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Personality Assessment Instruments

Psychology, just like philosophy, has found too many fields of application. If not in medicine, psychology has found application in education, commerce, religion, etc. Virtually, psychology has found application almost everywhere. Since we have seen the multilateral application of psychology, it is important to understand what it entails. Psychology may be construed to refer to the scientific study of the mental functions and the general behavior of and individual. It ventures into various aspects such as personality, perception, behavior, recognition, emotion etc.

Many branches of psychology do exist but our major concern her...

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...e is the branch called personality psychology which not only deals with personality but also individual differences. According to Bradberry, the main focus of personality psychology is the creation of a consistently articulate picture of a person besides that person’s chief psychological processes (Bradberry, 2007). Further, personality psychology involves the study of how people differ form one another in what is otherwise termed as individual differences. Thirdly, personality psychology studies human nature thereby analyzing how people are similar to one another.

These three areas are linked together in harmony to create personality psychology. Personality is used in this context to refer to the Organized and vibrant unique personal characteristics which influence one’s behavior, motivations and cognitions in varied situations (Ryckman, 2004). One of the American pioneer psychologists proposed two way of studying the personality of an individual. These are: Nomothetic psychology and Idiographic psychology which venture into the general laws that can be applied to many people e. g.

in the trait of introversion and the unique distinct characteristics of and individual respectively Gordon Allport (1937). The study of personality is therefore very important regardless of whether nomothetic or idiographic methods are used. The importance of personality assessment has seen its outright adoption and use in the personnel hiring and development. The human resource department undertakes assessment tests to ensure t. hzt they understand their employers’ personalities to be able to know how they can tap and develop on these different personalities for the benefit of the organization (Fruyt et al, 2009).

There are a number of assessment tools that are used in the assessment of personalities of individuals these include but are not limited to Myers-Briggs Rorschach personality assessment instrument, Rorschach personality assessment instrument and the use of Self-Help Books as a personality assessment instrument. This paper seeks to highlight the major personality assessment tools in use at the same time focusing on the validity, applicability, comprehensiveness and the cultural utility of each of the three personality assessment tools. Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Instrument

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator also called Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Instrument is simply a questionnaire of as a psychometric nature which is primarily used to measure psychological inclination to perception and decision making. These psychological inclinations so measured are based on the typological theories presented by Carl Gustav Jung. It has been noted that since Rorschach’s era there has been a rather popular assumption that the specific responses one makes to certain colors; yellow/red or blue/green determines whether one is introverted or extroverted.

For instance favorable response to the color red or yellow implies extroversion whereas response to blue or green implies otherwise. However, based on the Jungian approach, the Rorschach’s approach does not only appear questionable but also doubtful. This is because of Jung’s declaration of the independence of extroversion and introversion from the perception type. This therefore implies the fact that perception type should not be uses to classify people as extroverted or otherwise. Myer-Briggs in the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator simply brings into operation the Jungian approach or hypothesis.

This Type Indicator or assessment instrument, people are categorized into 16 chief groups under 4 dimensions namely: • Extroversion – Introversion • Sensing – Intuition • Thinking – Feeling • Judging – Perceiving There are 16 possible combination of the above thus giving the 16 types of people as mentioned earlier. For instance, an individual may be Extroverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging, Introverted-Intuitive- Thinking-Perceptive etc. Extroverts, as opposed to Introverts focus outside themselves.

The introverts simply focus on how their small private world is affected by the external events. In other words, the extrovert goes out to meet the world as opposed to the introvert who brings the world to meet him/her. Further, regardless of whether an individual is extroverted or introverted there is always a preferred perception method. One will perceive either by intuition or sensing. The major difference between these two perception methods is the fact that a sensing person focuses on things and facts the way they are and not the way they may be or the way they are wished to be.

On the other hand, the intuitive person avoids facts and things as they are and takes on a perceived world of possibility i. e. he takes things and facts the way they may be as opposed to the way they really are. People process perception differently and this aspect may be use to classify them. One individual may be a thinking person as opposed to a feeling person. A thinking person embraces logic in making sense of thing i. e. he uses strict rules that subscribe to consistent logic even when such rules threaten harmony among people.

On the other hand, a feeling person will make sense of things based on his feelings and will rather choose harmony among people as opposed to strict logical consistence rules. The last dimension, Judging Perceiving ultimately determines choices in the other two dimensions of Sensing – Intuition and Thinking – Feeling. A judging person enjoys a life that is not only planned but also ordered as oppose to the spontaneous orientation of the life of a perceiving type of person (Spielberger & Butcher, 1992).

The validity of this personality assessment instrument has been at the center of discussion by academic psychologists. They have often criticized it citing lack of convincing validity in that the proposers of the instrument embrace a rather subjective prediction of behaviors of individuals. However, the proposers maintain that the instrument has been proved to meet and even exceed the reliability of other similar or related instruments in that it gave same results in 3 to 4 psychological preferences when administered on the same person more than once.

Further, some studies conducted have conclusively proved presence of internal consistency, construct validity and reproducibility (test-retest reliability) beside limited variation (Borrello et al, 1986), (Capraro et al, 2002). The instrument traces its cultural utility in the European environment after the 2nd World War in which it was use to help the women identify the kind of jobs they would fit in. Presently, this instrument can be use in our society to help understand people so as to aid in healthy working relationship.

It can also be applied in the hiring of manpower such that the manpower hired is studied in bid to understand them and use or improve the personality for the economic gain of an organization. Though not very comprehensive, because mostly based on subjective approximation of personality, it is indeed a formidable personality marker. Rorschach Personality Assessment Instrument (Rorschach inkblot test) Rorschach inkblot test is used in psychological (personality) evaluation. Mainly used in individual personality examination.

The emotional functioning and the psychological characteristics of mental patients can be evaluated using this Personality Assessment Instrument besides its use in diagnosis of thinking disorders where the patient is analyzed to establish whether or not a patient is psychotic (Gacano & Meloy, 1994). Forensic assessment and personality assessment though are the two major consumers of this instrument. The validity of this instrument has however not gone without being highlighted. This instrument has been criticized whereby it is considered pseudoscientific in that it is difficult to infer or extract meaning.

If this instrument is used for projection of individual personality, which indeed is the case, the results are really hard to verify. To install the verifiable function, Exner system of scoring (Comprehensive System) has been used but it in turn uses heavily the ink blot aspects such as color, shading, outline, etc. to make a comment about the testes individual’s personality. However, validity has been shown in detecting disorders such as psychotic disorders (thought and personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and others The reliability of the instrument is highly dependent on the procedure.

Example of aspects of procedure that determine the reliability include the sitting position of the tester and subject being tested, questions or comments during the testing sessions, etc. Though Exner has offered procedure instructions, these are often not adhered to especially in most court cases (Wood et al, 2003). The common use of the instrument has been in court- ordered psychological analysis and assessment so as to use the results so generated to make decisions such as assigning or denying custody of children to the accused, parole denial or granting etc.

This instrument can also be used in society to help identify members of society who have mental disorders and through the study of behavior and personality dynamics one can state categorically why some people behave the way they do thereby introducing an aspect of understanding in relationships. Self-Help Books Personality Assessment Instrument Whereas the other instruments conduct tests for the assessment of personality, this instrument involves use of self help material such as popular magazines which offer some guidance to help one analyze his or her personality.

For instance, self help can be used in borderline personality disorder (BPD), in that suggestions are offered on how to reduce symptoms but these self help strategies need to be use together with formal arrangements such as therapy and medication. A number of popular magazines, almost on every aspect of personality, have been published to help one assess his /her personality, treat or mange a personality disorder, etc. The only limitation of this instrument is that it is quite unlikely that it can be used alone. Even though it has successfully worked solely, most cases have required conjunction with other instruments as those used above.

The popular magazines are usually about a number of topics such as hypnosis, anger management, relationships, stress etc and they then move forth to give suggestions on what needs to be done, at what time, hoe it should be done, hoe to know that the action is effective, and many more. These popular magazines help an individual to not only analyze or assess his or her own individual personality but also helps one to be act as one’s own personal therapists. One becomes his/her own therapist in not only assessing but also managing personality disorders.

This tool is only workable to the degree of the individual person using it. However it has been established that the do work because the data and suggestions given are not only professional but also well researched and scientific. They can be applied widely ranging from assessing personality to managing a personality disorder such as BPD. In conclusion, personality assessment can be very helpful because the information so obtained can be used in many instances and situations from understanding behavior to identifying personality disorders.

Each personality assessment instrument is applied to realize a specific function and these instruments have been noted to be relatively reliable even though there are few variations here and there. References Bradberry T, (2003): The Personality Code, New York: Putnam publishers Ryckman, R. (2004): Theories of Personality, Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth publishers. Allport G, (1937): Personality-A psychological interpretation, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston publishers, pp45-7 Fruyt et al, (2009): Assessing Personality at Risk in Personnel Selecting and Development, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, p67

Borrello et al, (1986): Educational and Psychological Measurement- Construct Validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, SAGE journal Vol. 46, No. 3, 745-752 (1986). Retrieved on 23rd January 2009 from http://epm. sagepub. com/cgi/content/abstract/46/3/745 Capraro et al, (2002): Educational and Psychological Measurement- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Score Reliability Across-Studies a Meta-Analytic Reliability Generalization Study. SAGE journal Vol. 62, No. 4, 590-602 (2002) Retrieved on 23rd January 2009 from http://epm. sagepub. com/cgi/content/abstract/62/4/590

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