How Accurate Are Personality Tests? - Deepstash
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Most personality tests are invalid

Most personality tests are invalid

Personality tests have been formulated to find the real you, but many of these tests are not tested scientifically and are more a pseudoscience.

One famous example of a commercial personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that divides people into 16 different "types". The assessment will suggest certain career or romantic pairings. Psychologists say the questionnaire is one of the worst personality tests because a person's type may change from day-to-day.


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Early 20th century personality tests

Personality questionnaires started about a century ago.

  • The questions during WWI were geared to study personality and mental health problems to weed out soldiers who weren't fit to fly military aircraft.
  • Academics created different personality scales on what personality is like. The problem with the majority of the assessments at the time was they were built on the creator's subjective feelings about personality.


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The Big 5 model

One personality model survived the 20th century. It's called the Big 5 Personality Traits (5-Factor Model). It was developed in 1961 and since have been developed into its modern form.

The Big 5 model takes a holistic approach by compiling every word that could be considered a personality trait and creating simple questions about them. Based on how people answered initial surveys, researchers used statistical methods to group traits that seemed to go together.


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The simplicity of the Big 5 model

The Big 5 model group characteristics into five basic categories. Extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience.

  • It doesn't sort anybody into a "type," just informs where a person will fall on a continuum.
  • You won't uncover anything surprising about yourself.
  • At best, you could use it as a comparative tool to tell you how your rank on extroversion compared with others who have taken the test.


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Problematic personality assessments

Personality assessments targeted toward hiring recruiters and managers assume there is a hidden truth about you that can match you up to a job. But there isn't any hidden truth that a personality test can uncover.

Personality is not that mysterious. If the assessment process seems confusing or if questions deviate into the abstract, that's a red flag.


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