Resolving the conflict of Reliability vs. Accuracy in the 16 PF test
For psychologists, one of the more popular theories espoused is the trait approach to personality, or “the idea that people have consistent personality characteristics that can be measured and studied” (Kalat, 2002, 512). However there are several problems that arise. First, there are significant cross-cultural differences, so one set of personality traits for one culture may differ considerably for another. The next problem would concern the creation of a test that could accurately measure these traits. While psychologists have for the most part addressed these issues, I will focus on the latter of the two. There has been a number of multiple personality tests put to use such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), the Rorschach Inkblots and others. In our class we were instructed to take the 16 PF personality test in which we would judge for ourselves how accurate the test was based on our own personal experiences. In judging the usefulness of this test we took into consideration its reliability and validity. For a test to be reliable it must be able to accurately reflect consistent results for various people that can be agreed upon by researchers and therapists alike. Reliability in turn relates to validity. To be valid a test must be dependable producing data that can be used to detect a mental illness or otherwise certain personality dimensions within psychologically healthy individuals. Furthermore personality tests must be standardized, having data capable of being “interpreted in a prescribed fashion” (Kalat, 2002, 528). These standards are based on a comparison of a large number of people who have taken the test, one group with a particular disorder and another group who consist of the normal range. These allow researchers to identify people who score within a certain range to be more typical of a particular disorder. While the 16 PF personality test meets these criteria, whether or not the test is accurate remains to be explored. Within the next couple of pages I will describe the results of the test and discuss whether or not the data is an accurate reflection of my own personality.
Discussion and Interpretation of Scores:
While the 16 PF personality test measured the ...
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...y until asked to.
Graph of all 18 Factors:
The test overall did a fairly accurate job in measuring the various factors of my personality. I only disagreed with two of the ten factors, which I merely saw as an overt measurement. The test appeared to be valid for the most part pertaining to my case, and since validity correlates with reliability, its reliability appears to be relatively strong. However this is merely an opinion based on my interpretation of my own personality. It could be equally likely that other people may get many scores in which they totally disagree on. Since this test was written 20 years ago the question of re-standardization also comes into play. As for cross-cultural differences discussed in the introduction, to me it is unclear whether or not the questions are common to all cultures and backgrounds, yet among English speakers the questions seemed well structured. While no test is perfect, the 16 PF does seem to have relatively high reliability and validity, making it ideal in measuring personality traits.
Kalat, J. (2002). Introduction to Psychology (Sixth Edition). Pacific Groove, CA: Wadsworth- Thomson Learning.