Advantages and Disadvantages of Objective Personality Tests
Objective personality tests are usually self-report inventories. Self-report inventories are paper-and-pen tests that require people to answer questions about their typical behavior. Commonly used objective tests include the MMPI-2, the 16PF, and the NEO Personality Inventory.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) was developed in the 1940s and revised in the 1980s. The revised version is called the MMPI-2. The MMPI-2 contains a list of 567 questions. People taking the test must answer these questions with true, false, or cannot say.
The MMPI was originally developed to help clinical psychologists diagnose psychological disorders. To interpret the MMPI-2, psychologists divide the answers to questions into fourteen subscales. Ten of these subscales are clinical subscales, which give information about different aspects of the test taker’s personality. The other four subscales are validity subscales, which indicate whether the test taker was careless or deceptive when answering questions. A score on any single subscale doesn’t provide a clear indication of a specific psychological disorder. Rather, the score profile, or pattern of responses across subscales, indicates specific psychological disorders.
The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) is a test that assesses sixteen basic dimensions of personality. It consists of a list of 187 questions.
The NEO Personality Inventory
The NEO Personality Inventory measures the Big Five traits: extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Report Inventories
Self-report inventories are useful because they allow psychologists to get precise answers to standardized questions. In other words, all subjects who take a test answer the same questions, and all subjects have to select answers from the same range of options. Inventories are also objective, which means that different people scoring the same test would score them in the same way. However, these scores might be interpreted differently by different people.
There are several disadvantages to self-report inventories as well:
* Self-report inventories often contain transparent questions, which means subjects can figure out what a psychologist wants to measure. Therefore, subjects can lie intentionally and fake personality traits they don’t really have. Researchers who develop tests address this problem by including lie scales in tests, which provide information about the likelihood that a subject is lying.
* The social desirability bias can affect responses on self-report inventories. In other words, when filling out an inventory, people might state what they wish were true, rather than what is true. Test developers can minimize this bias by dropping questions that are likely to evoke it.
* People sometimes don’t understand the questions on the test. Test developers try to address this issue by wording questions very clearly so that they have only one possible interpretation.
* People sometimes don’t remember aspects of the experience they are asked about.
Information gathered from http://www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/personality/section7.rhtml