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Which are the most accredited tests for measuring personality traits?

Which are the most accredited tests for measuring personality traits?



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I'm lacking of an academic background. I thought there were only 4 or 16 personality traits. But a fast search on google is showing a huge number: according to this link they should be 638.

Is this information correct?

Which are the most accredited tests for measuring personality traits?


How many personality factors are there? The history of personality testing can be summarised in terms of an initial period where there was a vast number of personality traits. In response to this, there have been various attempts to synthesise these traits into a smaller number of underlying factors. There is a huge literature on this process (e.g., Digman, 1990; McCrae & John, 1992).

There are a lot of researchers who have proposed variations on the five factor model (commonly labeled OCEAN: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion agreeableness, and neuroticism). That said, you will find a range of other factorial models (e.g., Eysenk's three factor model; the HEXACO six factor model).

There has also been subsequent challenges to the resulting dominance of factorial models. For example, see the research of Sampo Paunonen (e.g., Paunonen & Ashton, 2001) which suggests that we may have gone too far in embracing the factorial models of personality.

Related to this debate, there are a range of hiearchical theories of personality where facets are nested within factors. So you can either get a very general representation of personality with say 5 factors, and a more detailed representation with say 30 facets.

What are valid measures of these factors? There are a large number of well validated personality tests. Tests are typically built around particular representations of personality. There are a range of free measures of the Big 5 listed here with some discussion around validity.

The NEO is one of the most well-known and used commercial measures of the Big 5. That said, there are a wide range of well validated commercial personality tests available.

References

  • Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual review of psychology, 41(1), 417-440.
  • McCrae, R. R., & John, O. P. (1992). An introduction to the five‐factor model and its applications. Journal of personality, 60(2), 175-215.
  • Paunonen, S. V., & Ashton, M. C. (2001). Big five factors and facets and the prediction of behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology, 81(3), 524.

Both types and traits limit change

However, in a fast-changing world, where many of the roles and skills that we’re recruiting for today might not exist, how helpful is the notion of predictability?

In development, my view is that both types and traits are problematic, because they limit both our view of the person, and the opportunities for personal change.

Both, to some degree, present a view of the person that suggests that we are what we are, an we’re not going to change. Both are, in their theoretical underpinning, relatively static.

You can make an argument that types and traits don’t have to determine your behaviour. That is a rationalisation used to justify the use of types and traits in coaching and development. However, the underlying theory does not promote change. Theory, by the way, that often goes back to the first half of the 20th century, when life and work was rather simpler than it is now.


A 15-minute online quiz can give you a scientifically accurate assessment of your personality

But there are indeed differences between people that can be tested.

One of the most common, preferred ways psychologists use to measure personality is what's called the "Big Five": extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

People fit into a spectrum on these five dimensions. Everyone is more or less extroverted or more or less open to experience. (For a more thorough breakdown of what the big five personality dimensions mean, you can check out this page by the director of the Personality and Social Dynamics Lab at the University of Oregon.)

There are complex elements of personality that fit within these categories.

Captured within "conscientiousness," for example, are traits like "dutifulness," a person's sense of obligation, and characteristics like "self-discipline," referring to willpower or the ability to persist on a task. While these are related and both fall under the umbrella of conscientiousness, a person might have a very strong sense of obligation but a less developed sense of self-discipline. The most thorough personality tests make distinctions between these characteristics.

There are multiple versions of these tests, but one thorough and well-regarded one is called the International Personality Item Pool.

A full version of this test contains hundreds of questions and can take 30-40 minutes to complete. But retired Penn State psychology professor John Johnson has a page that offers not just the full test, but also a new, shorter version that takes only 10-20 minutes to finish.

More than 20,000 people have taken the short version of the test, giving it enough of a sample size to give scientifically valid results (more than half a million have taken the full version).

The questions are pretty simple. There's a five-point scale that goes from "very inaccurate" to "very accurate" and you note how true statements like "Worry about things" or "Love large parties" are for you.

When you're done, you get a complex report about your personality, with a score not only for each of the five dimensions, but also a subscore for six subcategories and an explanation for what they mean.

As an example, I scored highly in "Openness to Experience," particularly in the "Adventurousness" subcategory. As an explanation, they told me:

High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Your level of adventurousness is high.

As someone who traveled abroad extensively, staying away for a year while traveling without a clear destination or end point, this rings true. Care to try it for yourself?


Types of Personality Measurement

One of the earliest successful personality measurements that came into being was the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, which was a self-report inventory type of personality. This test had been developed to carry out a psychiatric screening of the new inductees into the army at the time of World War I.  There were a few more:

►   Self-Report Inventory

The Self-Report Inventory has been the most common type of personality measurements. It is also termed as the objective personality test. There are many items included in this kind of tests, some of which are questions and others are statements or situations, and the test taker is required to answer in the degree to which he agrees or disagrees to the ‘problem.'

A sample item on such a test could be, ‘I like to socialize with new people on parties.’ The test taker can be asked to answer with a number on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 for example with one end connoting to strong agreement and the other to obvious disagreement. A very commonly used self-report inventory test would be the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). It is probably the best personality test of this kind which is widely used to identify different psychological problems in the test takers.

►   Observational Measures

These kinds of personality assessments can only be carried out by an expert psychologist who has to derive personality evaluations by assessing the behavior of the person.

An individual’s personality can be assessed in limitless ways as it tends to unfold many dimensions said to be relative to the situation and the surrounding. Another type of personality testing method is using the peer report studies in which the reports provided by the peers offer a valuable insight into the character of the individual being assessed.

Projective tests are also widely used as part of the dynamic personality testing. These often contrast to the objective methods because the projective testing methods utilizes ambiguous stimuli, which can be images, words or scenes, to invoke response from the individual being assessed. These help in evaluating the hidden emotions or internal conflicts of the test taker. The most commonly known and best personality test from this category is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. Others include,

  • Holtzman Inkblot test
  • Thematic Apperception Test
  • Draw-A-Person Test
  • Animal Metaphor Test
  • Sentence Completion Test
  • Picture Arrangement Test
  • Word Association Test
  • Graphology

SELF-REPORT INVENTORIES

Self-report inventories are a kind of objective test used to assess personality. They typically use multiple-choice items or numbered scales, which represent a range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). They often are called Likert scales after their developer, Rensis Likert (1932) ([link]).

If you’ve ever taken a survey, you are probably familiar with Likert-type scale questions. Most personality inventories employ these types of response scales.

One of the most widely used personality inventories is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) , first published in 1943, with 504 true/false questions, and updated to the MMPI-2 in 1989, with 567 questions. The original MMPI was based on a small, limited sample, composed mostly of Minnesota farmers and psychiatric patients the revised inventory was based on a more representative, national sample to allow for better standardization. The MMPI-2 takes 1–2 hours to complete. Responses are scored to produce a clinical profile composed of 10 scales: hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviance (social deviance), masculinity versus femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia (obsessive/compulsive qualities), schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. There is also a scale to ascertain risk factors for alcohol abuse. In 2008, the test was again revised, using more advanced methods, to the MMPI-2-RF. This version takes about one-half the time to complete and has only 338 questions ([link]). Despite the new test’s advantages, the MMPI-2 is more established and is still more widely used. Typically, the tests are administered by computer. Although the MMPI was originally developed to assist in the clinical diagnosis of psychological disorders, it is now also used for occupational screening, such as in law enforcement, and in college, career, and marital counseling (Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008).

These true/false questions resemble the kinds of questions you would find on the MMPI.

In addition to clinical scales, the tests also have validity and reliability scales. (Recall the concepts of reliability and validity from your study of psychological research.) One of the validity scales, the Lie Scale (or “L” Scale), consists of 15 items and is used to ascertain whether the respondent is “faking good” (underreporting psychological problems to appear healthier). For example, if someone responds “yes” to a number of unrealistically positive items such as “I have never told a lie,” they may be trying to “fake good” or appear better than they actually are.

Reliability scales test an instrument’s consistency over time, assuring that if you take the MMPI-2-RF today and then again 5 years later, your two scores will be similar. Beutler, Nussbaum, and Meredith (1988) gave the MMPI to newly recruited police officers and then to the same police officers 2 years later. After 2 years on the job, police officers’ responses indicated an increased vulnerability to alcoholism, somatic symptoms (vague, unexplained physical complaints), and anxiety. When the test was given an additional 2 years later (4 years after starting on the job), the results suggested high risk for alcohol-related difficulties.


Personality Tests: Meaning and Examples

Personality tests are today an important aspect of all pre-interview screening. It provides the employer with valuable insights of an employee before they are hired. It is also a predictor of how they would react in different situations.

While each company has its own personality tests, many of them are variations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). An example questionnaire from a personality test is listed. MBTI serves as an indicator of the personality of individuals, their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It also gives a peek into their decision-making process.

While there is no right or wrong answer in a personality test, employers looking for a specific personality to suit a role, often seek out people with certain traits. For example, when looking for a sales position, they would look for a person with a distinctive extraversion trait.

A sample Personality Test that is commonly used by companies today is given in the following section.

Examples of a Personality Test:

A. Jung Typology Test:

The MBTI assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung and first published in his 1921 book Psychological Types (English edition, 1923).

The questionnaire, consisting of 72 questions has two options for each question—YES or NO, as depicted in the excerpt shown below. One should pick the option that they feel applies to them the most. Even if one is unsure, one should go with one’s instinct. Responding to all the questions will fetch the most reliable result.

B. Personality Assessment:

Based on the MBTI assessment, the personalities of candidates are assessed. Each person is classified by a combination of four dichotomies, from 16 possible combinations. Each of these types is denoted by the first letter (except in case of iNtuition) of the personality trait.

Knowing these dichotomies helps the person to be more aware of his personality. These characteristics are also used by employers to assess, develop or group employees.

For example, two persons assessed as ESTJ and INFP have the following personality traits:


What do these Tests Measure?

Psychological tests can be used to measure and assess many areas of psychological functioning. For example,

Feelings and Attitudes

This part can assess the individual’s attitude towards the therapy he is receiving from the therapist.

Characteristic Traits

This part can measure and assess the characteristic personality traits of the individual. For example if a person is an introvert or an extrovert.

This part measures certain mental conditions like depression and anxiety.

This part assesses the personal interests of the individual like activities, hobbies and career preferences.

Intellectual Achievement and Aptitude

This part measures the reading achievement and verbal intelligence.

Specific Skills and Abilities

This test measures problem-solving abilities, cognitive abilities and memory of the individual.


Ten Item Personality Measure (TIPI)

The TIPI is a 10-item measure of the Big Five (or Five-Factor Model) dimensions. Before you use this instrument, please read this note on alpha reliability and factor structure.

**WANT TO USE THE TIPI? GO AHEAD. ANYONE CAN USE IT FOR ANY PURPOSE. NO NEED TO ASK ME FOR PERMISSION.**

Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A Very Brief Measure of the Big Five Personality Domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504-528.

When time is limited, researchers may be faced with the choice of using an extremely brief measure of the Big-Five personality dimensions or using no measure at all. To meet the need for a very brief measure, 5 and 10-item inventories were developed and evaluated. Although somewhat inferior to standard multi-item instruments, the instruments reached adequate levels in terms of (a) convergence with widely used Big-Five measures in self, observer, and peer reports, (b) test-retest reliability, (c) patterns of predicted external correlates, and (d) convergence between self and observer ratings. On the basis of these tests, a 10-item measure of the Big Five dimensions is offered for situations when very short measures are needed, personality is not the primary topic of interest, or researchers can tolerate the somewhat diminished psychometric properties associated with very brief measures.

4. TIPI norms (in pdf from Jason Rentfrow’s online study of Music Preferences): Male Norms Female Norms
The TIPI norms were based on data collected here: http://www.outofservice.com/music-personality-test/
The norms should be cited as, Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Potter, J. (2014). Norms for the Ten Item Personality Inventory. Unpublished Data.
Demographic information on the norms can be found here.

Scoring the TIPI

1. Recode the reverse-scored items (i.e., recode a 7 with a 1, a 6 with a 2, a 5 with a 3, etc.). The reverse scored items are 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10.

2. Take the AVERAGE of the two items (the standard item and the recoded reverse-scored item) that make up each scale.

Example using the Extraversion scale: A participant has scores of 5 on item 1 (Extraverted, enthusiastic) and and 2 on item 6 (Reserved, quiet). First, recode the reverse-scored item (i.e., item 6), replacing the 2 with a 6. Second, take the average of the score for item 1 and the (recoded) score for item 6. So the TIPI Extraversion scale score would be: (5 + 6)/2 = 5.5

LOOKING FOR A QUICK WAY TO COMPUTE AND DISPLAY TIPI SCORES?

Daniel DeNeui has created an excel spreadsheet, which computes your scores and plots them alongside the norms we have published. Click here to get a copy of the spreadsheet. If you have any questions about the spreadsheet please contact Dr. DeNeui.

Justin Cheng has created an spss syntax file to compute the scores. Click here to get a copy. If you have any questions about it, please contact Justin.

Comparisons with other very brief Big Five scales

In response to the need for very brief measures of the Big Five, a couple of other measures have been developed in addition to the TIPI. These include the Single-Item Measure of Personality (SIMP Wood & Hampson, 2005) and another 10-item measure (Rammstedt & John, 2007). In my own (unpublished) analyses all three instruments perform about equally well in terms of convergence with the NEO-PI-R assessed several weeks later. Moreover, all three instruments take about the same length of time to complete (because the 5 items of the SIMP are longer and more complex than than the items in the 10-item tests). The one published analysis (Furnham, 2008) that compared several very brief measures suggested that the TIPI “achieves slightly better validity than the other measures.”

Translations

These translations have been provided by their developers for research use. I have included them here as a resource for researchers but their inclusion does not imply that I endorse them. They differ in the procedures used to develop them and the degree to which they have been validated. I did not develop them and have not used them in my own research so I cannot evaluate them. For further details on the instruments, please contact their authors. As far as I know, you are free to use these translations but as a courtesy I encourage you to contact the contact persons listed below before doing so.

A Bulgarian version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Rumen Ketipov

A Catalan version is available here. This document also includes a Castillian version. It was developed by Ursula Oberst and Vanessa Renau Ruiz.

The validation of the instrument is described in:

Renau, V., Oberst, U., Gosling, S. D., Rusiñol, J., & Chamarro, A (2013). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item-Personality Inventory into Spanish and Catalan. Aloma.Revista de Psicologia, Ciències de l’Educació i de l’Esport, 31, 85-97.

A Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Jackson Lu and colleagues. If you use the instrument cite this paper, which reprints the instrument in the Appendix.

An earlier Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Minyan Huang, Ye Chen, and Hillary Anger Elfenbein.

CHINESE (HONG KONG/MACAU/TAIWANESE VERSION)

Another Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Jean Tzou and Lise DeShea.

A Dutch version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Sander Koole.

An analysis of a revised five-item version of the Dutch TIPI, the TIPI-r (in which the two items on each scale were converted to a single item) is available here. For questions about this scale or about a Dutch translation of the 44-item BFI, email Jaap Denissen.

A second Dutch version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) along with an article by Joeri Hofmans, Peter Kuppens, and Juri Allik describing how it was validated.

FARSI (PERSIAN)

A Farsi version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Madjid Mirzavaziri, Hamid Vazire, and Simine Vazire in collaboration with Mohsen Joshanloo.

A French version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

A revised version of the Carlisle instrument is available here (in pdf format). It eliminates three additional (non-TIPI) items, lists the traits in both masculine and feminine form, and uses the original TIPI item order. The revision was made by Mike Friedman.

A Georgian version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Khatuna Martskvishvili. The validation of this instrument is described in:

Martskvishvili, K., Sordia, N., & Neubauer, A. (2020). Psychometric properties of the Georgian versions of the Big Five questionnaires. Georgian Psychological Journal, 2, 30-47. Please email Khatuna Martskvishvili for information on this paper.

A German version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) or by emailing the authors Benedikt Hell and Peter M. Muck.

The validation of this instrument is described in:

A Greek version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Eleni Karfopoulou.

A Hebrew version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Sigal Tifferet.

INDONESIA (BAHASA INDONESIA)

A Bahasa Indonesia version of the TIPI (in pdf format) is available here. It was developed by Hanif Akhtar.

The development and validation of the instrument is described in:

Akhtar, H. (2018). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) into Bahasa Indonesia. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 7, 59-69. DOI: 10.5861/ijrsp.2018.3009

An Italian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carlo Chiorri.

The validation of the instrument is described in:

Chiorri, C., Bracco, F., Piccinno, T., Modafferi C., & Battini, V. (2014). Psychometric properties of a revised version of the Ten Item Personality Inventory. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, DOI: 10.1027/1015-5759/a000215.

Another Italian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

A Japanese version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Atsushi Oshio, Shingo Abe, and Pino Cutrone.

The validation of the instrument is described in:

A Korean version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Shang E. Ha.

A Nepalese version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Ho Pui Chan.

A Norwegian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) or by emailing the author Cristina Aicher.

Two Polish versions of the TIPI are available.

One version (available here) was developed by Agnieszka Sorokowska. The paper (in Polish) describing the scale and its development can be found here.

A second version was developed by Mariola Laguna. Some basic psychometric information is available here (in word format). This version is available here (in word format).

A Portugese (Brazilian Portugese) version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carlos Eduardo Pimentel.

A Portugese (European Portugese) version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Sao Luis Castro and Cesar Lima.

The paper describing the development and validation of this instrument is described here:

Six Spanish versions of the TIPI are available:

One version is available here (in pdf format). This document includes both Castillian and Catalan versions. It was developed by Ursula Oberst and Vanessa Renau Ruiz.

The validation of the instrument is described in:

Renau, V., Oberst, U., Gosling, S. D., Rusiñol, J., & Chamarro, A (2013). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item-Personality Inventory into Spanish and Catalan. Aloma.Revista de Psicologia, Ciències de l’Educació i de l’Esport, 31, 85-97.

Another version is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Cesar A. Merino Soto.

Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carmelo Vazquez.

Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Nairan Ramirez.

Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Jonathan Ayala.

A Swedish version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was originally developed by Erica Carlisle and revised and updated by Emil Lundell.

A Turkish version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Hason Atak. Some basic psychometric information is available here (in word format).

A Ukrainian version the TIPI along with the paper describing its development and psychometrics information is available here. It was developed by Marina Klimanska. If you have any questions about it, please contact Marina Klimanska.

An Urdu version of the TIPI has been developed by Fareeha Arshad ( under supervision of Prof. Dr. Farah Malik). Here you can get the Urdu Version, the item-to-item correlations, the forward translation, and the backward translation.

Bibliography

I no longer keep up with the papers that use the TIPI so if you’re interested in seeing the papers that cite the original TIPI paper, check out the paper on Google Scholar. If some reason (I can’t imagine what that reason would be) you want to see the old (now out-of-date) list of references that used to live here, you can do so here.


Skills and Procedures Utilized

Administration of and scoring tests properly in accordance with established standardized procedures

Analysis and integration of test data with other relevant information, including findings from structured diagnostic interviews, unstructured clinical interviews, historical information, data provided by informants familiar with the person being evaluated and behavioral observations

Administration and interpretation of cognitive assessment instruments

Interviewing and case conceptualization

Selection, administration and interpretation of assessment instruments appropriate to specific populations and problems

Integration of information from multiple data sources, including personality tests, into coherent and relevant reports that facilitate appropriate interventions and estimate likely outcomes

Provision of feedback that is clear, useful and responsive to the client or patient


Skills and Procedures Utilized

Administration of and scoring tests properly in accordance with established standardized procedures

Analysis and integration of test data with other relevant information, including findings from structured diagnostic interviews, unstructured clinical interviews, historical information, data provided by informants familiar with the person being evaluated and behavioral observations

Administration and interpretation of cognitive assessment instruments

Interviewing and case conceptualization

Selection, administration and interpretation of assessment instruments appropriate to specific populations and problems

Integration of information from multiple data sources, including personality tests, into coherent and relevant reports that facilitate appropriate interventions and estimate likely outcomes

Provision of feedback that is clear, useful and responsive to the client or patient


Both types and traits limit change

However, in a fast-changing world, where many of the roles and skills that we’re recruiting for today might not exist, how helpful is the notion of predictability?

In development, my view is that both types and traits are problematic, because they limit both our view of the person, and the opportunities for personal change.

Both, to some degree, present a view of the person that suggests that we are what we are, an we’re not going to change. Both are, in their theoretical underpinning, relatively static.

You can make an argument that types and traits don’t have to determine your behaviour. That is a rationalisation used to justify the use of types and traits in coaching and development. However, the underlying theory does not promote change. Theory, by the way, that often goes back to the first half of the 20th century, when life and work was rather simpler than it is now.


Types of Personality Measurement

One of the earliest successful personality measurements that came into being was the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, which was a self-report inventory type of personality. This test had been developed to carry out a psychiatric screening of the new inductees into the army at the time of World War I.  There were a few more:

►   Self-Report Inventory

The Self-Report Inventory has been the most common type of personality measurements. It is also termed as the objective personality test. There are many items included in this kind of tests, some of which are questions and others are statements or situations, and the test taker is required to answer in the degree to which he agrees or disagrees to the ‘problem.'

A sample item on such a test could be, ‘I like to socialize with new people on parties.’ The test taker can be asked to answer with a number on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 for example with one end connoting to strong agreement and the other to obvious disagreement. A very commonly used self-report inventory test would be the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). It is probably the best personality test of this kind which is widely used to identify different psychological problems in the test takers.

►   Observational Measures

These kinds of personality assessments can only be carried out by an expert psychologist who has to derive personality evaluations by assessing the behavior of the person.

An individual’s personality can be assessed in limitless ways as it tends to unfold many dimensions said to be relative to the situation and the surrounding. Another type of personality testing method is using the peer report studies in which the reports provided by the peers offer a valuable insight into the character of the individual being assessed.

Projective tests are also widely used as part of the dynamic personality testing. These often contrast to the objective methods because the projective testing methods utilizes ambiguous stimuli, which can be images, words or scenes, to invoke response from the individual being assessed. These help in evaluating the hidden emotions or internal conflicts of the test taker. The most commonly known and best personality test from this category is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. Others include,

  • Holtzman Inkblot test
  • Thematic Apperception Test
  • Draw-A-Person Test
  • Animal Metaphor Test
  • Sentence Completion Test
  • Picture Arrangement Test
  • Word Association Test
  • Graphology

Top 5 Leadership Personality Tests

In talking to many high profile leaders in my interviews one constant theme that keeps cropping up is this idea of “Self-Mastery” getting to the truth of who you really are as a leader. This is a critical first step in your leadership journey.

In the Marine Corps this was one of the key Leadership Principles: “Know yourself & seek self improvement“.

Personality tests can be a huge asset in getting to the root of who you really are. But with so many to choose from how do you know which one is best.

Here is my view of the top five tests today, and how they compare:

Wealth Dynamics: Created eight years ago by Roger James Hamilton, a social entrepreneur and founder of XL Nation, Wealth Dynamics has rapidly grown into the most widely adopted profiling system for entrepreneurs and business owners around the world. The reason for its success is that it links both your strengths and weaknesses to your preferences, and then gives you clear role models and strategies to follow. It takes the very best of MBTI, DISC and Strength Finder, and delivers to you a system that is intuitive, relevant and easy to explain to others.

John Maxwell Leadership Assessment: Following John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership, the assessment measures 64 attributes that measure an individual on the attributes that help leaders have success at each level:

    • Position – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on trustworthiness and commitment.
    • Permission – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on relational abilities and interpersonal skills.
    • Production – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on getting results individually, organizationally and as a team.
    • People Development – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on reproducing and developing your skills in others.
    • Pinnacle – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on who you are as a leader over time, your awareness of yourself and others.

    Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Launched in 1962, this old classic has been around for close to 50 years. Taking the test results in one of 16 types with titles like “ESTJ” and “INFP”. These refer to four polarities (such as extroversion/introversion and thinking/feeling). The test is used to assess preferences without easy links to strategies or role models, so it really requires an expert to interpret the results and translate it into effective action.

    DISC profile: Launched in 1928, this system is simpler and more intuitive. DISC refers to the four behavior types the test assesses: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. It is more focused on behaviors than preferences but has the same Jungian roots as MBTI, and there are correlations to the two. Teams find DISC easier to grasp and explain back than MBTI, but both systems lack clear strategies for success or tailored tools for specific industries or modern challenges.

    Strength Finder: A more modern test created by Gallup and championed by Marcus Buckingham, Strength Finder focuses on your strengths rather than focusing on preferences or behaviors. The test identifies your top 5 strengths out of a possible 34. Accompanied with a relevant modern philosophy (focus at your strengths and you will be happier and more productive for it), this test is more prescriptive on proactive strategy than MBTI and DISC but lacks an intuitive model that team members can transfer (Few can remember all 34 strengths, let alone how they relate to each other). It also does not identify top weaknesses, in either individuals or teams.

    SUMMARY: Personally, I highly recommend everyone take the Meyers Briggs at some time during their life I found I was an INFP (Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving). Once I received the results I felt better in my leadership quest as I didn’t have to try to pretend to be somebody that I wasn’t.

    I’m a huge fan of Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics Test. It’s ideal for entrepreneurs letting you know what your entrepreneurship style is. But it’s also great for anyone interested in knowing what their true leadership style is it’s one of the best tests that explicitly shows you where you should focus your life’s work and passion. I took this test at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and it helped me focus on my strengths. After taking the test I found that I was primarily a CREATOR, with MECHANIC & STAR as my secondary. You can view my profile to get a taste of the quality of the report you will get from them if you decide to take this test.

    You can take the test here: Wealth Dynamics Profile Test

    Lastly, I’m big on John Maxwell’s latest Leadership Assessment. This is the newest and most comprehensive leadership tool I’ve seen in a long time. This is the exact assessment I give to all of my new coaching clients. I found the following unique features & benefits:

    • Measurements on 64 leadership attributes.
    • Unlimited number of raters.
    • Feedback compiled into a full-color, easy-to-read report.
    • The ability to see results on an overall basis as well as split out by rater type.
    • Leadership attributes summary at the end of the report that lists all items ranked from highest to lowest based on overall average score.
    • Written comments provided by your raters listed in an unedited form.
    • Category scores in the areas of Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Pinnacle from The 5 Levels of Leadership.

    You can take the Maxwell Leadership Assessment here: Maxwell Leadership Assessment

    The bottom line is to become a better leader you have to be fully self-aware. These tests can help in that journey none of them are perfect but all of them well help you in your quest in knowing yourself and seeking self-improvement.


    Personality Tests: Meaning and Examples

    Personality tests are today an important aspect of all pre-interview screening. It provides the employer with valuable insights of an employee before they are hired. It is also a predictor of how they would react in different situations.

    While each company has its own personality tests, many of them are variations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). An example questionnaire from a personality test is listed. MBTI serves as an indicator of the personality of individuals, their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It also gives a peek into their decision-making process.

    While there is no right or wrong answer in a personality test, employers looking for a specific personality to suit a role, often seek out people with certain traits. For example, when looking for a sales position, they would look for a person with a distinctive extraversion trait.

    A sample Personality Test that is commonly used by companies today is given in the following section.

    Examples of a Personality Test:

    A. Jung Typology Test:

    The MBTI assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung and first published in his 1921 book Psychological Types (English edition, 1923).

    The questionnaire, consisting of 72 questions has two options for each question—YES or NO, as depicted in the excerpt shown below. One should pick the option that they feel applies to them the most. Even if one is unsure, one should go with one’s instinct. Responding to all the questions will fetch the most reliable result.

    B. Personality Assessment:

    Based on the MBTI assessment, the personalities of candidates are assessed. Each person is classified by a combination of four dichotomies, from 16 possible combinations. Each of these types is denoted by the first letter (except in case of iNtuition) of the personality trait.

    Knowing these dichotomies helps the person to be more aware of his personality. These characteristics are also used by employers to assess, develop or group employees.

    For example, two persons assessed as ESTJ and INFP have the following personality traits:


    SELF-REPORT INVENTORIES

    Self-report inventories are a kind of objective test used to assess personality. They typically use multiple-choice items or numbered scales, which represent a range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). They often are called Likert scales after their developer, Rensis Likert (1932) ([link]).

    If you’ve ever taken a survey, you are probably familiar with Likert-type scale questions. Most personality inventories employ these types of response scales.

    One of the most widely used personality inventories is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) , first published in 1943, with 504 true/false questions, and updated to the MMPI-2 in 1989, with 567 questions. The original MMPI was based on a small, limited sample, composed mostly of Minnesota farmers and psychiatric patients the revised inventory was based on a more representative, national sample to allow for better standardization. The MMPI-2 takes 1–2 hours to complete. Responses are scored to produce a clinical profile composed of 10 scales: hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviance (social deviance), masculinity versus femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia (obsessive/compulsive qualities), schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. There is also a scale to ascertain risk factors for alcohol abuse. In 2008, the test was again revised, using more advanced methods, to the MMPI-2-RF. This version takes about one-half the time to complete and has only 338 questions ([link]). Despite the new test’s advantages, the MMPI-2 is more established and is still more widely used. Typically, the tests are administered by computer. Although the MMPI was originally developed to assist in the clinical diagnosis of psychological disorders, it is now also used for occupational screening, such as in law enforcement, and in college, career, and marital counseling (Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008).

    These true/false questions resemble the kinds of questions you would find on the MMPI.

    In addition to clinical scales, the tests also have validity and reliability scales. (Recall the concepts of reliability and validity from your study of psychological research.) One of the validity scales, the Lie Scale (or “L” Scale), consists of 15 items and is used to ascertain whether the respondent is “faking good” (underreporting psychological problems to appear healthier). For example, if someone responds “yes” to a number of unrealistically positive items such as “I have never told a lie,” they may be trying to “fake good” or appear better than they actually are.

    Reliability scales test an instrument’s consistency over time, assuring that if you take the MMPI-2-RF today and then again 5 years later, your two scores will be similar. Beutler, Nussbaum, and Meredith (1988) gave the MMPI to newly recruited police officers and then to the same police officers 2 years later. After 2 years on the job, police officers’ responses indicated an increased vulnerability to alcoholism, somatic symptoms (vague, unexplained physical complaints), and anxiety. When the test was given an additional 2 years later (4 years after starting on the job), the results suggested high risk for alcohol-related difficulties.


    What do these Tests Measure?

    Psychological tests can be used to measure and assess many areas of psychological functioning. For example,

    Feelings and Attitudes

    This part can assess the individual’s attitude towards the therapy he is receiving from the therapist.

    Characteristic Traits

    This part can measure and assess the characteristic personality traits of the individual. For example if a person is an introvert or an extrovert.

    This part measures certain mental conditions like depression and anxiety.

    This part assesses the personal interests of the individual like activities, hobbies and career preferences.

    Intellectual Achievement and Aptitude

    This part measures the reading achievement and verbal intelligence.

    Specific Skills and Abilities

    This test measures problem-solving abilities, cognitive abilities and memory of the individual.


    A 15-minute online quiz can give you a scientifically accurate assessment of your personality

    But there are indeed differences between people that can be tested.

    One of the most common, preferred ways psychologists use to measure personality is what's called the "Big Five": extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

    People fit into a spectrum on these five dimensions. Everyone is more or less extroverted or more or less open to experience. (For a more thorough breakdown of what the big five personality dimensions mean, you can check out this page by the director of the Personality and Social Dynamics Lab at the University of Oregon.)

    There are complex elements of personality that fit within these categories.

    Captured within "conscientiousness," for example, are traits like "dutifulness," a person's sense of obligation, and characteristics like "self-discipline," referring to willpower or the ability to persist on a task. While these are related and both fall under the umbrella of conscientiousness, a person might have a very strong sense of obligation but a less developed sense of self-discipline. The most thorough personality tests make distinctions between these characteristics.

    There are multiple versions of these tests, but one thorough and well-regarded one is called the International Personality Item Pool.

    A full version of this test contains hundreds of questions and can take 30-40 minutes to complete. But retired Penn State psychology professor John Johnson has a page that offers not just the full test, but also a new, shorter version that takes only 10-20 minutes to finish.

    More than 20,000 people have taken the short version of the test, giving it enough of a sample size to give scientifically valid results (more than half a million have taken the full version).

    The questions are pretty simple. There's a five-point scale that goes from "very inaccurate" to "very accurate" and you note how true statements like "Worry about things" or "Love large parties" are for you.

    When you're done, you get a complex report about your personality, with a score not only for each of the five dimensions, but also a subscore for six subcategories and an explanation for what they mean.

    As an example, I scored highly in "Openness to Experience," particularly in the "Adventurousness" subcategory. As an explanation, they told me:

    High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Your level of adventurousness is high.

    As someone who traveled abroad extensively, staying away for a year while traveling without a clear destination or end point, this rings true. Care to try it for yourself?


    Ten Item Personality Measure (TIPI)

    The TIPI is a 10-item measure of the Big Five (or Five-Factor Model) dimensions. Before you use this instrument, please read this note on alpha reliability and factor structure.

    **WANT TO USE THE TIPI? GO AHEAD. ANYONE CAN USE IT FOR ANY PURPOSE. NO NEED TO ASK ME FOR PERMISSION.**

    Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A Very Brief Measure of the Big Five Personality Domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504-528.

    When time is limited, researchers may be faced with the choice of using an extremely brief measure of the Big-Five personality dimensions or using no measure at all. To meet the need for a very brief measure, 5 and 10-item inventories were developed and evaluated. Although somewhat inferior to standard multi-item instruments, the instruments reached adequate levels in terms of (a) convergence with widely used Big-Five measures in self, observer, and peer reports, (b) test-retest reliability, (c) patterns of predicted external correlates, and (d) convergence between self and observer ratings. On the basis of these tests, a 10-item measure of the Big Five dimensions is offered for situations when very short measures are needed, personality is not the primary topic of interest, or researchers can tolerate the somewhat diminished psychometric properties associated with very brief measures.

    4. TIPI norms (in pdf from Jason Rentfrow’s online study of Music Preferences): Male Norms Female Norms
    The TIPI norms were based on data collected here: http://www.outofservice.com/music-personality-test/
    The norms should be cited as, Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Potter, J. (2014). Norms for the Ten Item Personality Inventory. Unpublished Data.
    Demographic information on the norms can be found here.

    Scoring the TIPI

    1. Recode the reverse-scored items (i.e., recode a 7 with a 1, a 6 with a 2, a 5 with a 3, etc.). The reverse scored items are 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10.

    2. Take the AVERAGE of the two items (the standard item and the recoded reverse-scored item) that make up each scale.

    Example using the Extraversion scale: A participant has scores of 5 on item 1 (Extraverted, enthusiastic) and and 2 on item 6 (Reserved, quiet). First, recode the reverse-scored item (i.e., item 6), replacing the 2 with a 6. Second, take the average of the score for item 1 and the (recoded) score for item 6. So the TIPI Extraversion scale score would be: (5 + 6)/2 = 5.5

    LOOKING FOR A QUICK WAY TO COMPUTE AND DISPLAY TIPI SCORES?

    Daniel DeNeui has created an excel spreadsheet, which computes your scores and plots them alongside the norms we have published. Click here to get a copy of the spreadsheet. If you have any questions about the spreadsheet please contact Dr. DeNeui.

    Justin Cheng has created an spss syntax file to compute the scores. Click here to get a copy. If you have any questions about it, please contact Justin.

    Comparisons with other very brief Big Five scales

    In response to the need for very brief measures of the Big Five, a couple of other measures have been developed in addition to the TIPI. These include the Single-Item Measure of Personality (SIMP Wood & Hampson, 2005) and another 10-item measure (Rammstedt & John, 2007). In my own (unpublished) analyses all three instruments perform about equally well in terms of convergence with the NEO-PI-R assessed several weeks later. Moreover, all three instruments take about the same length of time to complete (because the 5 items of the SIMP are longer and more complex than than the items in the 10-item tests). The one published analysis (Furnham, 2008) that compared several very brief measures suggested that the TIPI “achieves slightly better validity than the other measures.”

    Translations

    These translations have been provided by their developers for research use. I have included them here as a resource for researchers but their inclusion does not imply that I endorse them. They differ in the procedures used to develop them and the degree to which they have been validated. I did not develop them and have not used them in my own research so I cannot evaluate them. For further details on the instruments, please contact their authors. As far as I know, you are free to use these translations but as a courtesy I encourage you to contact the contact persons listed below before doing so.

    A Bulgarian version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Rumen Ketipov

    A Catalan version is available here. This document also includes a Castillian version. It was developed by Ursula Oberst and Vanessa Renau Ruiz.

    The validation of the instrument is described in:

    Renau, V., Oberst, U., Gosling, S. D., Rusiñol, J., & Chamarro, A (2013). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item-Personality Inventory into Spanish and Catalan. Aloma.Revista de Psicologia, Ciències de l’Educació i de l’Esport, 31, 85-97.

    A Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Jackson Lu and colleagues. If you use the instrument cite this paper, which reprints the instrument in the Appendix.

    An earlier Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Minyan Huang, Ye Chen, and Hillary Anger Elfenbein.

    CHINESE (HONG KONG/MACAU/TAIWANESE VERSION)

    Another Chinese version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Jean Tzou and Lise DeShea.

    A Dutch version of the TIPI is available here. It was developed by Sander Koole.

    An analysis of a revised five-item version of the Dutch TIPI, the TIPI-r (in which the two items on each scale were converted to a single item) is available here. For questions about this scale or about a Dutch translation of the 44-item BFI, email Jaap Denissen.

    A second Dutch version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) along with an article by Joeri Hofmans, Peter Kuppens, and Juri Allik describing how it was validated.

    FARSI (PERSIAN)

    A Farsi version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Madjid Mirzavaziri, Hamid Vazire, and Simine Vazire in collaboration with Mohsen Joshanloo.

    A French version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

    A revised version of the Carlisle instrument is available here (in pdf format). It eliminates three additional (non-TIPI) items, lists the traits in both masculine and feminine form, and uses the original TIPI item order. The revision was made by Mike Friedman.

    A Georgian version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Khatuna Martskvishvili. The validation of this instrument is described in:

    Martskvishvili, K., Sordia, N., & Neubauer, A. (2020). Psychometric properties of the Georgian versions of the Big Five questionnaires. Georgian Psychological Journal, 2, 30-47. Please email Khatuna Martskvishvili for information on this paper.

    A German version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) or by emailing the authors Benedikt Hell and Peter M. Muck.

    The validation of this instrument is described in:

    A Greek version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Eleni Karfopoulou.

    A Hebrew version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Sigal Tifferet.

    INDONESIA (BAHASA INDONESIA)

    A Bahasa Indonesia version of the TIPI (in pdf format) is available here. It was developed by Hanif Akhtar.

    The development and validation of the instrument is described in:

    Akhtar, H. (2018). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) into Bahasa Indonesia. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 7, 59-69. DOI: 10.5861/ijrsp.2018.3009

    An Italian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carlo Chiorri.

    The validation of the instrument is described in:

    Chiorri, C., Bracco, F., Piccinno, T., Modafferi C., & Battini, V. (2014). Psychometric properties of a revised version of the Ten Item Personality Inventory. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, DOI: 10.1027/1015-5759/a000215.

    Another Italian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

    A Japanese version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Atsushi Oshio, Shingo Abe, and Pino Cutrone.

    The validation of the instrument is described in:

    A Korean version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Shang E. Ha.

    A Nepalese version of the TIPI is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Ho Pui Chan.

    A Norwegian version of the TIPI is available here (in word format) or by emailing the author Cristina Aicher.

    Two Polish versions of the TIPI are available.

    One version (available here) was developed by Agnieszka Sorokowska. The paper (in Polish) describing the scale and its development can be found here.

    A second version was developed by Mariola Laguna. Some basic psychometric information is available here (in word format). This version is available here (in word format).

    A Portugese (Brazilian Portugese) version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carlos Eduardo Pimentel.

    A Portugese (European Portugese) version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Sao Luis Castro and Cesar Lima.

    The paper describing the development and validation of this instrument is described here:

    Six Spanish versions of the TIPI are available:

    One version is available here (in pdf format). This document includes both Castillian and Catalan versions. It was developed by Ursula Oberst and Vanessa Renau Ruiz.

    The validation of the instrument is described in:

    Renau, V., Oberst, U., Gosling, S. D., Rusiñol, J., & Chamarro, A (2013). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item-Personality Inventory into Spanish and Catalan. Aloma.Revista de Psicologia, Ciències de l’Educació i de l’Esport, 31, 85-97.

    Another version is available here (in pdf format). It was developed by Cesar A. Merino Soto.

    Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Carmelo Vazquez.

    Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Nairan Ramirez.

    Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Erica Carlisle.

    Another version is available here (in word format). It was developed by Jonathan Ayala.

    A Swedish version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was originally developed by Erica Carlisle and revised and updated by Emil Lundell.

    A Turkish version of the TIPI is available here (in word format). It was developed by Hason Atak. Some basic psychometric information is available here (in word format).

    A Ukrainian version the TIPI along with the paper describing its development and psychometrics information is available here. It was developed by Marina Klimanska. If you have any questions about it, please contact Marina Klimanska.

    An Urdu version of the TIPI has been developed by Fareeha Arshad ( under supervision of Prof. Dr. Farah Malik). Here you can get the Urdu Version, the item-to-item correlations, the forward translation, and the backward translation.

    Bibliography

    I no longer keep up with the papers that use the TIPI so if you’re interested in seeing the papers that cite the original TIPI paper, check out the paper on Google Scholar. If some reason (I can’t imagine what that reason would be) you want to see the old (now out-of-date) list of references that used to live here, you can do so here.