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The Validity Of Personality Tests Essay

630 words - 3 pages

The Validity of Personality TestsWhen looking online for a personality test, I came across one in which the test itself suited my character. It was titled, "Which Cartoon Character Are You?" The test was structured efficiently and humorously just as is my approach to most aspects of my life. The test consists of multiple choice questions with answers that are each given different values unbeknownst to the subject. When the subject finishes, the test adds up your point total and according to predetermined value ranges, then they are given a cartoon character. There are five different cartoon characters one can receive consisting of TAZ, Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Pepe Le Pew, and Speedy Gonzales. Each character has different character traits and a personality description, and depending on what character they are given, ...view middle of the document...

" This description seemed to fit my lifestyle and attitude very accurately. However, I recalled there only being five characters to be selected from and this means that the descriptions are very general. My description is definitely broad as not many people take chances at losing best friends and staying clear from backstabbers. This is known as the "Barnum effect." This effect is when the conclusions from the test are made to fit a general group of people so that every subject believes the test to be accurate.Before I concluded that the test was invalid, I read the other four test results. I discovered that each result was an acceptable fit to my personality and lifestyle. This finding could just be because I have an open-minded personality and because I hang out with many different genres of people. To overcome this inaccurate assumption, I had my friends take the same personality test. The results collaborated with my earlier discoveries as five out of five of my friends stated that their results were accurate and the other possible characters fit them just as well. This allowed me to conclude that the "Barnum effect" was taking place and the test results were too general to interpret a subject's personality accurately on an individual level.The test's author is James J. Messina, Ph.D. It was found on a website that was supposed to have "tools for coping with life's stressors". The author appeared to be very credible in his psychology work and studies; however, I believe this test to be a form of entertainment rather than a method of interpreting a one's personality. My conclusions from my personal results and my friend's results show that the "Barnum effect" is definitely in occurrence. This shows that while the test is quite entertaining, in terms of a scientific-based personality test with accurate results and descriptions, it is definitely invalid.Works CitedJames J. Messina, Ph.D. Tools for Coping with Life's Stressors. May 2001.

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