Personality psychology is a branch of psychology which has developed only in the past century but has rapidly spawned a host of research and followers, mostly for its interesting subject: us. Simply put, personality is what makes us, us – what makes us unique. More formally, it is the union of individual differences derived from our social and cultural experiences through time – though some psychologists purport genetics also influences personality.
In this list, we detail the 25 most popular personality tests in the world, from the ever-iconic Rorschach inkblot test to the lesser-known but commonly given Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. To properly take these tests and get a valid result, you’ll have to pay, but feel free to look for reduced versions of them online; just know they likely won’t be entirely valid. If you’re interested to learn more about yourself (and the personality tests which will help you do that), check out this list of 25 Different Personality Tests To Help You Discover Yourself.
NB: It should be known many of these tests are seriously challenged by psychologists. While nearly all have been developed by the profession, many people raise alarms about the tests’ validity and reliability. Rather than go in depth about all the criticisms, we’ve chosen to focus on the tests themselves.
Cover Image CC: Vic via Flickr
Woodworth Personal Data Sheet
Also known as the Woodworth Psychoneurotic Inventory, the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet was the first popular personality test. Originally developed during World War I to test new recruits’ susceptibility to shell shock, the test was never truly used for its original purpose; rather, it was used for general psychological understanding. As psychology was still a nascent profession at the time, most other personality tests of the era were only modifications of the WPDS.
Eysenck Personality Questionnaire
The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire is unique on this list because it purports that personality is genetically based. Thus, our personality comes from our genes and is mostly set when we are born. The test measures an individuals’ extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism and attributes a variety of subtraits to each.
Thematic Apperception Test
Believing people interpret ambiguous situations through the combination of past experiences and current desires, the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test) was initially developed to screen military servicemen and women who may be turned by the enemy. (It’s still used to screen military personnel in India.) After being shown an ambiguous image of a person, the test-taker is asked to create a story which would later be interpreted by the psychologist.
Personality and Preference Inventory (PAPI)
The PAPI (Personality and Preference Inventory) is a personality test designed primarily for companies to screen candidates for open positions. It uses two scales – the Needs scale to determine a person’s inherent tendencies and the Roles scale to determine how a person perceives him or herself in the workplace – to help in career development and diagnose work problems.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Easily the most well-known personality test in the world, the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is a self-reported questionnaire aiming to determine a person’s preferences on four spectrums: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. Based on Carl Jung’s work on personality traits, the test was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Since it’s so culturally popular, we do feel compelled to mention the test has proven to be mostly unreliable and invalid for three of the four spectrums. Only the scale which measures extraversion and introversion (meant, in this case, as where somebody derives their energy from) has shown sufficient accuracy.