Types of Personality Tests

It is interesting to think that your personality can actually be tested and categorized with some precision, and the tools used to do it are simply referred to as personality tests.  If you are studying for the EPPP you probably have a general understanding of personality tests already, but an in depth review of the different types of personality tests will be useful, and this post will cover a few other tests as well that don’t really fit into the category of either personality or intelligence tests.

The topic of Assessment and Diagnosis is weighted fairly high at 14%, so you will want to ensure you have a firm grasp of the concepts being reviewed. The information is best used in collaboration with your own knowledge and what you have already been taught, your previous notes or textbooks, and research if you need more information on a particular topic.  Or you could check out the product reviews page for additional study material options.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Otherwise known as the MMPI, is probably the most well known personality test and falls in the category of objective personality tests. Developed by Starke R. Hathaway and J.C. McKinley in 1943, and it is a self-report measure of true and false questions. It has been revised a few times with the MMPI-2 being published in 1989, and the MMPI-2-RF (Restructured From) released in 2008.  One of the reasons why the MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF are used so regularly is because of the psychometric testing involved and statistical analysis to increase validity (it utilizes T scores with a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10 which you can read more about in the statistics portion of the study guide).  There are a total of 567 questions which can be broken down into 10 clinical scales, and high scores on these scales may indicate potentially problematic areas for the individual (although the tool is utilized just for assessment, application is dependent on the clinician and client).

  1. Hypochondriasis (HS): 32 items regarding concerns with bodily symptoms, and a personality that is pessimistic, egocentric and immature.
  2. Depression (D): 57 items regarding depressive symptoms, and a personality characterized by low self-esteem, guilt, and indecisiveness.
  3. Hysteria (Hy): 60 items regarding an individuals awareness of their own vulnerabilities, and a personality characterized by low social inhibition and high demand for affection.antisocial personality
  4. Psychopathic Deviate (Pd): 50 items regarding an individuals respect for rules and anger and conflict, with a personality characterized by manipulative, hostile and impulsive behaviors.
  5. Masculinity/Femininity (MF): 56 items regarding stereotypical masculine or feminine behaviors or interests, and a personality that separates males from females.  For example females that score high on the scale tend to be more confident, but low scores tend to be more passive.
  6. Paranoia (PA): 40 items regarding an persons trust and suspiciousness, and a personality that can include mistrust of others and sensitivity.
  7. Psychasthenia (Pt): 48 items regarding anxiety, obsessiveness, and tension, with a personality characterized by ruminating thoughts and self-doubt.
  8. Schizophrenia (Sc): 78 items regarding social alienation and odd thinking, with a personality that displays anywhere from emotional alienation and disorganization to unusual thinking and hallucinations.
  9. Hypomania (Ma): 46 items regarding level of excitability, and a personality that displays grandiosity, impulsiveness, and flight of ideas.
  10. Social Introversion (Si): (known as scale 0) has 69 items regarding the way an individual orientates toward people, and a personality characterized by shy, low confidence, and passive personality.

The MMPI-2 and MMPI-RF significantly increased it’s validity by including specific validity scales which are embedded with the test, used to test inconsistent responding, exaggerating, or minimizing.

  • CNS Scale: Known as the “Cannot Say” scale and assesses questions not answered.
  • L Scale: Knows as the lie scale, and assesses if the client is “faking good”
  • F Scale: Known as the infrequency scale, and assesses if the client is “faking bad” (if first half of test)
  • K Scale: Known as the defensiveness scale, and assesses denial
  • Fb Scale: Similiar to the F scale but in the second half of the test.
  • VRIN Scale: The Variable Response Inconsistency, and assesses if the client is answering similiar (or opposite) questions inconcistently.
  • TRIN Scale: True Response Inconsistency, assesses if answering all question true or all false.
  • F-K Scale: Assesses for the clients honesty on the test.
  • S Scale: The Superlative Self-Presentation, which is similar to the K Scale and assesses if “appearing excessively good”
  • Fp Scale: The psychopathology scale and assesses frequency of presentation in a clinical setting
  • Fs Scale: Infrequent Somatic Response, assesses if over reporting somatic symptoms.

There are also many supplementary scales including ones that assess for marital distress, ego strength, repression scale, dominance scale, Type A scale, addictions potential, and anxiety scale to name a few.  Also the MMPI-2-RF introduced the PSY-5 scale (or the Big 5 personality measures) which include assessment for agressiveness, psychoticism, constraint, neuroticism and extraversion.

Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory

Currently in it’s 4th edition and referred to as the MCMI-IV, which was released in 2015.  The original version was developed by Theodore Millon and published in 1977 to reflect the then Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the DSM-III).  It has been updated consistently to keep up to the most current version of the DSM (which is now on version DSM-V).  This is another objective personality test.

It contains 195 true and false items and take about 30 minutes to complete, and is really designed for those that already display certain pathological conditions as it can be unreliable in non-pathological clients and exaggerate certain symptoms.  It consists of 5 validity scales, 15 personality scales, and 10 clinical scales.

Personality Scales:

  • 1-Schizoid
  • 2A-Avoidant
  • 2B-Melancholic
  • 3-Dependent
  • 4A-Histrionic
  • 4B-Turbulant
  • 5-Narcissistic
  • 6A-Antisocial
  • 6B-Sadistic
  • 7-Compulsive
  • 8A-Negativistic
  • 8B-Masochistic

And Severe Personality Pathology includes:

  • S-Schizotypal
  • C-Borderline
  • P-Paranoid

Clinical Syndrome Scales:

  • A-Generalized Anxiety
  • H-Somatic Symptom
  • N-Bipolar Disorder
  • D-Persistent Depression
  • B-Alcohol Use
  • T-Drug Use
  • R-Post-Traumatic Stress

Severe Clinical Syndrome

  • SS-Thought Disorder
  • CC-Major Depression
  • PP-Delusional Disorder

Validity Scales:

  • V-Validity Scale (random response)
  • W-Inconsistency Scale
  • X-Disclosure Scale
  • Y-Desirability Scale
  • Z Debasement ScaleRorschach

Rorschach

Unlike the other 2 test mentioned the Rorschach test is a projective test, and the idea behind this is that when a stimuli is presented in an unstructured fashion it allows for the individual to project from their unconscious onto the stimuli, and thereby reveal what their inner conflicts or wishes may be.  As a tool to diagnose schizophrenia the inkblots were developed by Hermann Rorschach (who has an uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt) in 1921, who then died suddenly at the age of 37 in 1922. After his death John E. Exner expanded on Rorschach’s work to include personality testing and developed the Rorschach Comprehensive System (RCS) for scoring. In 2011 the R-PAS (Rorschach Performance Assessment System) was released which decreases variability among examiners and simplifies the procedures while being evidence based. The dimensions scored on include:

  • Rorschach blotContent-the category of the response
  • Location-the area of the inkblot that illicit’s the response
  • Form Quality- how accurately it relate to the inkblot form
  • Developmental Quality- the degree of integration of each response

Other Non-Personality Tests

There are a few assessments and test that don’t fall into any other category to form their own post, so they will be mentioned here instead.

The Vineland: Used to assess intellectual disability (an IQ lower than 70).  It specifies the area where there appears to be a deficit such as social, academic, or practical.  It also takes into account the environment and where the disability may be more or less pronounced, such as home vs school.

Achievement Tests: There are a variety of achievement tests (such as the WRAT4 or WIAT) which can be used to assess specific learning disorders when an ability is well below what would be expected at a specific age.  For example a a reading disability may be determined if a grade 7 student reads at a grade 2 level.  A specific learning disorder is different than an overall intellectual disability , and is typically characterized by a standard deviation of 1.5 or more below the norm.

Neuropsychological Tests: The purpose of these tests is to assess the impact of brain damage from conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or head trauma.  It assess more areas than the typical intelligence tests to include motor, perceptual, memory, verbal and cognitive functioning.  Some tests are designed to assess the patient’s entire functioning like the Halstead Reitan, Luria Nebraska, Folstein Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE).  While other tests focus on one specific domain or area such as the Wechsler Memory Scale, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Stroop Test, and the Bender Visual-Mostor Gestalt Test.

***There are definitely some Personality Tests that are not listed here, and it is not necessary to know them all as this could be a waste of precious studying time.  it is useful however to know the difference between a real scientific and evidence based personality test versus a made up questionnaire with little to no empirical evidence or support (as there are many of those out there).  Can you think of any important to know personality tests that may not be listed here?  Or maybe questions on specific practice exam questions you have come across?  Is there anything of particular interest you find about the practice exams listed? Please comment below as engagement is very helpful in your studying endeavors. 

You may find the information on this site is not enough to help you feel confident about your ability to pass the exam, That is OK and only you can be the judge of what you need. If this information seems overwhelming to you it does NOT mean you will fail the exam, but you may require a little more in depth material than is offered here. That is why there is a Product Reviews page which will give you a variety of additional options, as well as practice exam questions which I highly recommend as explained on the Study Tips page.

2 thoughts on “Types of Personality Tests

  1. Hey Joy,

    Thanks for sharing about personality tests, I’ve never tried the MMPI myself but it does sounds like a good one, I’ll be sure to check it out when later.

    The best personality test I know is Carl Jung’s 16 Personality Type, I’m a little surprised it’s not listed as I heard a lot of people recommend it. Personally, I also have a great experience at better understanding myself after taking the test. I’d love to know what you think about it?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Anh

    1. Hi Anh, thanks for such a great question. The MBTI is based on Jung theories and is very closely related to the 16 personality types. Often the online tests are interesting, and may be even quite accurate. But if they have not been tested and gone through statistical analysis to see if they are reliable and valid, then we as psychologists have to to be cautious about administering them. For as many personality tests are out there, there are actually a limited number that meet the same high criteria of validity and reliability that the ones listed above are. But for fun and personal interest online personality tests claiming to be based on the 16 personality types are absolutely fine.

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