This paper is meant to discuss how to assess the different personalities of individuals. These individuals live in a world where they have to relate to each other and at times this becomes impossible because of the different personalities that each possesses. We even become ignorant of trying to understand our own character traits to co-relate with our colleagues. This paper will outline the importance of assessing our personalities and the instruments that can be used for assessment.
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Each person possesses different characteristics or personalities and thus common to find one person who is extremely happy at all times and the other one who is always moody. That is why an individual’s personality assessment is conducted to discover his traits; the instruments used are psychological tools and are of different types and they can be in a form of questionnaire or pictures. We shall look at examples of instances that require and use the personality assessment instrument.
Users of Personality Assessment Test
Users of personality assessment are countless. Each person should know what his personalities are. However, there are various specific instances that require an individual to evaluate himself to know his personality or character traits. The following are some of these instances:
Job seekers take this test to assess their personality before applying for a particular job in any organization. It is highly recommended where there are job requirements to be met and the job seeker is in doubt whether he has the specific personalities required. It also guides one in selecting the appropriate career; this type of user mostly uses three personality assessment instruments. The Myer-Briggs assessment tool that evaluates the psychological way people looks at the world and how it influences their decisions.
The other method is Birkman assessment which, a questionnaire is used to combine the behaviors and interest of an individual and the Holland assessment tool by John Holland which is a preferred instrument also used by job seekers.
Evaluation in class is done using the personal assessment instruments. Psychologists use this tool to determine different personalities of students in class. This is especially common where there are slow learners in a class. DISC assessment tool is one of the tools used to evaluate the communication skills and the productivity of the student.
When one needs to know their personal traits, they can assess and evaluate their personalities through this assessment instruments. Popular magazines assessments instruments are mostly used by these users. This is when one wants to know their relationship with other individuals.
Personality Assessment Instruments
As noted above, there are several personality instruments used to evaluate the personal character traits of a person. However, we shall discuss the three major instruments commonly used in assessment; the Myer-Briggs instrument, the Rorschach instrument and, popular magazines assessment.
Invented in the 2nd world war by Katharine C. Meyers Briggs and Isabel Briggs, the tool was designed for women looking for jobs to evaluate their personalities in 1942. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was later published in 1962 (David, Lanyon & Richard, 2001). This tool helps to evaluate the perception of people toward the world and how it affects their decisions. This is a common personality assessment tool. This tool is applicable in frequent areas like career and family counseling and leadership coaching.
Exploratory, behavioral and confirmatory observations help to examine the validity of this instrument. A good observation is that of extroverts who perform better in public as compared to the introverts who on the other perform better away from the public. Scoring methods and formats help to achieve its applicability. Most countries have applied it and this is an indication of being accepted and adopted in various cultures. The applicability of its results has made it even more comprehensible to the individual taking the test.
Most people however have criticized its reliability and argue that it is hard to measure the reliability of this instrument. Exhibition of its reliability is by the use of dichotomy scores in form of a bell curve. Critics have largely criticized this assessment instrument; its major weakness is that it depends on the person answering the questionnaire.
Most individuals tend to answer questions that will favor them and this gives inaccurate results. It also fails to lead to the conflicts in question; what it does is just point out possible conflicts. Management leaders have criticized the management tool as it fails to establish the problem in a group in an organization.
The instrument was created by Hermann Rorschach: It uses inkblots to evaluate and, assess an individual’s personality. It has been the most recommended tool and is widely used by psychologists to identify hidden problems of a patient.
The perceptions of the individuals are taken in inkblots which, are in turn analyzed and then recorded using the interpretation of psychology and scientific algorithms. Inkblots in form of cards with different prints are given to the individual; then the individual is let to analyze the cards in two phases.
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Association is the first phase. Here, the individual is let to see all the cards without any questions. The tester then gives back the cards to the individual and, asks questions.
Inquiry phase is the second phase where the tester writes down all what the individual is saying regardless of whether he is making sense or not. The assessment is not based on how he is analyzing the cards but on how he is doing it. The tester takes a note on how he gives his responses; if he takes long without responding, or if he gives any response that he hadn’t been asked, and then the tester assesses him on this. Certainty of its validity was questionable until after the creation of an interpreting system called Exner scoring created by John Exner. Comprehensiveness was made easier by this system which introduced means of administering and interpreting the instrument.
Critics have however, criticized this method: they deem the assessment as an assumption and not a true reflection and based on illusion.
According to David et.al (2001), assessment of behavior of another person based on how he is analyzing certain materials has never been proved. Its applicability to test behaviors of the people has been put to test too and not yet proved. On the other hand, the cultural utility of this instrument is mainly by psychologists who trust its validity as compared to Myers-Briggs instrument.
This is especially for people who love reading various literatures. Magazines tend to have a section of personality quiz; these quizzes may come in various forms to test on different personalities to suit the particular circumstances. For example love quiz used to test compatibility personalities, workplace quiz used to test one’s relationship with their colleagues and even social quiz used to test if an individual is an extrovert on introvert.
This instrument does not require two parties to assess the personality of the individual.
Compared to Rorschach instrument, it is less complicated and easy to use. The individual taking the quiz answers the questions in the quiz and the results are shown at the end of that particular quiz with an explanation of the individual personality. It is the most comprehensive tool as the individual relies on the results of the quiz. It is applicable only to people who love literature hence limited cultural utility.
Covalt (2007) states that most people tend to take this personality test for entertainment purposes.
Critics has however, been criticized as biased; the individual taking the test may wish to answer those questions that will only favor him and thus influence the outcome, its validity is also not certain.
Importance of The Personality Assessment Instruments
We have discussed some of the instruments used to assess the personality of the individuals. These instruments are very important for various reasons:
They help to bring harmonization among the individuals living together; this basically means that by understanding one’s personality it helps create a balance to understand each other. For example an extrovert will understand that an introvert adores their moments alone and will wish to respect.
They also help in individual analysis, this is especially in marriages and workplaces where he has to work or relate with a different person from who he is. They help that person understand the person he is relating with better by analyzing his individual personalities first. They are also very relevant for analyzing those individuals suffering silently and are afraid to speak out; a good example is a teacher who conducts an assessment test to his student not at par with the rest.
Criticism of Personality Assessment Instruments
Different scholars have however, criticized this tool. One weakness highlighted is that certainty and reliance are based on the assumption of the reader. To add on, it has also been argued that it is difficult to measure or gauge somebody’s personality using the so-called instruments and therefore not applicable.
Human beings are known to possess more than one personality that is immeasurable. The results are also biased to suit the individual taking the assessment; in instances in which a questionnaire or a quiz is being taken, they will choose an answer what suits them and not an honest opinion as required. People also tend to shy away and are hesitant to be assessed by a tester. The tester is said to use this weakness to create a personality assessment of the individual.
Personality instruments to assess should be chosen wisely as discussed to acquire the desired results. Assessment quiz requires honesty to avoid biasness; an individual should be told the importance of the test by the tester to encourage full participation when being assessed.
It is also important for psychologists who have used these instruments to prove that indeed it works to clear the minds of the critics and encourage personality assessments by individuals. Individuals should know their personality traits.
Covalt, P. (2007). What smart couples should know: The secret to a happy relationship. New York: Library of Congress Cataloging Publishers
David L, Lanyon L & Richard. (2001). Personality Assessment. London: Sage Publications