Psychometrics & Personality

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with psychological measurement e.g. the objective measurement of skills and knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational achievement.

There are many different models and measures of personality, some of the most well known include: transactional analysis, Jung’s psychological types, the BIG 5, Myers-Briggs (MBTI), Hogan, DISC, Belbin, 16PF, OPQ, FIRO-B, Keirsey’s temperaments, various archetypes models … the list goes on.  All of these have some value as they provide differing views, a lens if you like onto aspects of who we are. The trouble is that these lenses distort and only attempt or manage to achieve to explain parts of us.

It is after all – a tall order, as us human beings are the most complex things on the planet, and far from consistent either! From our perspective, the challenge with the majority of these psychometric tests is that:

  1. They focus on specific personality traits or types, not the whole person
  2. They misrepresent traits (continuums of behaviour) as exclusive personality types e.g. Introversion vs extroversion
  3. They mix up traits or types with emotional states. For example, traits like neuroticism are more closely connected to emotional state of fear than any underlying trait or type
  4. They focus on labelling you and putting you in a box, rather than encouraging you to extend your repertoire and flexibility.
  5. Justify themselves with measures of validity and reliability, whilst at the same time failing to transform people’s lives with the levels of awareness that they need.

The great strength and beauty of the Enneagram and PRISM Brain Mapping is that they reflect more of the whole person. The Enneagram specifically accounts for the dimension of emotional state, which greatly affects behaviour and relationships. Its insights are ‘jaw dropping’ and far more profound and life changing than any of the psychometrics tool that we know of. PRISM is a very useful tool to look at vocational strengths and weaknesses; it does not muddle state and trait; it does add powerful insights to aid training needs analysis, for recruitment, for team building and many more corporate objectives.

As far back as 1937 Gordon Allport, one of the pioneers of the study of personality, described two major ways to study personality: the Nomothetic and the Idiographic.

  • Allport says that Nomothetic psychology seeks general laws that can be applied to many different people, such as the principle of self-actualization or the trait of extraversion.
  • Whereas, Idiographic psychology is an attempt to understand the unique aspects of a particular individual.
  • You can read more about this debate in an article here.

At CTYP, we definitely prefer the Idiographic and ‘humanistic’ approach and are far from convinced about the value of trying to describe and encapsulate the individual by means of assessing and extrapolating from a few traits i.e. the nomothetic approach.

Humanistic, humanism and humanist are terms in psychology relating to an approach which studies the whole person, and the uniqueness of each individual.

No systems are perfect and we certainly are not claiming that the Enneagram or PRISM are. In fact, we think that the Enneagram is much misunderstood and misrepresented. Experience has shown the majority of online Enneagram tests to be inaccurate and unreliable – hence, we have developed our own.

No system can be objective because ultimately, there is no true benchmark to compare against.

What we have found is that there are strong correlations between the results we get with our Enneagram test and results from PRISM. The two systems compliment each other and together with the other tools that we use to look at emotional states, human needs, values etc, we build a truly enlightening and unique model of our clients so that they can for the first time understand, accept, master and love who they are. You can read more about character, temperament and behaviour on our Personality & Behaviour page.

Share the knowledge