Reliability and validity are important in personality assessment.
Even if the results are not accurate, reliable measures still yield the same results.
A valid test measures what it purports to measure.
There is a more detailed discussion of these issues in the testing chapter.
Depending on their theoretical orientation, psychologists' methods of assessing people's personality differ.
The types of psychologists most likely to use some of the most common ways of measuring personality are described below.
Projective tests are used by psychiatrists.
People are asked to interpret stimuli.
The Rorschach test involves showing people a series of inkblots and asking them to describe what they see.
TheTA T consists of a number of cards, each of which has a picture of a person in an ambiguous situation.
People are asked to describe what is happening.
Psychoanalysts say that people's interpretations reflect their unconscious thoughts since the inkblots and TAT cards are ambiguous.
People project their unconscious thoughts onto ambiguous stimuli.
Someone who is struggling with aggressive impulses may be more likely to describe violent themes.
It is a complicated process to score projective tests.
The Rorschach test looks at more than just the content people describe but also the way they hold and turn the card.
Many people think that projective tests are unreliable because they rely so much on the therapists' interpretations.
Self-report inventories are a simpler and more widespread method of personality assessment.
People are asked to provide information about themselves in self-report inventories.
Many different kinds of psychologists, such as humanistic psychologists, trait theorists, and cognitive-behavioral psychologists, might use self-report inventories as one means to gather data about someone.
These kinds of tests are often referred to as objective personality tests since they are unlikely to be affected by evaluator bias since people's scores are determined by their answers.
An interview is a subjective assessment.
Some believe that subjective measures yield richer and more valid data, despite the fact that subjectivity decreases reliability and opens the door to bias.
One of the most widely used self-report instruments is the Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory.
People may not be completely honest in answering the questions.
There are "lie scales" built into some tests to try to detect when people are lying.
Radical behaviorists argue that the only way to measure people's personality is to observe their behavior.
Observations of a person's behavior is one way that cognitive-behavioral psychologists can gather data.
People are curious about what personality assessments say about them.
People are susceptible to being deceived because of their curiosity.
People tend to see themselves in stock descriptions of their personality.
The Barnum effect is used by fortune-tellers and psychics.
When confronted with people who offer quick descriptions of your life or future, be skeptical because personality has proved difficult to define.
Five suggested answers or completions are followed by each of the questions or incomplete statements.
Pick the one that is the best.
Over the course of a year, Cettina fills out a personality inventory.
Each administration of the test has very different results.
Juan never admits he has a crush on Sally.
Dr. Li's clients are asked to interpret ambiguous pictures of people.
People are motivated to self-actualize according to humanistic psychologists.
At age eight, he sucked his thumb.
He smokes, chews gum, and thinks constantly as an adult.