Are personality tests valid and reliable

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

The problem with Personality tests

I still remember how i used to react 15 years ago when i took personality tests. I was so eager to know more about myself and i felt kinda scared while taking them because i didn't want to find out that i have problems with my personality.

I get so many emails from people who describe how bad they felt after the personality test they took returned bad personality traits. This is why i felt compelled to discuss that topic in an article in order to let people know how reliable personality tests are.

The other problem with the results of a personality test is that once a person treats the findings like facts he tends to prove them true.

In a previous article with the title you get what you focus on i explained how you can actually fulfill a false prophecy by just believing in it. If for example the test told you that you don't have enough courage then you might end up being more afraid to take new challenges and as a result that belief might turn from a theory into a solid fact.

So back to our question, are these tests reliable?

The complexity of a human personality

The human personality is too complex. You can meet hundreds of people yet never find two people having the same identical personality. Even identical twins, who usually share a lot of things, develop in their own unique way in such a way that each of them forms a different personality.

In my previous article How to analyze someone's personality i explained how behavioral snapshots are anything but accurate in judging others. You can't for example assume that a person is showy just because he engaged in a showy behaviour in a certain situation.

And even if that person repeated that same showy behaviour in many occasions you can't still consider him showy before other behaviors confirm your original assumption. I said earlier that 10 people can drive convertible cars while only one of them might be showy. The other 9 might be doing that behaviour for a totally different reason.

In addition to all this you need a very large amount of input data in order to understand a prerson's motives perfectly. Now as you might have concluded it would be very hard to come up with a personality test that puts these facts into consideration.

In addition to that many personality tests ignore the current state you are in. The psychological state you are in at a certain moment will determine to a great extent the answers you will give. In other words if you took that test while feeling bad then probably you will come up with totally different results than if you took it while you are in a good mood. See how your emotions change your perception of the world.

Also most personality tests are so linear. They work by assuming that one plus one equals two without understanding that a human personality is anything but linear. Some behaviors depend on others, some behaviors are symptoms of other ones while some behaviors result from certain subconscious goals that can't be easily figured out with a simple test.

In short, most personality tests will be very primitive to put those factors, in addition to many others, into consideration.

What personality tests might get right

Personality tests can be accurate when they measure one simple trait. For example the Type A/Type B personality test can be very accurate in most cases because it measures one simple trait.

A self confidence personality test on the other hand can bring totally wrong results. After all self confidence is divided into different areas and a person can be very confident in one area but still lack confidence in another one.

So a personality test that tells you that you are either confident or not might not be accurate at all. I encourage you to take personality tests only if you understand their limitations and if you are not the kind of person who can believe in a wrong theory then turn it into a reality.

So how to understand your personality perfectly?
Read more about psychology and do the analysis yourself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

2knowmyself is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

Want to know more?

Understanding people's personality

Do we inherit our personality

How to know someone's personality

How to get over anyone in few days (book)

How to make anyone fall in love with me fast (book)

How to end Depression instantly (book)

How to control people's minds (Course)

How to develop rock solid self confidence fast (course)

Hundreds of Psychology Videos

2knowmyself Best Selling Books

How to make someone fall in love with you.
Based on the psychology of falling in love

How to get over anyone in few days
Breakups will never hurt like before.

How i became a dot com millionaire
The ultimate guide to making money from the internet