Psychonometric Tests

Description of 16PF Psychonometric Test

16PF or Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire refers to a personality questionnaire that was discovered in the course of a research that lasted for numerous decades. New techniques, utilized in factor analysis, which derive their basis on the correlation coefficient, were applied to facilitate the measuring of basic traits regarding human personality. Raymond B. Cattell is the person accredited with the discovery of the test, which gauges Five Big secondary traits and sixteen primary traits. Cattell and Schuerger (2003) assert that this resulted from Cattell’s discovery regarding personality, which he termed as multi-level and hierarchical in nature. The discovery of the sixteen primary factors encompassed factor analysis of myriad measures regarding the daily trends/behaviors of human beings. The secondary traits were introduced because of the need to establish what the basic organizing forces behind the main traits were. Thus, it should be noted that the 16PF avails results regarding traits such as social boldness, emotional stability, and vigilance. This concludes that the 16PF avails results on more numerous primary traits, including the Big Five global traits.

According to Chrisler and McCreary (2010), the development of the 16PF psychonometric test took a commercial approach, and it was utilized by the University of London and some military personnel. Thus, the development of the test was caused by the need to come up with a design that would be utilized in measuring the dimensions observable in the fundamental traits associated with human personality in terms of nature and number. Raymond Carttell was assisted in his endeavor to develop the 16PF test by Charles Spearman. The development happened after Cattell concluded that the human personality could be compared to the physical world, which means that it also had components (Chrisler & McCreary 2010). Thus, Cattell concluded that if the components of personality could become completely discovered and measured, this could facilitate the discovery and measurement of human behavior. This prompted an international research, which was intended to discover the scope of human personality. This explains why they incorporated factor analysis in their investigation. It was done in order to accommodate all the patterns that abounded. After several years of the factor analysis studying, Cattell and his colleague, finally, came up with the traits of the 16PF questionnaire. Research asserts that the traits have remained the same for more than fifty years as more than forty books have been written in support of the test.

Hersen (2003) points out that the 16PF Psychonometric Test is available online. However, not everyone has access to the Psychonometric Tests as the Psychology department of the company provides them. This ascertains the fact that there are some restrictions to it because a person can only get sample tests prior to taking the real tests. Psychologists are certified to use the test. Thus, they are charged with the responsibility of administering the test to new entrants in a company (Cattell & Schuerger 2003, p. 143). This points out that qualification is an essential thing in dealing with the test as not every person can interpret the results successfully. The tester is the only person allowed to buy the tests, as this will facilitate the safekeeping of the tests before utilizing them. Research points out that if other people in an organization were allowed to buy the test on behalf of the company, this could facilitate the leaking of the tests’ information, which would nullify its results.

The 16PF targets high school students, adults, and college students. The 16PF is a normative measurement that received much criticism from reviewers in the Burrough’s Mental Measurement. However, a thorough examination of the test reveals that it fits well as a tool for personality measurement. This is because its reliability coefficients vary from 45 to 93, which has been associated with many other instruments used in assessing personality (Hersen 2004).

The 16PF is not an in-house project that targets a specific group as it has three main target groups, which comprise of adults, high school kids, and college students. Thus, cabin crew counselors do not feature as one of its target groups. Hersen (2004) intimates that the 16PF test is employed in vocational settings to facilitate the comparisons between vocation and occupation. These findings are then utilized in determining career and occupational choices.

The 16PF test can be applied for occupational selection or assessment because it presents relative strengths in several groups of occupations such as social service, artistry, scientific professional, community service, industrial and clerical services, academic, professional, and supervisory personnel. In addition, the 16PF test can be utilized in determining the occupational selection, which should be based on the evaluator’s understanding of the test and the personality construct of an individual that is the key in determining what profession a person is suitable for (Chrisler & McCreary 2010). The 16PF test is also suitable for occupational selection as it yields results regarding temperaments and learning styles. According to the American Psychological Association (1964), this gives it an advantage in occupational selection, as people with certain tempers are not suitable for certain occupations. Thus, the principle uses of a 16PF test are to establish a person’s temperament and personality constructs. These include traits like reserved or outgoing, assertive, shy, tender minded, self-sufficient, trusting, enthusiastic, and practical/imaginative. In addition, the 16PF test is employed to facilitate the identification of career or occupational choices as it enables the assessment of the 16 principal personal traits. The 16PF test is generalized as it can be used to estimate anyone who wants or requires to pass the test.  The test is cost effective because it can be provided in the form of questionnaires, which are filled by the interviewers.

The merits of the 16PF test emanate from the facts that it has the potential of assessing the 16primary traits and the five secondary. This is essential as the primary traits play a significant role in the identification of a person’s personality constructs such as learning styles and temperaments (Dorfman & Hersen 2001, p. 142). Secondly, the computer-generated version of the test has the potential to generate several occupational groups, which include clerical/industrial, social services, technical, administrative, community service, and the scientific professions. This means that a non-professional can easily interpret the results. Thirdly, the 16PF test has testing considerations, which means that the test can cater to both good and poor readers, and people with sensory impairments. The testing accommodations include the fact that the test is comprised of different questionnaires that include forms (A to E), which are distinguished in terms of grade level (Hersen 2003, p. 111). Lastly, the test is cost effective because it can be administered to an individual or a group and it does not take a long time to complete. Research indicates that the test requires between 35 to 60 minutes, which depends on the form of the test that is being utilized. The weakness of the 16PF test is that the evaluator’s word matters significantly, which means it has some provisions of errors depending on how reliable an evaluator is.

The quality of the available data should be utilized for descriptive purposes, as opposed to diagnosis. In addition, the available data are essential for providing guidance regarding vocations. According to Cattell and Schuerger (2003), the evaluator should be skilled in both personality constructs and understanding of the available data. This will help in the eliminating bias, in the interpretation of the available data. The available data is utilized in measuring traits such as tense/relaxed, self-sufficient/group dependent, emotionally stable/affected by feelings, and tough or tender minded (Martin & Fellenz, 2010).

Recent research on 16PF test has established that several questions are asked in regards to the validity of the results that the test provides. The questions asked include, firslty, the accuracy of the profile; secondly, lessons derived from unusual questionnaire responses and validity of the scores from the questionnaire; and, lastly, how safe decisions, based on the questionnaires, are. Thus, in response to these questions, the research intimates that the 16PF test’s accuracy depends on how honest a respondent is in providing answers. Research also indicates that the 16PF test has shown exceptional results in recognizing various types of unusual response behavior. Recent research has also identified the aspects of the 16PF test that make it unique. According to IPAT (2009), these aspects include acquiescence, infrequency, and impression management. These three aspects are instrumental to the evaluator in coming up with safe results concerning the personality interpretations. Thus, impression management is considered a primary social-desirable scale that is used for assessing how desirable or undesirable the client’s responses were. On the other hand, the acquiescence scale (ACQ) has been developed to measure the tendency of a respondent in relation to answering questions positively no matter the content (IPAT, 2009, p. 3). Lastly, recent research identifies infrequency in the 16PF test as a scale that safeguards against random responds from a person. The scale indicates whether a person has provided random, indecisive or unusual answers. The researches have tried to explore the means by which the situations can be handled in case a person violates one of the rules established by the above scales. One basic solution to the infrequencies indicated by the abovementioned scales is to get the respondent to fill the form once again. Thus, 16PF test is a test that is still utilized by many organizations in determining the employees’ competencies in various fields.


MBTI in full stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - a personality assessment that helps in understanding the differences between individuals. It also gives ground to understanding how people communicate, think or interact. According to Bayne (2004), it is an assessment that can develop a person, team or organization to deal with day-to-day issues in areas covering career management, team building, communication and leadership. By taking an official MBTI test, one discovers his or her true personality. The MBTI measures only four dimensions of personality traits. Furthermore, it indicates which of the dimensions are preferable. Bayne (1997) also states that each of the four dimensions illustrates two preferences that are opposite to each other. The first dimension, the E-I (Extraversion-Introversion), explains where individuals prefer to put their attention. Introversion is the inner part of ideas while extraversion is the outer world. The second dimension, S-N (Sensing-Intuition), describes how an individual can perceive or receive information differently. An individual with sensing preference absorbs information using all the five senses and is extremely precise when it comes to sensory details. On the other hand, an individual with intuitive preference absorbs information using the ‘sixth sense’, also known as intuition. The individual goes further to look for possibilities or meanings. The third dimension, T-F (Thinking-Feeling), shows an individual’s preference when it comes to decision-making. An individual inclined to thinking makes decisions by using logic, as well as detached analysis. The individual with the feeling preference uses empathy as he considers what might be relevant for people. The last dimension, J-P (Judging-Perceiving), explains how an individual can organize and familiarize himself or herself with the outer world. The judging preference shows an individual who prefers to be organized. An individual with perceiving preferences means that he/she acts spontaneity and, thereby, possesses the style of organization which is different from the rest. Notably, MBTI does not reduce the uniqueness found in an individual.    

Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers developed MBTI during the World War II. They hoped that women would gain from knowing their personality preferences as they joined the industries to work for the first time. Forced by the outcomes of war, the women had to choose jobs that could best suit their gender (Briggs & Myers 1998, p. 123). They started with a questionnaire, which later became the MBTI, published in 1962. When the 1940s commenced, Briggs and Myers expounded on Jung’s model that focused on the theory associated with psychological type. The test is for the normal population as it places emphasis on differences which occur in a natural setting. CPP Inc., who acknowledges that MBTI is among the most common personality estimators, commercially publishes it. Certified psychologists and other professionals administer over two million tests each year. Briggs and Myers (1998) also acknowledge that, because of many years of research and development, MBTI has grown over the years since its inception and has become an indicator used by many people worldwide.  Those certified to run the test or use the MBTI instrument include certified therapists, counselors, consultants, and coaches.

The MBTI test is obtainable from certified practitioners worldwide. Human resources offices also give out such tests. However, there are no restrictions on getting a copy of the assessment. One can find administrative materials at or However, only MBTI certified professionals can use the test. A certified tester has to register for him/her to administer the test. They are the only possible buyers of the assessment, which means that employees have to go to the HR department for the test. Many studies conducted on the MBTI test are in the manual. The initial norm groups had been high school as well as college students. Later employed occupational groups were included. Reliability studies show a range of 60 to 90 percent. The trend is higher for individuals with higher levels of education. It is an inventory suitable for groups served under rehabilitation settings except for those with mental disabilities. It can also incorporate individuals with sensory impairment. MBTI is a normative test admissible to an individual or a group. It is untimed and can take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Individuals with sensory impairments can also use the test.

The MBTI can be useful in the educational sector, business, careers guidance, as well as counseling. Hamme (2010) attests that it can develop leadership potential in the business field. MBTI can assess the strength or developmental needs of people in managerial positions, as well as their style of solving problems in relation to others.  Self-awareness plays a vital role in determining influential leadership. Therefore, one needs to understand that personal styles in leadership go a long way into influencing motivation. Teams can also use the MBTI questionnaire to measure their strength or developmental needs. It can also clarify biasness so that teams learn to appreciate the importance of placing value in different approaches. Kirby and Barger (2001) also agree  that MBTI can assist in communication with individuals with different types of teaching methods. Moreover, it can analyze and improve them in an effective manner. Notably, the instrument offers a framework where people can understand the existing differences in learning styles. The test suits general purposes despite being cost-effective. It is easy to use through the web or self-administering, therefore, it does not require a lot of time.

MBTI has its fortes and weaknesses. One of its biggest advantages is that, as a tool, it can aid self-knowledge. It helps individuals realize what are their likes or dislikes. The test also enhances prevention of conflict and its resolution. One can gain personality needs or tendencies, which will aid the individuals in tackling issues that counteract their traits. The test also helps in team building when it comes to business management. It follows strict ethical guidelines stipulated in its manual and uses only qualified people. It also draws a clear line between organizational culture and organizational character. However, it is not appropriate to use MBTI when one is undergoing stress, or lack of trust. In such situations, the answers will not be accurate. There are also individuals who can fill the questionnaire with prior information. This may not reflect their true nature.  

According to Levine (1999), many have criticized the validity of MBTI’s statistics as an instrument. It lacks serious scrutiny. About a third or half of the results from MBTI tests enter the Journal of Psychological Type and other conferences. According to the researchers, the scores ought to illustrate a bimodal distribution that comes to the top when the scales end. However, the scores resembled a normal distribution. There is a cut-off at the middle of the individual subscale, which classifies the scores on both sides. This phenomenon does not show the idea of the type. It is normal for people to be at the middle of the subscale. A study by the National Academy of Sciences stipulates that the I-E is the only scale that shows high correlations when compared to other instruments. This was a strong validity if to compare with the T-F and S-N scales, which usually point out weak validity. Their study also concluded that, there is little research that justifies using MBTI test in career counseling. Notably, the validity measured here was criterion-related.

According to MBTI’s manual, a valid instrument is that which measures correctly. Studies show that scores from the MBTI are similar to others when it comes to evidence depicting divergent validity, convergent validity, construct validity, test-retest reliability, as well as internal consistency (Quenk 2009, p. 47). The individual tested determines the accuracy of MBTI as an instrument by reporting honestly. This means that people can respond in ways socially required of them since MBTI does not employ validity scales to measure such responses. Ethical guidelines guide the MBTI in this area by warning of such responses. There are those who say that MBTI is vague and general since it allows all behavior to fit into any personality. Others term the MBTI descriptions as brief, distinctive, and precise.   

The investigation states that the reliability of the MBTI is low. Close to 37 percent and 76 percent of individuals tested fall into different categories when they appear for retesting much later. A research was carried out which pointed out that, despite the MBTI dichotomies show split-half reliability which is acceptable, and despite the scores form a bell-shaped curve, still the total overall type allocations become even less reliable than the first test. In addition to that, the research also discovered that the test-retest reliability becomes sensitive to the time that usually passes between two tests done within some time. In another study, people were requested to balance between the types they prefer and that about half of them chose the same. As a result, many have directed criticism towards the test claiming that it has no falsifiability. Notably, falsifiability may lead to confirmation biasness when the results are interfered.

Petersen et al. (2004) notes that the studies, conducted to look into proportions of varying personality types in different professions, state that the amount shown by MBTI types in each of the occupation stands close to that sample carried out randomly within the population. Other researchers have also pinpointed that MBTI cannot predict job performance in the accurate way. It does not measure ability, it only measures preferences. Therefore, it cannot fulfill that purpose. Researchers also had issues with the possibility of the instrument’s misuse while labeling people tested.

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