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Scientific Psychic
2012-06-10
 

Questions about the personality test


Carl Jung

Personality analysis can be very useful for understanding people and the mechanisms of social interactions. The Zamora Personality Test provides an approach for identifying behavioral characteristics that contribute to what is called "personality". Through these characteristics we are able to judge whether a person is honest, hard-working, aggressive, etc. Such knowledge enables us to develop strategies for successful business negotiations or satisfactory everyday interactions. Recently, I got the following questions about the personality test.

Question from Alex:
I happened upon your interesting website and conducted your online personality tests for myself. Might you answer the following questions on these Zamora tests, please?
1. Which personality theories, or tests, are they based on, or are they entirely your own creation?
2. I had problems answering quite a few questions, both in the Social and in the Individual Attributes test. The reason is, I think, that these, and many of your questions are actually a compound of two questions, but your questionnaire only allows for one answer; thus, I believe, my conflict, or disagreement with being forced into giving one answer to actually two questions, also will affect the results of your testing procedure. I admit, I am very logical when it comes to reading and writing, but these remarks to you are intended as a stimulating thought process to see if I, or you, have missed anything!

An example from the Social Attributes Test:
Your Question reads: I have enough money, and I don't like to spend it:
say my Answer is: Disagree (No), then logically I am agreeing to two statements:
First, that "I have enough money" and second, "That I don't like to spend it".
But for any individual person, two other answers (which match reality) as combinations of the double-question are possible, namely:
Alternative Answer 1:
First, that "I have enough money" (Agree = Yes) and second, "That I don't like to spend it" (Disagree = No). I.e., this person has enough money for their needs, and does enjoy spending the money they have (possibly few people in today's consumerism-driven society!)

Alternative Answer 2:
First, that "I have enough money" (Disagree = No) and second, "That I don't like to spend it" (Agree = Yes). I.e., this person tends to spend money, even more than they have (a common social affliction apparently!).

I think my interpretation of this question is logical and correct, and there are many other of questions that are equally "difficult" for me to answer as the questions similarly allow two possible answers, but only one answer is allowable to both in the questionnaire.

I would value your comments to this conundrum in your questionnaire.

Response:
I approached the personality test form a linguistic perspective. The rationale is explained in the discussion of what is personality. With regard to the questions, I tried to identify personality attributes by probing from different perspectives and then coordinating and ranking the results. In any linguistic test, it is inevitable that there will be misinterpretations because language has many subtleties and ambiguities. This is one of the reasons for the variety of statements, some of which appear to be redundant. Inconsistency in answering may indicate a neutral attitude, but it may also be the result of not understanding the question.

Regarding the particular statement: "I have enough money, and I don't like to spend it.", The purpose of the statement is to try to determine whether a person is generous or stingy as a measure of egocentrism; it is also an indicator of tolerance for risk. Of course, if a person does not have enough money, the answer is tricky, as you mentioned. Many of the personality attributes could be obtained by asking direct questions, such as "Are you mature?", "Are you generous?" or by posing ranking criteria "On a scale of 1 to 10 how dependable are you?". Unfortunately, people are not very objective judges of their character and it is better to classify them by their actions. The test provides this round-about way of gathering information which hopefully is more reliable than an introspective self-evaluation.

Looking at the question from a Boolean perspective, as you have, is an interesting exercise, but it does not apply well to natural language. The statement "I like apples and oranges" could not be true in Boolean logic since the intersection of apples and oranges is null in set theory. The Boolean interpretation is "I like apples or oranges" where the set includes both, but this is not the way we speak in English, or any other natural language. The sentence "I like apples or oranges" has the natural language implication of liking one or the other, but not both, which is another Boolean conundrum. I am sure that logicians could write many papers on the topic that the English "and" is approximately equal to the Boolean "or", but not quite.

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