the unique combination of behavioral, emotional, mental, and interpersonal characteristics of an individual.Probe:
a means for discovering, measuring, testing, and obtaining information.Personality Probe:
exploring our uniqueness and similarities by way of personality tests.
In broad terms, personality tests try to determine personality types or measure personality traits.
With personality types, you try to determine "which" type is the best fit for you. A type will consist of a group of characteristics that together describe that type.
With personality traits, you try to determine "how much" of a particular trait you have or "how strong" it is for you. The assumption is that everyone possesses that trait but to varying degrees.
The two most popular personality typing systems or typologies are based on Carl Jung's psychological types (Jungian types) and the Enneagram types (described using the Enneagram symbol).
There are number of typologies and concepts derived from the Jungian types. Those include the Myers-Briggs types, the Cognitive Functions, Socionics, and the Keirsey Temperaments.
The Enneagram types consist of nine types associated with the nine numbers of the Enneagram symbol. Although there is only one major typology that uses this symbol there are a number of different interpretations and related concepts used with it.
Traits can be looked at in terms of a single trait or grouped into a multi-trait construct.
The most popular set of traits used are referred to as the Big Five. There are variations as to what each of those five traits consist of. As such, different tests may measure the five traits somewhat differently.
This website broadly categorizes the different tests between "type" tests and "trait" tests. The Jungian, Enneagram, and Big Five tests have their own topics. Other tests fall into the categories of
Each personality trait or type looks at only a small part of the total makeup of personality. Every individual also has a broad set of unique personality influences that are not adequately accounted for by personality trait and type theories (e.g., cultural background, life experiences and challenges, religious beliefs, family influences, temperament and demeanor, aptitudes and abilities, mental and physical health, financial resources, education, social status, significant relationships, group memberships, etc.).
It's useful to remember that people aren't simply a collection of personality traits and types. Traits and types are only mental constructs used to help us in our attempt to better understand human nature. To forget that, opens the door to stereotypes and projecting preconceived bias upon people and reality itself. Try not to let these constructs narrow or limit your understanding of yourself and others. Instead, use these constructs to explore and expand your understanding of yourself and others.
People tend to want others to be more like them in certain ways, yet also want to be more like others in certain ways as well. In other words, people often have a bias toward characteristics they like in themselves or those they admire in others. Respecting and valuing psychological diversity involves the awareness and acceptance of personality characteristics that don't match our bias.
Someone who is outgoing and enjoys being around people (e.g., extraverted) may think that someone who spends time in solitude (e.g., introverted) needs to be "drawn out of his or her shell" in order to enjoy life more. While there could be some truth to this, a greater truth may be that solitude is simply more enjoyable for this person. Simply put, there may be absolutely nothing wrong with the person as they are. To conclude that there is something wrong just because they have different preferences is presumptious and even disrespectful. It shows a need for greater understanding of the diversity of psychological characteristics, not only to be more accepting of people who may be different but also to explore psychological bias or limitations in oneself.