Table of Contents
Psychology is a science that studies human behavior and the relationship between mental processes. Expanding this concept and also in order to study human behaviors better, the study of human behavior has many approaches such as developing different types of personality models. The three personality models I am going to discuss later are the most widely used models. They are the MBTI tests (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator) and the LSI (Learning Style Inventory), and The Big Five Personality Test. According to Dr. Ivan William Kelly, a reputable professor at the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education at the University of Saskatchewan, in his article “Psychology, Science, and Astrology” in the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, “Psychologists create hypothetical constructs to aid in discussing human behavior. Thus, concepts such as intelligence, extroversion, anxiety, achievement motivation, sensation seeking, and self-concept describe hypothesized internal conditions of the individual, while concepts such as social support and cultural climate refer to external features of the psychological environment” (Kelly). Based on this statement, Kelly talks about how different test models discuss human behaviors and through different variables, namely the aforementioned internal and external conditions of the individual. However, he also mentions Astrology in his study. He states that many astrologists believe that there is a relationship between personalities and constellations, which are the zodiac signs we talk about in daily life. According to your birthday, birth time, and the birth place, your zodiac sign can be determined as well as your personality. However, is it really possible for our personalities to be determined by zodiac signs and psychological tests? If so, do they describe our personalities accurately? How do they determine our personalities? Can we determine our personalities by taking different personality tests and using birth time to figure ourselves out? The main goal of this paper is to explore whether different types of personality tests and zodiac signs can accurately determine our psychological make-up and what they can actually do for us.
Different personality tests can help us to determine who we are and what kind of people we are. They can also affect us psychologically. Some personality tests are science-based, and we can actually learn from those tests.
However, zodiac signs, because of their unscientific nature, cannot describe us accurately and therefore they cannot be trusted.
What Are Zodiac Signs?
Zodiac signs are used by many people in order to understand their own or others’ personalities. According to information from the American Society of Astrologers, zodiac signs were started by the Babylonians. The astrological charts of the Babylonians were used to predict the occurrence of the seasons as well as other celestial events. Thus, for around 2000 years since the Babylonians invented astrology, it was just the same as astronomy. In the 4th century BC, the Greeks adopted Babylonian astrology. Later on, the zodiac signs had significance in Greek and Egyptian culture. Nonetheless, it was still the Babylonians who assigned names of certain animals and persons to the various constellations that represented the zodiac signs (“History of Astrology”).
The zodiac signs were classified by the Babylonians into Fire Signs (Aries, Sagitarrius, Leo), Water Signs (Cancer, Pisces, Scorpio), Air Signs (Libra, Aquarius, Gemini), and Earth Signs (Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo). The zodiac signs correspond to the date, time and location of one’s birth, and as it was used to determine the recurrence of the seasons and the celestial events, it gained popularity in divining the future of the people born under each zodiac (“History of Astrology”).
Astrology may be using scientific knowledge using the actual positions of the constellations. However, according to Lizette Borreli, a New York City film critic, sports enthusiast and Medical Daily writer of the article “How Birth Month Influences Personality Traits: The Ironic Science of Astrological Signs,” there is currently no “real world” evidence for the divination and predictions of astrology. However, even if there is no real proof, 29% of Americans trust the predictions of the zodiac, according to a Harris Poll (Borrelli). In fact, a previous study by Mark Hamilton, a social scientist at the University of Connecticut, believes that “seasonal effects may not be as clear as in individuals, but they can be better understood through averaging personality traits in a larger group born at the same time of the year” (Borrelli). Thus, according to Hamilton, although predictions based on the zodiac are not necessarily obvious in single separate individuals, they may be more or less true in clusters of people born at the same time each year. In the study by Hamilton, he considered the data set of 300 celebrities from the fields of science, politics, public service, arts, literature and sports, and he compared each one based on the four elements of the zodiac. His findings revealed that “wet” signs (December to March) had more celebrities born during these times. Previously, he has already connected wetness of the seasons from December to March with creativity, based on the summary of the characteristics of the zodiac during those months (Borrelli).
The Lack of Reliability of Zodiac Signs
Many people do not believe in zodiac signs because of a lack of scientific evidence. Another reason is that one cannot possibly think that millions of people born under one zodiac sign can actually have the same fate. There are many other reasons why many people do not believe in the importance of zodiac signs. However, according to Margaret Hamilton, in her 2001 article entitled “Who Believes in Astrology?” in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, most females believe in zodiac signs (Hamilton). More importantly, people who can be related or have sort of experiences with the truth of zodiac signs are more likely to believe in them. In fact, “high school students initially skeptical about astrology were more likely both to accept the personality description it offered them and to increase their belief in astrology as a whole, if that description were favorable” (Hamilton). Once more, it states that once people find something applicable to use, they would try to believe in it more and more. Nonetheless, the most important aspect of anything that people believe is that it has to be favorable to the believer. This is understandable because everyone wants to hear something nice about themselves. Conversely speaking, this also means that if predictions from zodiac signs turn out unfavorable, or something that seldom or never turns out to be true, then there is a big chance that people concerned are less likely to believe in the truth behind zodiac signs.
The influence of zodiac signs is huge especially on women. In fact many women check their zodiac signs before going to work. According to iVillage, an NBC Universal media company, in a 2011 article in Huffington Post entitled “One Third of Women Horoscope Users Consult the Stars Before Making Major Financial Decisions,” it is true that “with millions of women tapping into astrology everyday, Ivillage’s new astrology.com was especially designed to be more female-focused and to provide instant access to personalization and fun tools such as spinning a wheel for a quick view of love and sex, home and family, mind and body and more” (iVillage). From this statement, one can see that females are more interested in horoscopes or astrology than males in general. According to an iVillage study with an undisclosed source, it shows the same results (iVillage). Gender should be considered as a very important factor when trusting zodiac signs. In this case, females are willing to trust zodiac signs more than men do. Thus, with the belief and confidence in what zodiac signs reveal, gender indeed matters.
Moreover, people tend to believe zodiac signs because naturally people are not logical. Despite the fact that zodiac signs do not have a scientific basis, people still usually over depend on their birth charts and only in what they believe. In fact, according to Linda Rodriguez McRobbie of the Smithsonian Institution, in a 2016 article entitled “How Are Horoscopes Still a Thing?”, “humans don’t tend to make decisions based on a logical, rational understanding of facts (there’s a reason why ‘cognitive dissonance’ is a thing) — and horoscope reading might be just as good a system of action as any” (McRobbie). This statement makes the contention that horoscope reading is not just true but that it is human nature to believe the things that might not be true but that one feels good about. In short, people involve their emotions more than reason when it comes to their beliefs. Furthermore, according to McRobbie, “We also tend to think [that] things happen for a reason and we tend to leap upon whatever reasons are available to us, even if they’re not entirely credible.” In fact, this is an interesting point that explains everything psychologically while emphasizing the fact that people will always want to find reasons behind certain things that they do not understand. The problem is that even if these reasons would sound illogical or supernatural, many people tend to believe such reasons because of their naturally emotional character. This explains why zodiac signs are trusted by so many.
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Can We Believe in Zodiac Signs?
However, the question is whether zodiac signs are actually believable by the average human being or not. In fact, there is a popular belief that zodiac signs are true and that they can affect one’s wellness or state of health. In fact, according to Alexis D’Alba, a correspondent at Wellness Today, in a 2013 article entitled “What Does Your Zodiac Sign Say About Your Health?”, many astrologers believe that astrology has a “much greater wellness purpose” and that Hippocrates, the Greek Father of Medicine himself, once said that “a physician without knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician” (D’Alba). However, Hippocrates here was only referring to medical astrology, or iatromathematics, as a long-standing intellectual tradition in ancient Greece. Thus, he may only have thought that such tradition is true and correct only because it has existed for a long time. Nonetheless, still, according to information from Wellness Today, “research still shows the season of birth does have an influence on our health [and that] over 200 studies have confirmed this correlation including a large study in 2003 accounting for 86 million births from all over the world” (D’Alba). Nonetheless, there is no certainty that the information in these studies have been studied by medical professionals or by astrologers or people who are inclined towards a belief in the truth of zodiac signs.
The synchronization of one’s birth time with the positions of the constellations is not accurate but still people tend to believe the exactness of zodiac signs when it comes to predictions. In fact, according to Richard Dawkins, a correspondent for The Independent, in a 1995 article entitled “The Real Romance in the Stars,” “your birth star will not deign to tell anything about your personality, your future or your sexual compatibilities. The stars have larges agendas, in which the preoccupations of human pettiness do not figure” (Dawkins). These statements imply that stars may not be reliable sources of information in predicting one’s personality or future in life. However, people continue believing in zodiac signs because of the belief that “whatever the year of your birth, somewhere up in the night sky you could find your birth star [and that] its light enables you to look back and see a thermonuclear glow that heralds your birth” (Dawkins). This implies that the belief of a person in zodiac signs is something personal and something that makes a person feel special. Thus, as long as this being of being treated as a special human being is there, then many will continue trusting what the zodiac signs say. However, it is still basically true that the birth chart and any similarities in personality are merely a coincidence. Possible similarities with psychological models will be discussed separately.
Furthermore, there is proof to show that information and predictions from zodiac signs are not believable. In fact, according to a 2003 article in The Telegraph entitled “Astrologers Fail to Predict Proof They Are Wrong,” experts “reviewed the evidence from more than 40 studies involving over 700 astrologers, but found the results turned out no better than guesswork [and that] the success rate did not improve even when astrologers were given all the information they asked for” (“Astrologers fail to predict”). Nonetheless, the astrologers were confident that they made the right predictions and choices. This means that most astrologers would only rely on their confidence and pride in order to make some people feel that they are indeed making an accurate choice or prediction about that person. Since information and predictions involving zodiac signs and produced by astrologers have no scientific basis, then they must be largely false. The thing is that science is the only trusted basis for the accuracy of claims, thus anything that has no scientific basis is not supposed to be regarded as true and correct. No matter how true, favorable and attractive the zodiac signs are, the fact remains that this information is not grounded on something scientifically solid and logical. People believe it merely out of an emotional fulfillment that they derive from such belief.
Personality Model Test
Another predictor of character and personality is the personality model test. Personality model tests are basically more scientific and hence more reliable than zodiac signs.
One of the most popular and one of the most useful personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI. Taken by roughly 2 million Americans every year in their companies and academic institutions, the MBTI bears the “gold standard of psychological assessments” (Cunningham). It is trusted by businesses, educational institutions and government agencies across the United States. It is basically based on the rationale that one should know his personality type in order to help himself “interact more effectively with colleagues and better identify [one’s] own strengths” as well as to “help identify potential career fields” (Cunningham).
As the MBTI is accepted by more and more people, it has actually been used by over 10,000 companies, 2,500 educational institutions and 200 government agencies in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that around 50 million people have already experienced taking the MBTI since it was added by the Educational Testing Service to its roster of tests in 1962 (Cunningham).
According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation website, there are a total of 16 different personality types to which people can be classified. The first is the ISTJ, or The Inspector personality. These people are usually quiet and serious. They are usually intimidating, serious, proper and formal. They are very organized in all aspects of their lives and they have full focus after they can make logical decisions. They possess honor, patience, hard work, loyalty as well as social responsibility (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The next personality type is the INFJ, or The Counselor. This person is basically an idealist and visionary with the most creative ideas. This person usually looks at the world in a profound way and they always have substance in their words. They never take approach anything or anyone in a shallow manner or perspective. Moreover, the fact that they have a different outlook on life makes others think of them as weird (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
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Thirdly, there is the INTJ or The Mastermind personality. This person is basically an introvert as he is more comfortable being alone. Quiet and reserved, this person prefers working by himself. Frequent socialization would usually drain the introvert’s energy. What interests this person is ideas and theories. He usually loves to question the nature of things in this world. They also excel when it comes to strategy and plan making, and they hate uncertainty (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
Fourthly, there is the ENFJ personality type, or The Giver. This person is almost always focused on people. They are the opposite of the INTJ as they are extroverted and outspoken. They are usually ethical and highly principled. They have this uncanny ability to connect with almost anyone no matter the background and the personality. They use their intuition and feelings as they usually rely on their imagination and their abstract view of things (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The fifth is the Craftsman, or the ISTP Personality. The ISTPs are known as very logical and rational people yet are mysterious. They are usually not as recognizable as most people and the other personality types and that explains why one cannot always anticipate their next move. They are usually spontaneous and unpredictable and they are able to hide these traits well (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 6th one is the ESFJ Personality, or The Provider. This person is the stereotypical extrovert. They are usually out there to interact with people and to make them happy. This explains their popularity. They are typically the high school cheerleader and the sports hero. Even later on in life, they are the leaders and organizers of social events that involve their friends, families and communities. The ESFJ is a very likeable personality type.
The 7th is the INFP Personality. The Idealist, as it is so often called, is as quiet and reserved as the introvert. They usually do not talk about themselves. However, they love analyzing symbols and signs in order to make sense of what is going on around them. They usually believe that these signs have deep metaphorical meanings that have implications on their lives. They are usually lost in their daydreams and imagination. Most of the time they are drowned in their thoughts and fantasies (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The ESFP is the 8th personality type. Known as The Performer, this person is usually a born entertainer. They love the stage and the spotlight. They usually love learning and they love sharing with others whatever they have learned. Possessing strong interpersonal skills, the ESFPs are known to be fun-loving and exciting. They are also warm, friendly and generous. They are also sympathetic and concerned about another person’s well-being (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 9th personality type is the ENFP Personality, or The Champion. This person is dominant and highly individualistic. He has his own actions, methods, habits, ideas and looks. They really dislike those who force them to live inside a box. With a strong intuitive nature, they usually like being around with people and they normally use their feelings when gauging situations. They highly rely on their instinct, their perceptiveness and thoughtfulness (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 10th Personality type is the ESTP, or The Doer. They usually have a strong need for social interactions as well as an avenue to release their strong feelings and emotions. They also need freedom all the time. They do not like theories and abstractions, and they sometimes take risks blindly while fixing their mistakes as they go. They do not like sitting idly and making contingency plans (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The ESTJ Personality, or The Supervisor, is the 11th personality type. This person is very much organized and dignified in his manners. He also takes pride in being right and socially acceptable. They are the leaders of the pack and they usually display the qualities of a good citizen. They are often admired by people and are sought for advice and good counsel. Furthermore, they feel happy and important when they are being asked for help (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 12th personality type is the ENTJ personality, or The Commander. This type of person is also rational and logical. They are also natural born leaders and they like being in charge all the time. They are quick in making decisions and they see an obstacle as an opportunity. They never want to sit still as they are always geared toward action (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 13th personality type is the INTP Personality, or The Thinker. This person usually has bright theories and relentless logic. As the most logical of all personality types, they are focused on patterns, and they are experts when it comes to detecting liars as well as experts in reading people. This person is also one that hates routine but would love an environment where he can fully express his creative genius. He usually has unlimited time and energy too (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 14th personality is The Nurturer, and is the ISFJ Personality. This person is warm and kind-hearted and lives with the principle of generosity. They are usually enthusiastic and unselfish as they value cooperation and harmony. They expect people to be just as kind, and they are very sensitive to other’s feelings. They also value consideration and awareness. They also believe that they can change others for the better and can bring out the best in them (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 15th personality is the ENTP Personality, who is otherwise known as The Visionary. The Visionary is very rare in the world. They may be extroverts but they do not enjoy small talk and thus may not fancy social situations especially with those who are too different from them. They are especially intelligent and knowledgeable, thus they need constant mental stimulation. They love a discussion of theories and facts up to the last detail. They are also rational and logical when it comes to their arguments and information (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 16th personality type is the ISFP Personality, or The Composer. This person is like an introvert but not totally as they may have difficulty connecting with people but in fact they are warm and friendly. They are perfect friends as they possess spontaneity. They also love exploring new things and they love new experiences at the same time. They always believe that one can derive wisdom just from experience, and that explains why they value meeting new people although not necessarily interacting with so many people all the time (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
The 16 Personality Types of the MBTI test are taken from the book Introduction to Type by Isabel Briggs Myers. These 16 types were developed by both Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Cook Briggs. They based the personality types on the principles of Carl Jung during the early 1900s (“The 16 MBTI Types”).
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Purpose of MBTI Tests
The purpose of the MBTI Tests is to serve as a guide for many students, government workers, private employees and business people to gain useful insight about their personal strengths and weaknesses. The MBTI Tests are also useful for high school students to determine future career plans (Cunningham). These reasons make it popular.
Widely used in professional fields, MBTI tests are popular as a basis for many training programs. The idea behind this is that if one knows his or her personality type, he will be able to choose the appropriate career that will suit his personality. This means that the MBTI tests are practically useful in the academe. Moreover, if one knows the personality type of other people, he will be able to interact with them better. This means that the MBTI tests have an enormous advantage in the field of marketing as well as in the human resource aspect of the business (Cunningham). From this information, one can see that MBTI tests are more reliable than zodiac signs when it comes to determining the personality and character traits of people.
Problems with MBTI Tests
However, there are also problems with the reliability of the MBTI test. In fact, one challenge of the MBTI test is that it uses belief as a more important basis for its reliability compared to true scientific evidence. The fact is that an MBTI test is administered merely by leadership coaches who have not had any formal education in psychology (Cunningham). In fact, one expert commented, “People like it [the MBTI test] because it reveals something they didn’t know about themselves or others…that could be true of a horoscope too” (Cunningham). This claim is based on the fact that true personality investigation and analysis cannot be determined by a mere examination taken at a single time.
Another problem concerning the reliability of the MBTI test is that many psychologists doubt it. According to University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor of industrial psychology named Adam Grant, the main trouble behind the MBTI test is the “cultlike devotion of many consultants and practitioners to it without the examination of the evidence” (Cunningham). This means that many people do not try to question the test anymore and that they already regard it as perfect or infallible. That becomes a problem if the results of the test are actually not hitting the bulls’ eye. In case that happens, it means that the burden will be on the person who took the test and believed that his actual personality is the one presented by the test even though it may be false.
A third challenge of the MBTI test is the lack of scientific approval. In fact, “no major journal has published research on the MBTI” (Cunningham). This means that there are no strong repudiations of the authority of the test. This means that it is not being questioned. However, since it is not being praised for its usefulness either, then there must be something amiss about it. Still, though, due to its popularity and due to the trust in it by many institutions, the MBTI tests are obviously more reliable than the zodiac signs.
The Life Styles Inventory TM (LSI) is a test that measures “twelve distinct thinking and behavioral styles that are distinguished by their orientations toward task versus people and higher-order needs for satisfaction and growth versus lower order needs for security and safety” (Klisz). The LSI is another reliable test in addition to the MBTI test. The LSI is more reliable than zodiac signs when it comes to determining character and personality types.
As a short-time general personality test, LSI measures the thinking and behavioral styles of three general clusters of behavior: Constructive, Passive/Defensive, and Aggressive/Defensive (Klisz).
The Constructive styles are those that have self-enhancing thinking, are able to develop healthy relationships and can work with people in an effective manner, and are good at accomplishing tasks. They usually include styles labeled Achievement, Affiliative, Self-Actualizing, and Humanistic-Encouraging (Klisz).
Secondly, the Passive/Defensive styles of personality are those who have behavior and thinking that are self-protective and geared towards security and safety through interpersonal interaction. These include styles labeled as Approval, Dependent, Conventional and Avoidance (Klisz).
Thirdly, there are the Aggressive/Defensive styles. These people are those who possess self-promoting thinking and behavior for one’s status or position and to fulfill security needs. These include styles labeled as Oppositional, Power, Perfectionistic and Competitive (Klisz). In fact, the 12 aforementioned styles of personality actually represent the normal patterns of people from the generally effective on one end of the spectrum to the generally self-defeating on the other end of the spectrum of behaviors (Klisz).
Unlike the MBTI test, the LSI is used for thinking and behavior that is based on one’s interests and needs, and not on personality. The LSI is also flexible as it changes over time based on changing roles. Most of all, it is part of a larger measurement system with multiple levels (Klisz). The multi-level measurement system is actually significant because it means that the LSI can actually be used to accommodate individual, leader, group/team and other organizational levels. Compared to MBTI that is only used for a strictly individual level, the LSI test is obviously much more versatile.
The main purpose of the LSI test is for personal development (Klisz). However, personal development is also a multi-faceted concept, and so it can therefore be used for the benefit of the company or institution to which an individual belongs. Thus, assessing the individual at the individual level actually helps the company or institution with which he is affiliated. Secondly, the LSI test is also for the purpose of team building and multi-level organizational change programs (Klisz). This is because identification of teammates with personal preferences that complement the individual is crucial to the joint success of any endeavor.
Another unique advantage of LSI, which is not the same as those of MBTI, is that some of its styles are “positively associated with problem solving and management effectiveness, individual health and well-being, high-quality interpersonal relationships and personal satisfaction” (Klisz). This means that there are clearly more negative or more positive types of personality, unlike in the case of MBTI test, where no one is superior or more positive than the other. Moreover, based on this information, LSI tests are more superior to MBTI tests because LSI seems to consider other aspects of a person’s character including health, well-being and personal satisfaction. This superiority of the LSI means that it is more reliable than the MBTI test and thus much more reliable than the zodiac sign in determining personality and behavior.
The Big-Five Personality Test
As another reliable determiner of personality, the Big Five Personality Test is another test that is hypothesized to be better than zodiac signs in predicting the personality. The Big Five Personality Test is a measure of the big five personality traits. These traits come from statistical study of responses to various personality items. The Big Five Personality test utilizes factor analysis, where researchers go through a person’s answers to personality questions in order to answer the question “What is the best way to summarize this particular individual?” This has been repeatedly done throughout the world. The general result is that usually five main qualities stand out despite the myriad of personality variables (“IPIP Big-Five Factor Markers”).
The Big Five Personality Traits include Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. Extroversion is all about being sociable, having the activity and energy level to perform tasks, and emotional expressiveness. Agreeableness is characterized by trust, altruism, modesty and prosocial attitudes. Conscientiousness is all about goal-directed behavior, self-discipline and impulse control. Neuroticism is about emotional stability but may border on sadness, anxiety and irritability. Lastly, Openness is all about breadth, depth and complexity of a person’s life and character. In fact, the five traits mentioned, which are also the five dimensions of personality according to this theory, have been considered the basis of variance in academics, achievement, well-being, work performance and even juvenile delinquency. These five big personality traits also have their corresponding opposites. For example, the opposite of extroversion is introversion. The opposite of neuroticism is emotional stability, while the opposite of openness to experience is the openness to intellect. The opposite of conscientiousness is undirectedness, while the opposite of agreeableness is antagonism (“The Big Five Personality Dimensions”).
Moreover, research studies have confirmed through the years that the Big Five Personality traits have not only been consistent with reality but has been very helpful. In fact, this is proof that the Big Five Personality Test is a reliable tool in determining personality, which means that it is much reliable than the zodiac signs. In the field of academics, conscientiousness and openness to experience have been positively correlated with GPA. With academic achievement, conscientiousness positively correlated with this quality. Moreover, in terms of career, conscientiousness positively correlated with job and training proficiency. Openness to experience positively correlated with training proficiency but not job performance. Furthermore, when it comes to workplace relationships, low scores in agreeableness and conscientiousness, and high scores in neuroticism are signs that the individual will most likely be counterproductive. Sales people who have a high conscientiousness score are also expected to set more goals as well as follow through the goals that they have set. Lastly, high scores in neuroticism is negatively correlated with self-esteem (“The Big Five Personality Dimensions”). In fact, these proofs show that the Big Five Personality Test is highly indicative of one’s personality.
According to Jason Rentfrow, senior correspondent at PsychCentral, the data on the Big Five Personality traits “have been gathered through the result of decades’ worth of psychological research into personality” and while they do not exactly capture every single person’s idiosyncrasies, the Big Five Personality traits serves as a “theoretical framework in which to understand general components of our personality that seem to be the most important in our social and interpersonal interactions with others” (Rentfrow). This means that the Big Five has been the product of years of dedicated research into the human personality. Since there are only five personality types, the choice is limited. However, the differences in terms of personality can all be basically summarized into these five main categories of personality.
Moreover, the Big Five Personality Test boasts of its stability. In fact, according to Jessica Wortman, a professor and researcher of the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, states that the Big Five Personality test is “more stable, and it indicates that people’s personalities don’t change very often” (Wortman 898). This means that one of the reasons why the Big Five Personality Test has been very reliable in terms of determining an individual’s personality is that personalities don’t often change. The fact that personalities do not often change means that they can be determined and predicted by tests, and one of the most reliable is the Big Five Personality Test. Thus, from these statements, one can conclude that in order for personality to be determined, it has to be fixed and the tool to determine it must be reliable. Moreover, the Big Five Personality Test has also established the idea that the personality of an individual is usually fixed and is therefore determinable. Furthermore, “meta-analytic reviews find that stability coefficients increase from childhood to adulthood” (Wortman 868). This means that as an individual turns into an adult, his personality stabilizes and he tends not to change his personality anymore. Personality does not and will not change over time for the majority of people. In fact, it will ensure one that certain traits become more obvious since they have become naturally more permanent.
However, when it comes to stability, there are some exceptions. Three of the Big Five domains — Agreeableness, Extraversion and Conscientiousness — have age-related differences that are more pronounced before age 30 compared to after 30. However, it is interesting to note that, for Neuroticism and Openness to Experience, the pattern is rather opposite. In fact, “the age differences for Openness were actually largest after age 50” (Wortman 872). Basically, this means that it is rather difficult to determine Openness and Neuroticism among adults, whether it is through a personality test and more especially with zodiac signs. However, it has been indicated by Wortman that the conclusions about the unstable and unpredictable nature of Neuroticism and Openness that comes with age are actually merely “naturalistic observations concerning typical patterns of personality trait development in this sample of Australians” (Wortman 872). This means that perhaps this issue about the instability of Neuroticism and Openness occurs only in Australia, although it somehow proves the fact that as a person ages, his personality may change or disintegrate. Thus, the solution could be to measure personality at the age of around 30 or 40 when one’s personality is established, or perhaps personality must be measured at every point in a person’s life while results cannot guarantee that the individual will have the same personality in the following year. Overall, this issue about the lack of stability of the Big Five domains as affected by age is an extraneous variable that will render any instrument to measure personality — psychological tests or zodiac signs — useless in ascribing a permanent personality on an individual.
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Problems with the Big Five Personality Test
The Big Five Personality Test has its own share of flaws. In fact, according to a psychiatrist, Rustin Berlow, the Big Five Personality Test actually has “no real theoretical foundation” and is based on an “analysis of personality questionnaires,” which by itself is a flawed method (Berlow). Moreover, the results of the Big Five Personality Test — even if they may be precise — are not useful in psychiatry. For example, the domain of Neuroticism is in fact too broad and is not necessarily conclusive of neurosis (Berlow). A third problem with the Big Five Personality Test is that it does not have any logical evidence to support the number of 5 as the total number of major personality traits. In fact, there is a hearsay that the number 5 has been derived from the idea that 5 is “the number of fingers on one hand,” thus this is arbitrary (Berlow). Lastly, the Big Five Personality Test has “factors that are not unrelated to each other” when in fact these factors should at least be independent of each other. For example, “Neuroticism strongly and negatively correlates with Conscientiousness” (Berlow). Thus, it would be rather more practical to measure the same trait only once.
Comparison of the Three Different Test Models
According to Klisz, MBTI is more long-term, LSI is short term, while Big Five is more general. Thus, according to different requisitions, different people need to take different tests (Klisz).
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