Answering 10 questions to determine which woodland creature you most identify with can be fun. But how accurate are what we consider to be more in-depth personality tests?
Some of the most popular ones are the Myers-Briggs test, the 5 Love Languages quiz and the Enneagram test.
“I’m all for people taking assessments, but they must know what the assessment is primarily used for, and if it’s a good one or a bad one,” said Dr. Amber Abernathy, associate professor in Missouri State University’s psychology department.
Abernathy, who specializes in conscientious psychology, suggests taking the NEO PI-R. This is the standard questionnaire measure of the Big Five personality test, also known as the Five Factor Model.
Abernathy recommends using the International Personality Item Pool Representation (IPIP). It is almost identical to the original NEO PI-R, but it is free.
Abernathy uses this version for her psychology classes.
The Big Five
The Big Five consists of these personality traits:
The test results give users an assessment that shows their varying levels of each personality trait and what that means overall.
What will work best for me?
Choosing the type of personality assessment to take will largely depend on what you are using the results for.
Abernathy likes the Myers-Briggs test more than others, stating “what’s unique about Myers-Briggs is that there’s a chart that tells you who you would work well with. That can be incredibly beneficial.”
Even with these benefits, you should use the Myers-Briggs test generally, not to unravel your true personality.
Often results will differ for all mainstream personality tests if you take them more than once.
“For personality assessments, we want high levels of reliability and validity. If you have to take it again, then it isn’t a good personality test. Statistics show that the Myers-Briggs test doesn’t have good reliability,” Abernathy said.
“Popular personality tests have their place. Their use should be limited primarily to determining a field of work.”
Learn more about the psychology department