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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Understanding personality assessment in a dynamic situation involving personality interactions

I just chanced upon one of those 'personality tests' based on the famed Myers-Briggs Personality test and yeah! had some fun with it playing with different answers. Different sites provide different versions. I happened to choose You can choose the one you want but regardless of the one you take you arrive at a result that comprises of four alphabets. Now this combination is what holds key to your 'supposed' personality. These scores are used from personal amusement to even serious  evaluations. 

Then I wondered something - the very nature of this test is single person oriented i.e. mostly self assessment report and sometimes (possibly) from another person's viewpoint. Most importantly, this is not a test but more of a personality tpye and preference. While ducking and doging the semnatics for any judgemental tones, it is safe to state that what I assess about myself is certainly not going to be what other person were to do about me (and rightfully so). 

Since we tend to live in an interactive and social environment all these personality type scores have little meaning without an interactive score pattern and then start understanding the variations. This I feel could lead ot better assessments, even if for fun. So tomorrow if someone were to develop an interactive app that combined them into the type of matrix (let's call it #PAMatrix), don't be surpised 😎 I told ya!

Image Source: Wikipedia

The Personality Assessment Matrix – PAMatrix

There are different types of personality assessment tests like the Myers-BriggsPersonality test. Regardless of the type of test administered, there is always a score. It could be a number OR a combination of alphabets OR even very 'subjective' as some would like to prefer it. Now! Such an evaluation can be done in different ways

  • Self-assessment
  • Assessment by others
    • Assessment by ‘qualified experts’
    • Assessment by those known to the person

The scores are likely (more so) to differ in each of the cases and quite possibly, rightfully so. So! Which one of the scores is right OR are all of them right in their own way? If the latter is true, then therein lies the undercurrents of perception, image building etc.

So, to better understand this, the whole assessment of a personality in an individual can be expressed in the form of a MATRIX. Since it is a matrix centered on the personality of an individual, let’s call it the PAMatrix. This kind of a matrix is rooted in the principles of interaction of a person with others around him/her in the home, workplace or public in general. Since this is what basically constitutes our society, any personality assessment has to be seen a whole of different perceptions when it comes to evaluating a personality.

Y (X)
What X thinks of 'Self'
What X thinks Y will estimate about 'Self'
Y (X)
What Y thinks of X
What Y thinks X will estimate about 'Self'
Table1- The Personality Matrix or the PAMatrix

It is the analysis of this matrix that is going to define the concurrency of the evaluation process and reconciling the differences that ensue.

Case analysis

Y (X)
ENFJ (Protagonist – Diplomat)
Y (X)
ESTP (Explorer – Entrepreneur)
ESFJ (Sentinel – Consul)
Table 2 Case study 1

Let us consider the following case of a person X. Applying the matrix above let us consider a possible scenario below using the Myers-Briggs Personality test. The descriptors for each result have been conveniently taken from but one could refer to any site that gives them suitable names. 

In the above case
  1. X rates himself or herself the same as s/he would think others would rate him/her. Now this is good in a way. Some coherence there though the scores could certainly change when others see it. 
    1. If the score of X↔Y(X)were different from X↔X, then any discrepancy here could mean uncertainty in the image being projected. This could be something to work on.
  2. Y evaluates X differently. Now! This is a regular scenario since we are not perceived the same as we think we like to be perceived as. Everyone has their own benchmark and priorities and hence evaluations will certainly vary here. If there is indeed any consistency here with the scores that X has valued themselves at then it is indeed an achievement to the efforts by X to project that image.

     The bottomline is that, the more closer this score tends to X↔X and X↔Y(X) the better the consistency in the image portrayed and hence it more likely to lead to better relations between X and Y. On the contrary, if they are strikingly different then efforts have to be taken to address such a difference. Hence this is something to work on again.
  3. The final and probably overlooked one is the Y(X)↔Y(X) match. A typical scenario would be when worker says, “The boss thinks he knows it all when actually he just manages them well without going into details”. This is a telling statement and gives room for greater understanding. Some of the differences maybe natural by virtue of the interaction involved e.g. a boss interacting with many people reporting to him. However, some others could be important especially in a 1-1 interaction scenario where differences exist between the individuals.
So what do you say? Ready to try this out with someone else and see how the matrix turns out? 👍