Since time immemorial people have been conscious of individual differences in thoughts, feelings, traits and behavior. An effective way through which the individual differences in personality can be understood, measured and predicted is psychological testing of personality.
All individuals have a limited awareness about their personality. There are certain attributes which we easily acknowledge while others which we don’t understand although they heavily influence our thought processes and behavior. Psychological testing of personality involves taking a detailed history and administration of a combination of self-report and performance-based psychological tests. Psychometric testing of personality helps in understanding the complex and latent psychological functioning of an individual. It helps in identifying both strengths and limitations of an individual’s personality.
Use of Personality Testing
While working as a psychologist in Delhi, I find psychological testing of personality quite valuable in my work. Psychological testing of personality can help in taking informed decisions in diverse settings:
1) It can aid the selection of candidates in corporate sector and determine the levels of stress.
2) It can help in clarifying the diagnosis and planning treatment of various psychological and psychiatric disorders.
3) It can assist in identifying psychological factors which lead to medical complications.
4) It can evaluate a person’s competence and sanity for legal purposes.
5) It can enable informed decisions in career planning.
6) It can be used for psychological research.
Types of Personality Testing
Broadly speaking, psychometric tests of personality which are used in Delhi can be divided into two categories- ‘self-report measures’ and ‘performance-based measures.’ Self-report inventories directly inquire into thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns of the individual. They help in assessing what people easily acknowledge and wish to reveal about them. Performance-based measures make an indirect assessment and are often helpful in revealing personality traits and motives which are unconscious. For a comprehensive psychometric assessment a combination of self-report and performance-based measures may be used.
Process of Personality Testing
First and foremost it is important to understand the purpose of personality assessment and select appropriate psychological tests. Reluctance to disclose information on the part of examinee can be a big hurdle in psychological testing of personality which needs to be overcome by developing rapport. An attitude characterized by interest, authenticity and compassion on the part of the examiner often makes the examinee feel comfortable. Examiners should have adequate skills to identify if the examinee is trying to fake good or fake bad. Often such attempts lead to inconsistencies within a test and between the tests. It is also important to provide feedback to the examinee after the testing is over and see their reaction to the information obtained. Psychological testing of personality requires extensive training and experience.