Description: How do you feel about personality tests? If your response to this question is some version of “meh” you might want to reconsider. Aside from being a part of all introductory psychology course curricula many people view personality tests as those diversions they encounter in magazines (well, on line these days). However, it is worth considering the full extent of the industry of personality testing. Outside of the frivolous use noted above think about where and how personality tests are used. Think hard because I guarantee you that you have not thought of the full extent of their use and of the potential impacts their use have upon us. Ready for a deeper look? Ok, have a read through the article liked below that provides a brief historical overview of the uses of personality tests and provides a broader context for understanding their current (and increasing) use.
Source: Our ongoing love-hate relationship with personality tests, Kira Lussier, The Conversation.
Date: April 5, 2019
Photo Credit: Shutterstock, The Conversation
So how does the historical perspective, provided in the linked article and its linking personality testing to recent heavy concerns about the privacy of our personal data, affect your thoughts and feelings about personality tests? While individual difference psychology, where personality tests (and many other tests) come from, is typically depicted as a pragmatic sub-discipline focused upon the nuts, bolts, and minutia of measuring human characteristics, attitudes, values etc. the linked article points to a number are areas which may suggest to you a need to open a lie of ethical consideration of personality testing. Such possible questions will be of increasing importance as we move forward into a worlds (lives) of bigger and bigger data.
Questions for Discussion:
- What are personality tests supposed to do (to measure)?
- How are personality tests used by organizations and by marketers?
- What questions do you NOW feel like we should be starting to ask about personality tests?
References (Read Further):
How to cheat on personality tests and other pseudosciences, https://theconversation.com/how-to-cheat-on-personality-tests-and-other-pseudosciences-30248
Young, J. L. (2017). Numbering the mind: Questionnaires and the attitudinal public. History of the Human Sciences, 30(4), 32-53.
O’Doherty, K. C. (2017). Deliberative public opinion: Development of a social construct. History of the Human Sciences, 30(4), 124-145. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kieran_ODoherty/publication/320060783_Deliberative_public_opinion_Development_of_a_social_construct/links/5a1472d9a6fdccd697bbe689/Deliberative-public-opinion-Development-of-a-social-construct.pdf
Gould, S. J. (1996). The mismeasure of man. WW Norton & Company.
Hogan, J., Barrett, P., & Hogan, R. (2007). Personality measurement, faking, and employment selection. Journal of applied psychology, 92(5), 1270. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Barrett2/publication/5995670_Personality_Measurement_Faking_and_Employment_Selection/links/00b7d519bfe867679f000000/Personality-Measurement-Faking-and-Employment-Selection.pdf
Gibby, R. E., & Zickar, M. J. (2008). A history of the early days of personality testing in American industry: An obsession with adjustment. History of psychology, 11(3), 164. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Zickar2/publication/23562101_A_history_of_the_early_days_of_personality_testing_in_American_industry_An_obsession_with_adjustment/links/5627aaed08aee6327230d449.pdf