Personality tests and their flaws – Syarifah Zafirah Syed Azman

Personality tests are meant to assess human personality traits and characteristics in different situations. Psychologists can use personality tests to guide clinical diagnosis and intervention planning, and to predict individual response.

Currently, most millennials use the personality test to find out who they are, guide their decision-making, and seek intimate guides. Similarly, parents voluntarily pay others to perform personality assessments to better understand their children.

However, using personality tests for personal decision-making can be flawed because the validity of personality tests will be tainted when used for different reasons. This article will discuss personality issues, tests, and why they are not suitable for personal use.

The first personality test was designed to assess mental health issues in servicemen during World War I. This test created the foundation on which future tests are based.

The science and practicality of personality assessments has grown and expanded beyond the use of mental health assessments. Today, businesses and educational institutions use personality assessments to research new talent and determine an individual’s compatibility.

In the context of talent recruitment, personality tests would be appropriate as the test could help show recruiters the candidate’s behavioral tendencies, job performance, and attitude.

Also, in recruitment contexts, personality tests are not the only determinants of acceptance in companies and institutions. Therefore, it is safe to say that personality tests are valid and reliable for screening new recruits or college students. However, it must be combined with face-to-face interviews and knowledge assessments.

Why is it not valid for personal use?

Most online personality tests aren’t credible enough to tell you who you, your children, or your partners are. Personality tests can be invalid because:

  • Our personality changes according to our situation. For example, if you take a personality test when you’re feeling down, the result may indicate that you’re a sensitive person who doesn’t like to socialize and isn’t good under pressure.
  • Lack of scientific support. For example, Myers-Briggs personality tests are unreliable because the same individual may get different results after taking the test again.
  • it oversimplifies human personalities. The human personality should not be divided into either-or. We cannot be categorized as extroverts or introverts only. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, and they are neither extroverted nor introverted. There are times when we are extroverted and other times when we are introverted.

But why does this make so much sense?

Personality tests make sense to everyone because we tend to look for ourselves in descriptions. The psychological effect, such as the Barnum effect, may explain why this general information presented in the result of personality tests seems to accurately describe us.

The Barnum effect also explains why the horoscope makes so much sense. We tend to believe that the information in the description describes our personality or our experiences. The fact is that the explanation given is general and can be applied to anyone.

These personality tests do not define your choices or your experiences, and certainly do not define who you are. Pay attention to the types of personality tests they take and be aware of what the personality tests say about themselves.

Remember to take any personality test with a pinch of salt and make it clear why you are doing it in the first place. If you take the test to guide you in making important decisions in your life, such as marriage and friendship, that would be too much.

Human personality is highly contextual and highly dependent on the individual’s situation, conditions, and experiences.

Syarifah Zafirah Syed Azman is a postgraduate developmental psychology student at the International Islamic University Malaysia.

  • This is the personal opinion of the author or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of code blue.

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