Psychology Study Material: Assessment of Personality, Projective Tests and Techniques

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Assessment of Personality

  • Interview
  • Observation and behavioural assessment
  • Psychological tests
  • Self-report measures
  • Projective tests


  • Interview refers to direct face-to-face encounter and interaction.
  • Verbal as well as non-verbal information is available to the psychologist.
  • Interviews are usually used to supplement information gathered through other sources.
  • Skill of the interviewer is very important since the worth and utility of the interview depends on how well he can draw relevant information from the interviewee.

Behavioural Assessment

Direct observation measure for studying and describing personality characteristics.

Psychological Tests

  • In order to objectively assess personality and behaviour standard measures are devised. These measures are called psychological tests.
  • Psychological tests have to be valid and reliable. Besides, they need to be based on norms.

Self- Report Measures

Measures wherein the subjects are asked questions about a sample of their behaviour. These are paper and pencil tools or tests.

MMPI (Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory)

  • The most frequently used personality test. It was initially developed to identify people having specific sorts of psychological difficulties. But it can predict a variety of other behaviours too.
  • It can identify problems and tendencies like Depression, Hysteria, Paranoia, and Schizophrenia for example.
  • At the same time, it has been used to predict if college students will marry within 10 years, and whether the will get an advanced degree.

Projective Tests/Techniques

Tests in which the subject is first shown an ambiguous stimulus and then he has to describe it or tell a story about it

The most famous and frequently used projective tests are:

  • Rorschach test, and
  • TAT or Thematic Apperception Test

Rorschach Test

  • The test consists of Inkblot presses. These have no definite shape.
  • The shapes are symmetrical and are presented to the subject on separate cards.
  • Some cards are black and white and some colored.
  • Procedure of Rorschach administration
  • The subject is shown the stimulus card and then asked as to what the figures represent to them?
  • The responses are recorded.
  • Using a complex set of clinical judgments, the subjects are classified into different personality types.
  • The skill and the clinical judgment of the psychologist or the examiner are very important.

Thematic Apperception Test/TAT

  • A series of ambiguous pictures is shown to the subject, who has to write a story. This story is considered as a reflection of the subject՚s personality.
  • The subject is asked to describe whatever is happening in it just like forming a story.
  • The subject has to tell what is happening in the scene, what the antecedent conditions were, who the characters are, what are their thoughts and wishes, and what is going to happen next.
  • In short, the subject describes the past, present and future along with the description of characters and their thinking and motivation.


  • Psychological illness, psychological disorders, or mental illness are referred to as psychopathology.
  • The term is used to describe abnormal behaviour.
Psychopathology Degree
  • Psychopathology is the area of study in psychology that primarily focuses upon the origin, development and manifestation of behavioural and mental disorders.
  • Abnormal psychology is that branch of psychology that studies, describes, explains, and identifies abnormal behaviour.
  • The observable behaviour and mental experiences of an individual may be indicative of a mental or psychological disorder. The overt behaviour and other experiences provide cues to the development of mental or psychological disorders.
  • Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists treat mental disorders.
  • Besides, they are also interested in studying and conducting research on the nature and role of the events that cause these disorders e. g. past history of a person and other variables that contribute to mental illness.