess personality. The wide applicability of these self-report inventories in clinical, educational or occupational settings lies in its convenience and ease of access, making it a lot easier to understand individuals and their psychological traits of personality.