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Personality assessment refers to the estimation of one’s personality make up, that is the person’s characteristic behaviour patterns and salient and stable characteristics.
As there are different theoretical accounts of personality, and the question is how do people find out what kind of personality they have?
The methods of estimating or measuring or assessing personality vary according to the theory of personality used to develop those methods.
However, most of the psychological professionals doing personality assessment do not necessarily tie themselves to one theoretical view point only, rather they prefer to take an eclectic view of personality.
The eclectic view is a way of choosing the parts of different theories that seem to best fit a particular situation, rather than using only me theory to explain a phenomenon.
In fact, looking at behaviour from different perspectives can often bring insights into a person’s behaviour that would not easily come from taking only one perspective (Ciccarelli and Meyer, 2006).
Therefore, many of the professional Assessment of Personality doing personality assessment use different perspectives and also take on different techniques for its assessment.
It is also important to note here that personality assessment may also differ with respect to the purposes for which its is done.
For example, if the purpose is selfunderstanding, the person may select different tests/inventories, if the purpose is to classify person’s as per their personality traits a different set of tests may be useful.
Finally, if the purpose is diagnostic (clinical psychologist, counselors etc.) an entirely different set of tests may be more useful.
There are several tests/inventories which are available for the assessment of personality. Broadly, these can be grasped into one of the three categories. These are the subjective, objective and projective methods.
The subjective approach incorporates the assessment of one’s personality taking his/her work into account e.g. what he or she had done throughout his/her life.
It may also consider his/her autobiographical accounts and biographies etc.
But there is a major limitation of it that there are possibilities that the person may exaggerate his/her strengths and may minimise the account of his/her limitations and therefore we may be devoid of the true picture of personality.
In personality assessment the effort is to make the assessment free from bias of any sort both from the subject/participant (whose personality is to be assessed) and from that of the assessor.
It presents that there are so many such test/inventories whereby we can assess personality of a person objectively and these are the important tools for the purpose.
While some tests assess the surface characteristics, others uncover the underlying aspects of personality.
Among the major procedures that are in use currently, the important ones are those based on content relevance, empirical criterion keying, factor analyses, and personality theory.
Personality assessment may differ in the purposes for which they are conducted.
Personality assessment is used in the diagnosis of personality disorders by clinical and counseling psychologists, psychiatrists; and other psychological professionals.
Projective Techniques These techniques are assumed to reveal those central aspects of personality that lie in the unconscious mind of an individual.
Unconscious motivations, hidden desires, inner fears and complexes are presumed to be elicited by their unstructured nature that affect the client’s conscious behaviour.
The assignment of a relatively unstructured task is a major distinguishing feature of projective techniques.
An unstructured task is one that permits an endless range of possible responses.
The underlying hypothesis of projective techniques is that the way the test material or “structures” are perceived and interpreted by the individual, reflects the fundamental aspects of her or his psychological functioning.
In other words, the test material serves as a sort of screen on which respondents “project” their characteristic thought processes, anxieties, conflicts and needs.
Clients are shown ambiguous visual stimuli by the psychologist and are asked to Assessment of Personality tell what they see in that stimuli.
It is presumed that the client will project the unconscious concerns and fears onto the visual stimulus and thus the psychologist can interpret the responses and understand the psychodynamic underlying the problem of the client.
Tests that utilise this method are called projective tests. These tests, besides their function of exploring one’s personality, also serve as a diagnostic tool to uncover the hidden personality issues.
The history of projective techniques began in the beginning of the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci selected pupils on the basis of their attempt to find shapes and patterns in ambiguous form (Piotrowski, 1972).
In 1879, a Word association test was constructed by Gallon. Similar tests were used in clinical settings by Carl Jung.
Later, Frank (1939, 1948) introduced the term projective method to describe a range of tests which could be used to study personality with unstructured stimuli.
This way, the individual has enough opportunity to project his own personality attributes which in the course of normal interview or conversation the person would not reveal.
More specifically, projective instruments also represent disguised testing procedures in the sense that the test takers are not aware of the psychological interpretation to be made of their responses.
Rather than measuring the traits separately the attention is focused on the composite picture.
Finally, projective techniques are an effective tool to reveal the latent or hidden aspects of personality that remain embedded in the unconscious until uncovered.
These techniques are based on the assumption that if the stimulus structure is weak in nature, it allows the individual to project his/ her feelings, desires and needs that are further interpreted by the experts.
Assessment By Unqualified Persons
Examiners do not promote the use of psychological assessment tests and techniques by unqualified persons, except when such use is conducted for training purposes with appropriate supervision.
Again, it is remarkable that there are no established guidelines as to what qualifies an examiner to administer, score, and interpret assessment tests and techniques.
For example, is a single, graduate-level course that surveys all assessment tests and techniques sufficient
to qualify the person, or is supervised experience needed?
If supervised experience is needed, how long must the person be supervised or for how many administrations, scoring, and interpretations?
Are continuing education programs or professional workshops needed to maintain one’s qualifications?
The development of such guidelines would make it easier both to identify professionals who are unqualified to use a specific assessment test or technique, and for examiners and students learning the assessment test or technique, to
know whether they are competent.
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