Traits or Types? Different types of personality assessment tools

Personality assessments or psychometrics as they are sometimes known, are the branch of psychology that deals with the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude and personality traits.    There are 100s of different tests available with some more statistically reliable, and easy to complete than others.  Read The Personality Workbook to find out more.

Different Types of Tests and Assessments

Aptitude Tests
These tests measure how well a person can perform a function, how much they know about the function or activity, and what their potential is.  With these tests they are usually timed and require either “yes or no”, “right or wrong” or “good or bad” as answers.  Popular examples of ability tests are: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical, and Critical Thinking Appraisal.

Personality Assessments
These assessments measure your preferred or typical way of being.  I.e. they assess and measure your underlying traits and characteristics.  The style of the questionnaires is self-reporting so there are no right or wrong answers.  The majority of personality questionnaires are used in work contexts and are usually categorised as trait or type based. 

Personality Assessments
Sue Stockdale is licensed to administer assesment tools including MBTI, Birkman and Risk Type Compass

Trait Based Assessments

A trait is a universal characteristic pattern of behaviour which is relatively stable over time, and each person posesses different amounts e.g. friendliness, intelligence, patience

  • Traits cause behaviour
  • Trait based assessments allow accurate comparison between individuals
  • Scores range across a normal distribution bell curve
  • Assessment meaures “how much” of a trait an individual possesses
  • Trait based assessments are useful for recruitment and selection
  • Examples are Big Five Factor, OPQ, Birkman, 16PF

Type Based Assessments

A collection of personality traits that are identified together

  • Psychological Types describe healthy differences between people
  • It does not explain or measure competence, skills, excellence, natural ability or psychological problems
  • Psychological Types do imply personality preferences
  • They are inborn preferences
  • They categorise people into groups and its bi-modal (which means you cannot be both) e.g. introvert or extrovert
  • They do not measure “how much” of the type you have e..g is one person’s intutions better than anothers?
  • Useful for career development, coaching, and team working
  • Examples are Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Belbin, Firo-B, DISC.

Sue Stockdale and associates are licensed to adminster Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Birkman, Mental Toughness Questionnaire and Risk Type Compass. Find out more here.



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