Personality Assessment: Psychological Use & Predictions

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  • 0:03 Personality Assessment
  • 0:41 Assessment Methods
  • 2:04 Scoring, Appraising,…
  • 3:05 Uses and Predictions
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will review numerous types of personality assessment techniques and what they may be used for. It will also discuss which prediction methodology works best when it comes to using these assessment methods.

Personality Assessment

Imagine you've just graduated from high school and are looking for your first job. You apply for a job online at retail giant Big Box Mart. While filling out the application, you find out that you will have to take a test online. But this is not the normal sort of test you took in high school. Instead, you will be taking a personality test.

This raises many questions for you. How do psychologists assess personality? What pitfalls should they be aware of when scoring a personality assessment? Why do they want to assess someone's personality to begin with? Let's look for answers to these questions by examining personality assessments and their uses.

Assessment Methods

There are many methods by which psychologists can measure individual differences in personality. One broad category of tests that psychologists administer is known as projective tests. They're called this because the test subject will project or give meaning to some sort of experience. Perhaps the best known projective test is known as the Rorschach Ink-Blot Test. This test uses an ambiguous visual, an ink-blot, that the psychologist shows the respondent. The respondent then tells the psychologist what the ink-blot looks like to them.

Personalities can also be assessed via inventories, otherwise known as questionnaires or scales of some kind. For instance, a respondent may be given a list of statements in a standard order with a specific set of answer choices. The respondent writes down the degree to which they agree or disagree with a statement on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree or whether they agree or disagree in general by answering true or false.

Another kind of assessment method is verbal in nature. It's simply called an interview. This is exactly what it sounds like: a psychologist or psychiatrist talks to a patient and asks them questions. This method allows the interviewer to probe specific areas in a way a questionnaire can't and to take note of things other tests might not account for, such as body language.

Scoring, Appraising, and Interpreting

The way an assessment method is scored and appraised varies depending on the method used. For instance, personality inventories are particularly easy to score as they are standardized. The responses of an individual or a group of individuals can be summed over predetermined groups, yielding a numerical score.

But the score shouldn't be taken for granted. It needs to be appraised. Why is this? In the case of inventories, response biases can arise. For example, some people may have a tendency to agree or disagree with test statements regardless of what the statements say! Another bias to watch out for is whether or not someone has answered questions in such a way as to make themselves look better. There are many others types of response biases.

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