The Big Five and Personality

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Everyone has a different personality. There are no two people who are exactly alike, and there are loads of diverse ways to describe someone. You're exuberant, quiet, shy, excitable, enigmatic, detailed, controlling, aggressive, optimistic, nagging, opportunist, and so on and so forth. While there are many adjectives to explain what a person is like, there is a model in which many people have come to accept as a way to determine how a person is. It is the Big Five Model.

The Big Five Model measures out five different traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The Big Five Model is based off of a lexical approach, meaning that if there is a personality trait that is really important to people, it will be used more often in conversation, and there will be more synonyms for it. Everybody scores differently on each level of each trait, and different combinations make for different people. I personally score rather high on all of them except for Neuroticism. I was able to find out my scores through the Berkley Personality Profile.

The Berkley Personality Profile is just one way that people can test themselves though. Another test that is used is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which is the most extensively researched structured personality test. (Lillenfeld, pg 567) While this test is not exactly used to determine how extraverted or open you are, it is most commonly used to assess mental disorders and their symptoms. If you wanted a test that was more for the layman, the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) would be much more appropriate as it is primarily used to test traits such as flexibility, sociability, and dominance.

There are many other ways that one can determine the sort of personality they have. While many are inaccurate, they exist, and many people like to take them as truth. If you search for it on Google, you can easily find many links to hundreds of various personality tests. Chances are many of them have been based off of the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a type of personality test that puts takers into four different cateogories: Introversion-Extraversion, Sensing-Intuiting, Thinking-Feeling, and Judging-Perceiving. That makes for a total of 16 different personality types that one can be placed in. I have taken many of these tests in the past, mostly due to boredom, and many times, I have gotten ENTJ as my personality type. While I may have gotten the same result many times over an extended period of time, that does not apply to many people. This type of personality testing is actually not very valid because most people do not score the same personality type when they retake the test months later. (Lillenfeld, pg. 570)

However, none of these tests can claim to be absolutely accurate of being able to determine the type of person someone is. Despite that though, while some (or one) of these tests can not be completely valid, they all give a good general idea of who you are. What my question is though, is are all of these tests necessary? As a human being, do we need to be able to figure out who we are exactly? Or is it better to let it be, and to try to understand ourselves on our own without numbers, explanations, and figures telling us things that could possibly only be restricting?

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This page contains a single entry by ngoxx089 published on November 20, 2011 6:42 PM.

Standardized Testing: Pros and Cons was the previous entry in this blog.

IQ Testing and Standardized Testing is the next entry in this blog.

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