Personality assessment

Q.What is a paper and pencil test of personality?Explain why MMPI is considered as a better instrument than TAT like projective tests for personality assessment. 10 marks

13 thoughts on “Personality assessment”

  1. There are several personality assessment tests that is used for different purposes such as training, recruitment, diagnosing psychological disorders etc.
    Paper and pencil test is one such objective/self-report test that has following features:
    1. The individual is aware that his/her personality is being assessed and they themselves answer questions about themselves. Eg: true/false que like : i like to go alone for movies etc
    2. It is more structured as it follows standard procedure for testing and evaluation. Eg: if more than 5 questions have options a or b marked, then type a personality. Thus, not prone to subjective judgement.
    3. It involves both qualitative and quantitave measurement eg: high on extrovertness
    Why MMPI is better than TAT :
    MMPI is pencil and paper test that uses empirical approach and has higher reliability. It has a separate validity scale to test on validity.
    TAT is a projective test wherein individuals are asked to tell stories from seeing pictures on cards. It is based on the assumption that it brings out underlying needs of an individual. Unlike mmpi :
    1. It is not completely structured
    2. It is prone to subjective interpretation. Also, It is dependent on inner state of a person which keeps varying from happiness to being sad. for eg: in a test, a person, on seeing a picture, came out with 2 different stories within an hour. One projecting pessimistic views and another one optimistic
    3. It is only a qualitative measurement.
    It is important personality tests are reliable and valid. Since TAT lacks these compared to MMPI, MMPI stands better than TAT.

    1. Focus of the answer should be on discussing what’s paper and pencil test and why MMPI is more valid. Avoid adding ideas like.. ( Eg: if more than 5 questions have options a or b marked, then type a personality. Thus, not prone to subjective judgement).. It complicates the meaning. The answer has almost appropriate structure and content

  2. Measurement of personality traits and the extent to which individuals possess the traits can be done with the help of projective and objective tests. Pencil-paper test refers to the objective and quantitative analysis of the personality traits.
    Thematic Apperception Test(TAT) and Rorschach’s inkblot test are some of the projective tests whereas personality inventories include MMPI, CPI, etc.
    Projective tests are unambiguous tests, open to interpretations. Individuals were assessed on the varying answers they provided which represented a qualitative idea of their personality. Although they proved helpful in providing a great deal of information regarding the personality dimensions, they lacked reliability and validity and were prone to a great amount of subjectivity.
    MMPI or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a widely used test initially designed to help diagnose patients with psychological disorder. MMPI was aimed to bridge the shortcomings of the projective tests on the the lines of their criticisms.
    As personality inventory is based on research finding of the characteristics of wide variety of individuals across different groups as well as it uses unambiguous and empirical data, it has overcome the issue of subjectivity of the projective tests. The psychologists don’t rely on experience and expertise to judge the personality structure of the individual as in the case of projective test.
    The next criteria were reliability, that is people had to be consistent with their answers even when tested at different times, and validity, that is the test measures the indicator that needs to be measured. MMPI was designed to have clinical scales and validity scales. To account for reliability and validity issues, validity scale was included where 3 sub-scales were added, namely Lie, Frequency and Correction scales. These aimed to reduce discrepancies in the data received by the individuals by asking them to answer questions based on socially desirable behaviour. Any unusual behavioural patterns were retested. Unanswered questions were also given great concern to report an indecisive or evasive personality characteristic.
    Therefore, MMPI has been said to be a better instrument than projective test to measure personality dimensions so that psychologists could accurately analyse the personality structures.

    1. Answer is substantial. The approach however should be more direct. .ie Try to answer directly and specifically what is paper and pencil test.. Why is it called paper and pencil test.. This aspect has not been answered adequately. Rest is almost appropriate.

  3. Personality assessment can be conducted through behavioural observations , paper pencil test and projective tests . Paper pencil test consists of statement that require a specific standardized response from the person taking the test . It tends to use an assessment in which candidate is provided with a questionnare that has standard list of questions and only require certain specific answers such as yes, no and can’t decide and no scope for open ended answers .
    TAT is a projective test that projects the certain ambiguous stimuli to the client and ask the client to respond with whatever comes to mind . The hope is that client will project the unconcious concerns onto visual stimulus which can be used to explore the client’s personality.
    MMpi or minnesota multipurpose personality inventory is one of the popular paper pencil test ie based on objective approach. It is established after testing and retesting and properly structured includes 10 clinical and 4 validity scales.
    MMPI is considered as a better instrument than TAT like projective tests for personality assessment because of :
    1. Reliablity : TAT by nature is very subjective ie vaild with person’s own perceptions . Subjects often give different responses when tested at different times.
    In MMPI everyone gets exactly the same questions and answers are scored in exactly the same way .So observer bias and bias of interpretation are not possible.

    2. Validity : Unlike MMPI which includes validity scales such as lie, frequency ,correction scales ; TAT has no standard grading scale ie it asses personality with regard to present functioning .

    Though TAT may sound somewhat outdated but somewhere they still have a practical use and validity especially when answers on these test are used as a starting point for digging deeper into client’s concerns and anxieties.

  4. Pencil Paper Test is a direct method of personality assessment wherein the subject is asked to report or rate their feelings with respect to various items. Examples of such tests are MMPI, 16PF etc. In MMPI, the subject responds as True/False on statements and 10 subscales are assessed to diagnose hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, etc.

    Projective techniques of personality assessment, on the other hand involve presenting vague stimuli/situations to the subject asking them to respond to it. Their response can uncover unconscious motives, feelings because the individual has projected them onto the situation which is unstructured in nature. TAT is one such test wherein a series of pictures are presented to the individual, and they are asked to give their own explanations for the depicted situations.

    The aim of both these assessments is to be able to measure personality and predict behavior with maximum accuracy. In this respect, the MMPI is considered superior than TAT because:

    1. Validity of interpretations:
    In TAT, the responses are subjective in nature and the scoring depends on the assessor’s way of interpreting them. Hence it is prone to biases. In contrast MMPI has only a fixed set of responses like True/False.

    2. Reliability of scoring
    TAT does not have a standard procedure to evaluate responses, whereas MMPI does. This reduces the reliability of the test.

    3. Occasionally, the subjects themselves give different responses to the test administered after an interval of time. This means that the result is dependent on how the person is feeling at that moment and it might change later. This directly contradicts the very purpose of the test which is to measure consistent behavioral patterns.

    Hence, MMPI is an empirically better way to measure personality than TAT.

  5. Paper and pencil tests are considered as objective tests of personality to measure its various dimensions along which individuals vary. These are in the form of self-report inventories where the individuals are given a set of questions or statements on paper to which they may respond in various ways. For e.g. a statement such as “I reach office late.” may be answered as “often”, “sometimes” or “never”, through which the degree of conscientiousness can be measured.

    The instruments of personality measurement such as MMPI have evolved in a manner that they have high validity (MMPI has several validity scales) and reliability (consistency in scores if administered multiple times to same people). This can be attributed to these tests being based on empirical approach to testing.
    The projective tests for personality assessment, on the other hand are based on judgmental approach i.e. involves the subjective interpretation of the assessor. That is why they are low on validity and reliabilty.

    Also paper and pencil tests can be administred to a large number of people at the same time, so they are efficient in terms of cost, time and labour. But as the projective tests are based on interpretation, these can only be administered individually and hence are not as efficient.

    So although both the instruments are deployed to measure personality, MMPI is surely a better scale in terms of validity, reliability and efficiency than TAT like projective tests.

    1. Paper pencil tests (PPTs) are a type of self report inventories which Trait theorists have used to assess personality.



      1. SUBJECT BIAS: in self report inventories, many subjects try to show themselves, consciously or unconsciously, in a better light.


      2. RIGIDITY: Close ended questionnaires like MMPI prevent nuanced answer by subjects which may fail to capture their traits.


      3. FATIGUE: Subjects may get tired of lengthy inventories and start responding randomly.

      Ex: MMPI-2- RF has 338 items





      1. EVIDENCE BASED: PPT is based on research findings on personality traits.


      2. STRUCTURED: PPTs follow standard procedure for psychological testing.


      3. OBJECTIVITY: unlike PTs, PPTs are not subject to different interpretations.


      4. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: PPTs are both qualitative and quantitative tests. Hence their results can be used in further statistical analysis.


      5. RELIABILITY: PPTs have consistency reflected in the reproducibility of results.


      6. VALIDITY: There is no way of knowing if projective tests really measure what they claim to measure. But PPTs have validity scales built into them.

      Ex: MMPI-2- RF has 9 validity scales


      7. DEGREE OF TRAITS: PPTs can rank individuals on a dimension based on the degree of the trait they possess.


      8. RESEARCH/ EXPERIMENTER BIAS: being close ended tests, PPTs are not subject to research bias.


      Due to these reasons, personality inventories like PPTs are more reliable measures of personality assessment than projective tests like TAT.

      1. Your answer is substantial. Try to be precise in presentation. Too many points of difference should be clubbed under fewer heads.

  6. Paper and Pencil tests are self-report inventories used to asses ‘possession and position’ of psychological traits in a person. In most of the cases, they consist of simple T/F questions and persons are adjudged based on ‘similarity’ of responses given by the individual and the responses given by a particular diagnostic group. Initially, developed to identify psychological disorders now is being used to test normal individuals across different psychological dimensions. Some important examples include MMPI, CPI, JMPI, 16PF etc..

    Projective tests are developed to understand the totality of behavior and tries to bring the unconscious and internal desires to the surface. Often consists of ambiguous stimuli, subjects are free to report and are not constrained. Some important examples include Rorschach’s ink bolt test, TAT, sentence completion etc..

    MMPI is traditional inventory and often considered to be more accurate than projective tests because of following reasons:

    1) Magnitude of traits: Unlike projective tests, individuals can be scored on their position in particular traits based on the responses, not just possession of traits

    2) Objectivity: Unlike projective tests which suffer from subjective interpretation, inventories are objective and is based on the responses which are collected from research findings. In case of MMPI, it has legal backing

    3) Reliability of responses: Reliability of responses given by subjects can be checked using validative scales (L,F,K) whereas there is no such provision in projective tests

    4) Validity of test: Validity of the test is well established as the questions selected for diagnosing a psychological order are prepared from extensive test and re-test scenarios by researchers on diagnostic groups

  7. paper and pencil are the personality inventories which are used to determine upto what extent a particular individual possess certain trait . These test have following characterstics :

    1. they use unambiguous stimuli which contains certain statements to which the subjects need to respond may be in the form of true or false.

    2. the results are obtained and scored on the basis of previous research findings

    some of the paper pencil test are as follows

    1. MMPI

    2. CPI

    3. THE 16 PF

    MMPI is considered as a better instrument than TAT due to the following reasons:

    1.TAT test may lead to wrong interpretation by the examiner whereas MMPI can never be interpretation bias

    2.TAT does not have any reliability scale to measure the reliability of the answer whereas in MMPI it consist of a reliable scale, so MMPI are more reliable

    3. TAT consist of set of statements which may vary from time to time but in MMPI since it only contains true/false there can be no variation

    1. Nice effort..
      Please note that TAT does not have any set of statements. Moreover, MMPI has validity scales( not reliability scale )..

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