6 reasons why personality tests can be harmful

In this podcast (episode #524) and blog, I talk about the dangers of relying on personality tests.

Personality tests can provide insights into certain aspects of an individual's traits and behaviors, but there are several reasons why they may not be fully reliable or should be used with caution:

1. Simplification of Complexity:

Personality is a complex and multifaceted trait that cannot be entirely captured by a single test. Most personality tests categorize individuals into a few distinct personality types, which can oversimplify the richness and nuances of human behavior and emotions.

2. Subjective Self-Reporting

Many personality tests rely on self-reporting, where individuals answer questions about themselves. This approach can be influenced by bias, social desirability, or the way a person perceives themselves, leading to inaccuracies.

3. Situational Variability:  

People's behavior can vary based on different situations, contexts, and life experiences. A personality test may not account for these variations, leading to an incomplete understanding of an individual's behavior.

4. Change Over Time:

Personality is not fixed and can change over the course of a person's life due to personal growth, experiences, and various life events. Personality tests may not accurately capture these changes.

5. Limited Validity and Reliability:

The validity and reliability of some personality tests can be questionable. Some tests lack scientific rigor, and their results may not consistently measure what they claim to measure.

6. Cultural and Social Bias:

Personality tests are often developed within specific cultural contexts and may not be applicable to individuals from different cultural backgrounds. They can inadvertently perpetuate bias and stereotypes. 

So, while personality tests can offer insights and a starting point for self-reflection, it's important to approach them with critical thinking and awareness of their limitations. They should not be used as definitive judgments about who you are. Instead, consider them one tool among others for understanding yourself and focus on broader methods like introspection, seeking feedback from trusted individuals, and embracing personal growth and development. 

In my research and when I was practicing, one of the things I focused on was trying to rather help a person to understand how they think, feel and choose. There are approximately 8.1 billion people in the world. And each of us thinks, feels and chooses differently, therefore we cannot be categorized because there is no-one like you. You are type you (for more in this, see my book Think, Learn, Succeed).

Recommended reading: 




For more on personality traits, listen to my podcast (episode #524). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).  

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Podcast Highlights

0:15 Why we need to be careful of personality tests 

1:40 There are billions of personalities!

4:33 We are incredibly complex as humans

7:00 How subjective personality tests are

8:00, 9:25 Personalities change over time 

8:32 How our experiences can change us 

10:40 A lot of personality tests are not scientific 

14:48 Personality tests are one tool amongst many to help you understand yourself better

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.

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