There are many personality tests
used all over the world such as, the NEO-PI-R, California Psychological
Inventory, Rorschach Ink Blot Test, Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, MMPI-2,
and many more. The purpose of these tests are designed to assess personality
differences, psychological functioning, how people perceive the world, and as a
way to see into0 their unconscious mind. Throughout history, as psychology
evolved, new tests emerged and replaced the old. New theories and concepts were
thought up and then became widely accepted. The three tests that are most
interesting to me are the MMPI-2, the Rorschach Ink Blot Test,, and the

The Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory 2 was the second revised edition of the original MMPI
published in 1989. This article is from the Oxford Academic: Occupational Medicine. It is most famous
for measuring adult psychopathology. This article states that most times, this
version is found being used in mental health, medical facilities, and some
occupational settings, as well. This article expresses that the developers of
this test were Hathaway and McKinley. They used aspects such as basing test
scales on actual test items that differentiate that specific scale from the
normal group. It goes on to explain that most of the questions asked are not
about heath concerns. These questions were built in, however, to prevent those
taking it from being able to fake answers and sway the data. The second
advantage to these questions are that the MMPI-2 is based solely on research,
not the test giver’s assumptions about what each question means in relation to
personality traits. They claim that MMPI-2 results are very useful in
occupational health settings when diagnoses are unclear. An example given was
that the MMPI-2 should be able to detect malingering and could also be used to
asses a person’s psychological stability for high risk jobs (Drayton, 2009).

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This article also highlighted a few disadvantages to the MMPI-2, such as it is
a licensed test that can only be given by certain qualified individuals and
that it should not be used frequently.

The test itself is 567 true or
false questions, self reported, about someone’s psychological state. Built into
it are nine validity scales. These scales are basically able to detect defensiveness,
lying, and faking in general through carefully worded questions. These
questions are very important factors because it then allows the test giver to see
that the person was trying to deceive the test (Drayton, 2009). The test also
incorporates a lot of scales that measure mental health problems. These
questions make it clear to the psychologist what type of disorder they are
experiencing, including those of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many others.

Other scales assess personality characteristics, as well as general personality

According to the article by Mike
Drayton, the MMPI-2 was validated by using a sample of 2,600 adults. It states
that there are approximately 10,000 papers published using the MMPI-2, which is
constantly being added to the pool. Recently, a new scale was added to help
exclude symptom exaggeration which was called FBS. After this was implemented,
there were reports of very low false-positive rates.

Drayton went on to explain key
research from Nordin et al.This study
consisted of 307 females and 161 male patients with chronic pain. The
researchers then administered the MMPI-2 to each person. After all the data had
been examined, they found there was a strong relationship between a reported
pain disorders and conversion disorder. They suggested that this was very
important because it gave medical personnel better insight to the type of
treatment is best suited for them, medical or psychological (Drayton, 2009).

The next test of interest the Rorschach Test.

According to the paper by James
Wood, The Rorschach Inkblot Test was called an x-ray of the mind in the 1940s.

People during these times thought the tests allowed psychologists to look into
the unconscious. This test included color and black and white ink blots that a
person looks at and describes what they see. Most times, the proctor of the
test will suggest something the person may see, so it may not be very valuable
at describing a person’s personality. Although that claim was abandoned, in
1997, a man by the name of John Exner was said to have ‘revived’ the Rorschach
Test (Wood, 1999). Wood examines this test with the hopes of answering the
question, “Is it true that the Rorschach is the ‘single most powerful
psychometric instrument ever envisioned?'” (Wood, pg. 341, 2009).

Wood discusses how the norms for
the Rorschach Test were developed for the Comprehensive System, which provides
indicators for schizophrenia and depression. This article says that these norms
coined from the adult Comprehensive System are based off of a sample of 700
individuals (Wood, 1999). This is alarming because other tests have samples
sizes of 1,000+ people. Wood also argues that these tests are not as up to date
as other personality tests of this time. Wood also finds an issue with the
children’s norms of the Comprehensive System because the information is dated
and that if there were less than 14 responses, the test was invalid. This was a
problem because normative samples of a certain age group of children shrank
immensely (Wood, 1999). Lastly, Wood talks about the cultural sensitivity of
Rorschach norms because there are no base lines for American minorities, such
as African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, ect.. This factor is extremely
important because American minorities and non-Americans score differently on
this test. If there is no normative data, then how can these people be scored
in the same manner?

Wood also examined the test- retest
reliability of the Comprehensive System by reviewing all 12 books and articles
by Exner et al. They found that the
reason these researchers reported a high test- retest reliability was because
they kept reporting for the same 40 variables again and again. The article
includes tables taken from Exner et al.’s
work that show the test retest reliability coefficients that were reported in
his books, as well as a table of test- retest reliability coefficients that were
unreported in his works (Wood, 1999). This is extremely important to note
because a lot of these coefficients are missing or unexplained throughout all
of the scholarly articles. This shows how unreliable the Rorschach Ink Blot
Test is.

Next, the author examines the
validity of the Rorschach Test and then compares it to the MMPI. A
meta-analysis was done by Hiller, which led him to finding a few unsettling findings
about the ink blot test. The first was that the validity coefficients of the
MMPI were .37 and .26 for the Rorschach, which does not support the null
hypothesis, like Exner claimed it did (Wood, 1999). The second issue is that
the Rorschach did not correlate very high with self report methods. Hiller also
found at this time that there were no correlations with other projective tests
and that they did not correlate well with psychiatric diagnoses (Wood, 1999).

This was an important finding because this research supports poor concurrent
validity of the Rorschach Test.

Lastly, the final aspect Wood
researched is the factor structure of the Rorschach. Most people have heard
rumors that the number of responses you give, influences the score you receive.

The problem with this is that the number of responses is usually associated
with education, intelligence, and socioeconomic status. Another study Wood had
nit-picked is by Meyers, who concluded that the largest factor defined by the
Rorschach Test is R. In this case, R accounted for about 50% of the common
variance in scores (Wood, 1999). In other words, the R score is more often than not inconsistent with the meaning of the
variables. The last test of interest is the NEO-PI-R.

Costa and McCrae were the first
people to develop the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI). The first tests were
designed specifically for adults, but it was found that college- aged young
adults could also utilize this test, they just had a separate set of norms. The
newly revised one NEO-PI-R, is now able to be used on children as young as 10
years old. In order to test out this newly revised instrument, Costa and McCrae
administered it to high school students. They were instructed to leave any
question blank that they did not understand. These results showed that 98% of
the questions were answered. This posed and issue because the test had some
difficult vocabulary that even most adults would not understand.

After it’s revision, the NEO-PI-R
had two versions available: S (self-report) and R (observer ratings). Because
of this, it was necessary to change both instruments so they almost combined
the two. This is advantageous over a self report because simultaneously
selecting items across two reporting forms is almost cross-validation, which
then reduces the possibility for capitalizing on chance. The second advantage
to this new test is that many participants were pairs of siblings who rate
themselves and each other, which allows for the examination cross-observer
validity related to the NEO-PI-R (Robert, 2005).  In McCrae et
al.’s paper, it goes on to describe their study. It includes 536 people
ranging in age from 14 to 20. They performed tests screening for validity using
the criteria specified in the NEO-PI-R (Robert, 2005). These participants were
all involved in a previous study and an effort to involve siblings within the
specified age range was emphasized.

During this study, the NEO-PI-R
test was used. This test consists of 240 questions that assess for 30 specific
traits. Specifically, there are 6 for these 5 categories: Neuroticism (N),
Extraversion (E), Openness to Experience (O), Agreeableness (A), and
Contentiousness (C). Each question is worth 5 points and answers can range from
strongly disagree to strongly agree. In addition to the NEO-PI-R test,
participants were asked to complete other questionnaires about their personal
well-being (Robert, 2005). From this data, it was concluded that the NEO-PI-R
was negatively related to subjective well-being, but E, A, and C are all
positively related. McCrae et al.

finished their paper stating that the problematic questions that pertained to
vocabulary were accurately identified within this study and what questions
overlapped each other.

            There’s no doubt in my mind that at
some point in time, each of these tests was all psychology could talk about. As
time went on, a better understanding of psychology and the mind evolved and a
new test would replace the old one. In my opinion, the MMPI-2 is the best choice
out of the three I have discussed. I think it is important because it has
psychometric measures in place as well as extensive scales that measure ten
different aspects of your personality. The Rorschach Ink Blot Test is debatably
the worst of the three because the process is guided through suggestion. The
validity and reliability is deeply questioned by most. Consequently, there are
not very many psychologists who utilize the Rorschach Test because of all the
skepticism surrounding it. The MMPI-2 was created to assess psychological
function and psychopathology, whereas the NEO-PI-R only assesses personality
traits in respect to their peers (Morasco, 2007). In terms of validity, the
MMPI-2 and NEO-PI-R are virtually the same. Still today people question the
reliability and validity of every test imaginable. All in all, the Rorschach
Ink Blot test is the least reliable, followed by the NEO-PI-R in terms of what
the test is assessing, and then the MMPI-2 because it assesses specifically the
psychopathology and psychological functioning, rather than the overall

            In conclusion, the Rorschach Test was
widely accepted for a period of time, but then people became skeptic. The
NEO-PI-R is a useful instrument that assesses different personalities in the 5
main domains. This is particularly important because it compares a person’s
personality scores in each category compared to other people in the same
region, have the same gender, age group, and education. Finally, the MMPI-2 is
a tool that is used very often worldwide. It is composed of 10 different scales
that assess for personality disorders as well and psychopathology. Both the
NEO-PI-R and the MMPI-2 implement procedures to limit the ability to lie on
these assessments, as well. All in all, these tests are a very important part
of history and define the psychological community today.

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