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Old 11th September 2011, 06:20 PM   #1
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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So has anyone taken these assessments in a work exercise? I find it to be a rather interesting pseudoscience of pigeonholing people into a limited number of categories. The descriptions read a lot like horoscopes... My results are in my user profile for now. I wonder if anyone has actually done any objective measurement of people who follow/develop their 'strengths' as opposed to those who don't. Are they more successful, happier, live longer, etc...?
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Old 12th September 2011, 03:32 AM   #2
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Hey Ron E, I haven't been through the Meyers-Briggs, but one of my employers had me do the Wilson Learning personality assessment (similar) around 15 years ago. I would have to find the stuff and go through it, but it was interesting in the fact that some of it was pretty accurate about me, but some of the things were WAY off.

I too would be interested if any of these "personality indicators" have been followed in the long term to evaluate their accuracy.

Peace,

Dave
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Old 12th September 2011, 05:11 AM   #3
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_gerecke View Post
...one of my employers had me do the Wilson Learning personality assessment (similar) around 15 years ago. ...it was interesting in the fact that some of it was pretty accurate about me, but some of the things were WAY off.

I too would be interested if any of these "personality indicators" have been followed in the long term to evaluate their accuracy.
It is interesting that it seems most of the information on these things is generated by the makers of the tests themselves. I think the MBTI was once thought useful, but now is regarded as dubious.

The person who discussed our strengths finder test seemed to agree that the test was "like the MBTI" in nature.

It seems the people that most buy into these tests are Human Resources people and Managers, which is interesting because according to wikipedia:
"Studies suggest that the MBTI is not a useful predictor of job performance. As noted above under Precepts and ethics, the MBTI measures preference, not ability. The use of the MBTI as a predictor of job success is expressly discouraged in the Manual. It is not designed for this purpose."

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Old 12th September 2011, 07:12 AM   #4
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Psychometrics is a field that has fascinated me since I did my BSc in Psychology twenty five years ago, and I could bore you all for hours on it. But I won't.

However, I will make a couple of comments.

1) Personality tests are statistical. They won't tell you how you might behave in any one instance, but will show trends in your behaviour over many.

2) They are only as good as the research they are based on. This means you get, good, bad and indifferent tests, the later two often coming from business schools in support of the latest fad.

3) If run properly, they are a very good way of getting people to think about their behaviour, and as a catalyst for further discussion and development. In isolation, without that further discussion, mostly meaningless.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12th September 2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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My wife is big on Enneagrams, which is sort of a grade-school version of Meyers-Briggs. For fun, she ran me through a test, determined that I was a Seven on their scale, and read me the description. It seemed to fit, but I'm aware of the Forer Effect. So, I printed off descriptions of each of the personality types, then had people I work with look at them (without me present) to see which one they thought fit me best. Six out of six people chose the Seven profile.

So maybe there is something to it, I just don't know what.
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Old 12th September 2011, 09:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron E View Post
. . . pigeonholing people into a limited number of categories. The descriptions read a lot like horoscopes..
Ron, there are two kinds of people:
  • Those who perceive people as infinitely complex, unique individuals; and
  • Those who believe there are two kinds of people
Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) happens to use 16 bins rather than 2, but the above observation remains the same. And, I like the horoscope comparison.

I first encountered MBTI about 40 years ago (I think it was still in some kind of preliminary, experimental, status at that time). At that time I was somewhat intrigued by the structure of the questions, and I don't think they have changed since. In many cases they presented choices with the implication that they were mutually exclusive, where I typically saw multiple options between the two choices. In some cases I failed to see a fundamental relationship between the options presented - you might as well ask, "Which do you prefer, apple pie or the color green?".

Since then I have been subjected to it, in various settings, at least half a dozen times. I have noticed that two of the dimensions that supposedly define me seem to shift from occasion to occasion. I didn't keep track of which results came up on each occasion but when I mentioned it to one test administrator his response was that I probably wasn't being honest with the responses.

In my case the MBTI needs a category for "This guy is totally incompetent. He will fail at every job he tries and get fired from most of them.".

Dale
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Old 12th September 2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dchisholm View Post
...I have noticed that two of the dimensions that supposedly define me seem to shift from occasion to occasion. I didn't keep track of which results came up on each occasion but when I mentioned it to one test administrator his response was that I probably wasn't being honest with the responses...
A lot of "personality traits" are adaptive, and change with the situation. Easy example, down the pub of a Friday night with your mates, you're likely to be effin' and blindin' all night especially if discussing sport or politics. Have the same discussion with your dear old mum over Sunday lunch, and I strongly suspect there'd be much less swearing.
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Old 12th September 2011, 11:54 PM   #8
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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Originally Posted by pinkmouse View Post
A lot of "personality traits" are adaptive, and change with the situation.
Yes, exactly, are the people they interviewed happy in their job because they adapted their personality, or because they chose the right job for their "personality"? What did they test before they got that job?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dchisholm
...when I mentioned [differing test results from multiple tests] to one test administrator his response was that I probably wasn't being honest with the responses.
Yep, there is always a convenient excuse. That raises the question of falsifiability. When our group tried to guess others types, some people were easy, and others were hard. The examiner said that that was because the test is your self reporting "inner" voice and the opinions of others are how you choose to relate to the world. A convenient excuse that presumes that people were being honest in their self reporting in the first place....or that they have even taken the time to really "know" others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SY
My wife is big on Enneagrams, which is sort of a grade-school version of Meyers-Briggs. For fun, she ran me through a test, determined that I was a Seven...
I'm a five, supposedly

----------------

I am not necessarily claiming that everything these tests say is wrong or of no value, just that there are so many ways it could fall apart that it is ultimately not something that employers should be using for what they seem to.
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Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence--those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. Aldous Huxley

Last edited by Ron E; 12th September 2011 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 13th September 2011, 04:28 AM   #9
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I remember an employer giving us the results of a similar test years ago - we compared outcomes, for most of us they seemed reasonable, but for a couple of Chinese guys from Hong Kong, they weren't accurate at all, because they didn't understand the connotations of the words in the test, & just took a wild guess.... The design of the test has to make assumptions about context...
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