Objective Personality Testing

By Dr. Monique Marie Chouraeshkenazi  Photo Source: Adrienne’s Pen

By Dr. Monique Marie Chouraeshkenazi

Photo Source: Adrienne’s Pen

  Projective assessments are testing instruments that are based on images, words, and/or scenes, may or may not be conducive to competency court hearings. Such tests are used to examine an individual’s personality through ambiguous stimuli to provoke internal emotions, behaviors, and traits (Aylward & Jeffries, 2008). Today, I’m discussing personality tests, which are used to assess an individual’s characteristics, traits, strengths, talents, and so forth. I took both personality tests and I do not know if I find the first test (Jung’s typology test) to match my persona, but I found the type A/B test to be somewhat accurate. 

          Clinical assessments are fundamental, yet important testing tools used to examine an individual’s psyche and/or psychological processes (American Public University System [APUS], 2018). This week’s lesson states there are differences with clinical assessments; they are formal in nature, assessments are scheduled meetings between the client and psychologist, and serves a specific purpose (Kadushin, 1983). Because clinical assessments are formal obligations between the interviewer and interviewee, there are confidentiality agreements that should be signed because the information divulged could be health-related, personal, and/or a serious offense, which the clinician would not be obligated to disclose. Additionally, clinical assessments are somewhat structured and requires specific information to be discussed. 

            Because clinical assessments are formal settings between the interviewer and interviewee, I believe there would be some limiting factors with using personality assessments. Structured interviews “seek to increase the validity and reliability of diagnostic procedures” (APUS, 2018, para. 18). Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers created the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator, a questionnaire that is predicated on people’s psychological inclinations and how they make decisions. Their work is derived from Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic theory. Like projective assessments, I do not find personality assessments to provide reliable, valid, and credible information for a psychologist to evaluate an individual’s temperament and/or diagnosis. Psychologist, Dr. John A. Johnson (2011) stated that personality tests are based on self-reporting and self-representation and if such tests were to be used for employment purposes or anything in official capacity, then certain information would have to be revised to mitigate disclosing information that is protected. Additionally, he expressed that such tests identify behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and patterns that are acknowledged by people who know an individual. Such tests are not necessarily conducive for assessments of those who do not know an individual.   

          The primary reason clinical assessments are conducted are to determine if a person has psychological and behavior disorders (American Psychological Association [APA], 2018). I had to complete four clinical assessments while I was in the military. Service members are required to take a test to determine if they are fit for deployment. My first assessment was a week before I deployed (last minute as I had to take someone else’s deployment spot). I took another assessment about 60 days after my deployment and then two annual assessments before I was cleared of not having any mental and/or behavioral issues. For something as serious as clinical assessments, I do not believe personality assessments would be intuitive. 

  Projective and personality assessments would be best served as supplemental tools in addition to other tests that would be considered a valid and credible source. I also shared an article where Rent-A-Center was sued by the Americans with Disability Act because they used the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory assessment as a factor on employees for promotion. The information within the assessment disclosed mental health issues, such as depression, emotional issues, and other psychosis. The employees believed the test was a factor for denial of promotion and so did ADA. The article did not give much background of the leadership within RAC, but it is evident that they did not have sufficient personnel (such as I/Os) to review the personality test and see it would be legally feasible within an organization, especially a tool that would be used to determine career advancement. Even though the MMPI test seems to be a credible psychological assessment, it became a legal controversy when an organization used it as “personality” test when it was essentially it is a test used for “medical”purposes. Additionally, a test that could be used to prove competency and/or psychological disorders. 

            I believe the personality would be a good source for a psychologist getting to know a new client (in the primary stages of therapy). As I mentioned in another class, I do not remember taking any personality tests when I had to see a psychologist pre-and post my combat deployment to Afghanistan. I do not believe I participated in any projective assessments either,  but believe it would be a good starting point for a psychologist to build a rapport with a new client to get a generalized perspective of the individual. Daw (2001) stated that there are psychological assessments to be as credible as medical tests. She emphasized the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, the Thematic Apperception Test, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist and other neurological and cognitive tests “produce medium to large effect sizes, as do medical tests such as Pap smears, mammography, MRIs and EKGs” (2001, para. 8). Understanding there are experts that could prove such tests are as reliable as medical tests, then I believe that would be a better alternative than using a personality assessment as a sole or primary tool to comprehend an individual’s temperament.

Even though I find assessments useful, I do not believe they were be considered credible for court-related issues (not even the structured). Just like projective assessments, if psychological experts chose to use personality assessments in a court hearings, there should be additional testing and other factors to show an overall perspective. I found an article where a court slammed for using a personality test within an organization. An American with Disabilities Act lawsuit was filed in 2005 against a retail store. They had a requirement where prospects had to complete nine tests, including a personality as a prerequisite for promotions. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory assessment was what the brothers used within the company and it was examined that the test did not only assess personality traits, but information to determine if an individual suffered from "depression, hysteria, hypochondriasis, paranoia and mania" (Boyette, 2008). Those who were not promoted argued that the that psychological and behavioral history was revealed was a result of denying their career advancement. Because the test influenced those decisions, it was a violation of ADA. Issues like this could be avoided if more companies hire industrial psychologists. There was not much information on the who was responsible for hiring, but it is clear that they did not have a background in mental health or even psychology to understand this would not be an appropriate test to give employees and additional measures would need to be taken if personality assessments are factors in career advancement.

 I found an article on personality assessments and that such assessments are predicated on four temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. A person that is perceived to have a "sanguine" personality are considered outgoing, sociable, and interactive. They have difficult time "sitting still" and are constantly involved in social events and projects. They are comfortable in this atmosphere and are known for being risk takers. Choleric individuals are considered to be extroverted like sanguines. They are very goal-oriented, are good at making decisions, and like to be in leadership positions. They are logical-thinking and focused people.

          Melancholic people are thought-seekers, goal oriented, and analytical. They are not as social and do not like to be in crowds often. They like to work alone and are very independent. Sometimes they are anxious and reserved ("The Four Temperaments," n.d.). However, they strive for independent excellence, which exudes their personal capabilities. Finally, phlegmatic individuals are very quiet, easy-going and chill and are very emphatic with others. They try to hid their emotions, but are generalized individuals that have a logical look on life. 

Alyward, G. P. & Jeffries, L. M. (2008). Screening and assessment tools. Science Direct: 

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. Retrieved from 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323040259500106 (accessed on 13 August 2018). 

American Psychological Association. (2018). Understanding psychological testing and 

assessment. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/assessment.aspx (accessed on 13 August 2018). 

American Public University System. (2018). PSYC502 – Week 7 Lesson. Retrieved from 

https://edge.apus.edu/portal/site/387829/tool/6156a533-ceaf-4256-84eb-b640bfd94f56/ShowPage?returnView=&studentItemId=0&backPath=&errorMessage=&clearAttr=&source=&title=&sendingPage=2169525&newTopLevel=false&postedComment=false&addBefore=&itemId=7313709&path=push&addTool=-1&recheck=&id= (accessed on 13 August 2018). 

Boyette, M. (2008). Court rules personality test runs afoul of Americans with Disability Act. Rapid Learning Institute. Retrieved from https://rapidlearninginstitute.com/blog/personality-test-runs-afoul-ada/ (accessed on 17 August 2018). 

Daw, J. (2001). Psychological assessments shown to be as valid as medical tests. 

            American Psychological Association. Retrieved from 

http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug01/psychassess.aspx (accessed on 18 August 2018). 

"The Four Temperaments." (n.d.). Retrieved from http://fourtemperaments.com/4-primary-temperaments/ (accessed on 17 August 2018). 

Johnson, J. A. Dr. (2011). Frequently asked questions about personality testing. 

Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cui-bono/201109/frequently-asked-questions-about-personality-testing (accessed on 13 August 2018). 

Kadushin, A. (1983). The social work interview. (2ndEd). New York: Columbia University Press.

Dr. Monique Chouraeshkenazi