olso6175: November 2011 Archives

Personality Tests

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Personality tests are very helpful to scientists , but creating accurate tests is a challenge. The most common personality tests are structured personality tests, which ask respondents to answer in one of a few fixed ways. The most extensively researched structured personality test is the MMPI. The MMPI uses an empirical method of test construction, which means the test is built with two or more criterion groups, and then items are examined to determine which best distinguish the groups. The MMPI is considered very reliable, but it still has it's problems.
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Another way of constructing tests is the rational/theoretical method, in which developers begin with a clear-cut conceptualization of a trait and then write items to assess that conceptualization. The NEO-PI-R uses this approach and has demonstrated good validity, but not all rational/theoretical tests display this validity. A good example is the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator.
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The Meyers-Briggs test is given several million times a year. I myself have taken this test in my school multiple times and my counselors consider it a helpful tool in life decisions. Many companies give the test to predict job performance and satisfaction. There are many versions of the test available online. These websites tell you they can help your life, because the tests tell you what you should be doing to make yourself happy. According to the video below the Meyers-Briggs test is the most well established personality test in the world!

How accurate are these tests really? According to out text book, "Most respondents don't obtain the same MBTI personality type on retesting only a few months later, and MBTI scores don't relate in especially consistent ways to either the Big Five or measures of job preferences". So why do people still take the Meyers-Briggs test, and put such faith in it? I think people like the idea of having their personality labeled. We as humans like things to be organized and understandable. The Meyers-Briggs test allows us to clearly identify ideas about ourselves without thinking too much about it. But because the test seems to be so inaccurate, I think people should be more educated on the reality of its invalidity. I also think companies should use different methods to determine personality.

True Love?

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Our society is constantly bombarded with stories of love. The relationships of the famous, movies, books, and our friends surround and envelop us with the idea of "true love." For example, one of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In this novel two of the main characters, Elizabeth and Darcey, fall into a love that is totally pure and unconditional. All they want to do is spend the rest of their lives together.

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In our text book, it is described how love is studied scientifically. We like people depending on their proximity (physical nearness), their similarities, and reciprocity (give and take) to ourselves. There is also the fact that we do judge a book by it's cover, a person has to be physically attractive for us to pursue them. There is also the triangular theory of love proposed by Robert Sternberg, that proposes that love consists of intimacy, passion, and commitment.

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These ideas break love down into a very clear manner, but it makes me wonder, can love be this simple and scientific? I don't want to believe it is, but I know myself to be a romantic. I think there are other parts of love that can't be explained by science. For example, the textbook says that passionate love (love marked by powerful, even overwhelming, longing for one's partner) tends to change to companionate love (love marked by a sense of deep friendship) as the relationship progresses. What about those people that seem just as passionate as when they first started the relationship? I don't think love can be boxed and tied up neatly. I think there are other variables to love that will can't be described, but I am also interested to see what information about the idea of love will be discovered in the future.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by olso6175 in November 2011.

olso6175: October 2011 is the previous archive.

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