Objective personality testing is “use of assessment methods that use a restricted response format (ordinal scale ratings or true/false questions), and which contain extensively tested validity scales to determine whether the person taking the test is responding truthfully” (Hogan, 2007, p. 69). The commonly used objective personality studies include; Beck depression Inventory, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and Child Behavior Checklist.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
This is the widely used objective personality test. Subjects under study receive uniform answer sheets, which are filled manually using hands to fill templates that fit on these sheets. However, technology has made it possible to use computer programs to score the sheets. These computer-scoring programs present varied scoring profiles. One of the common scoring profiles is extended score sheet that scores newest data at very advanced psychometric scales. According to Kronheim (2007), “the Restructured Clinical Scales, (RC scales)” (p. 13) is the most advanced psychometric scale. One of MMPI advantages is that it incorporates both traditional tests like supplementary scales and modern ones like RC scales. However, this is a very expensive test and it draws numerous ethical concerns.
Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III)
MCMI-III is a personality test that gives information about psychopathology. The target group is people above age eighteen with a minimum reading level of eighth grade. This tool can only be used within clinical practice; it is unsuitable for use in general population. Unfortunately, some clinicians have been using it within the general population and it has produced some valid results in some reported cases. This test is “composed of 175 true-false questions that reportedly take 25-30 minutes to complete” (Hogan, 2007, p. 78).
According to Hogan (2007), there are four scales in this test viz. 42 Grossman Personality Facet Scales, 5 Correction Scales, 10 Clinical Syndrome Scales, and 14 Personality Disorders Scales (p. 79). There is comparison between Base Rate and personality indices with a median of sixty.
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)
This test is used to determine problems in children’s behavior. Teachers or parents carry out these tests because they understand a given child better. There are two types of CBCL viz. the preschool checklist for children between age 18 months and 5 years and school age checklist for children between age six and eighteen years.
The test is simple as it comprises a set of questions on child’s behavior and the answers are recorded as somewhat true, not true, or very true. These answers are scored on a Likert scale. The person performing this test then groups different answers to identify any syndrome and finally sums up these syndromes to establish whether the results are clinical, borderline or normal.
Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
DDI is a “21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory, one of the most widely used instruments for measuring the severity of depression” (Kronheim, 2007, p. 16). It is applicable for people of thirteen years and above whereby; it assesses depression symptoms like irritability, guilt, and fatigue among others.
Individuals answer the 21 questions, which are based on how one has been feeling for the last one week. The obtained results are then compared to a standard sample to determine the intensity of depression. There are three models of this test; that is, BDI, BDI-IA and BDI-II; however, they use the same principle for they are modification of BDI.
Objective personality tests involve asking questions and the responses are scored against validity scales, which establish whether one is truthful. There are four types of objective personality tests viz. MMPI, MCMI-III, CBCL and BDI. These tests use the same principle; asking questions to determine how truthful one is to determine the psychological status of an individual depending on the trait under study.
Hogan, P. (2007). Psychology Testing: A Practical Introduction, 2nd Ed.
New York; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kronheim, S. (2007). Clinical Assessment and Evaluation. Retrieved 5 Apr. 2010, from,