Each of us has our own way of being. We observe the world in a certain way, we relate to others in a concrete way, and we generally express a tendency to do certain things and react in a more or less stable way.
In other words, and although it seems redundant, each person has their own unique personality. This concept, which defines who and how we are, has been the subject of a classic study in psychology, having created many measuring instruments to assess them called personality tests.
Of all, the Factorial personality questionnaire or test of the 16 personality factors, Also known as 16PF, originally created by psychologist Raymond Cattell.
A brief introduction: what is personality?
As mentioned above, personality is a general pattern of behavior, interaction, ways of coping and relating and the perception of reality that each individual possesses. This general pattern is a stable and consistent element that occurs throughout the life of each person, especially forged from childhood to early adulthood through a combination of biopsychosocial elements (genetics, environment and experiences of each person).
Personality can vary in some ways in response to specific life situations and developments, but it usually persists throughout the life cycle, constantly observing in most areas and across the different situations we live in. . This does not mean that specific aspects are immutable, but it does require a high level of effort and work, usually retaining all of the characteristics that make up the personality.
The study of personality
The main objectives of the personality study were to find and explain the main individual differences between the subjects in terms of behavior, based on the measurement of the different traits. From these measurements, an assessment of the characteristics of individuals can be made from the comparison with the mean of help make predictions about own behavior and that of others and assess their suitability for the environment.
But keep in mind that personality is not an easily identifiable objective element, but rather an abstract construct that is difficult to quantify. Different types of criteria, such as empirical or rational, had to be used to develop instruments that measure personality.
One of the methods of constructing personality measurement instruments is based on factorial criteria, in which the relationship between different characteristics is sought in order to establish groups of traits, called personality factors. Considering these types of criteria, Raymond Cattell built in 1957 one of the most famous personality tests, the 16 PF.
Subject entry: 16 FP
The Factorial Personality Questionnaire or 16 FP is one of the most well-known and widely used personality measurement instruments in the early history of psychology. Created as already indicated by Raymond Cattell from factorial criteria, the main function of this evaluation tool is to study and evaluate personality traits according to various factors (sixteen main-five secondary or global in the latest version ).
These factors are bipolar, that is, they fit into a continuum that runs from one end of the plan to the other, placing the score of the person being assessed at a given point in that continuum.
To facilitate understanding: if one of the factors is domination, one of the poles reflects an authoritarian, competitive and independent person while the other would indicate a submissive person, conformist and dependent on others, being the majority of the population in an intermediate situation.
Internal organization of the personality test
This personality test is organized from a total of 185 closed questions with three answer options, being one of the indicative options that cannot be answered, except for some questions asked as problem solving by evaluating intelligence. As it is question-based and does not require very advanced technologies to launch a result, it has been widely used in business and all kinds of organizations when selecting personnel who may be part of the team or receive promotion.
The score obtained from the 16 PF is calculated from models, which take into account the value of each of the items in the prediction of the factor that corresponds to them, having between ten and fourteen per factor, and passing this score directly to decedipus scaled.
The 16 PF consists of different types of stairs. In its fifth version, three scales are used to detect response styles, and can assess the sincerity and verifiability of the data obtained, four global or secondary scales and finally sixteen personality factors that are assessed in this personality test.
Population to apply to
The type of population for which the 16 FP is intended are located in subjects from the age of sixteen, requiring a level of understanding similar to that of a second year ESO student to be able to perform well. This is necessary, among other things, to ensure that everyone has enough skills to understand the basic operation of the test and how to apply it.
However, there are different variations of this personality test, with some versions more aimed at people with reading difficulties or socio-cultural issues.
Objectives and application
The 16PF is designed for analyze traits and response styles of the person to be evaluated, and can obtain with its interpretation a basic profile of the subject’s personality.
This personality test is very useful, being frequently applied in fields such as research, organizational and human resources psychology, and clinical psychology. However, the idea of this questionnaire is to assess the typical personality, not focusing on the analysis of psychopathology (although through its observation we can see traits that tend to a certain anomaly, this is not is not their purpose and is not prepared for the diagnosis of disorders).
Interpret the 16 PF
When analyzing the results, the general steps are to first observe the response styles to see if the test results are reliable, and then assess global dimensions and extreme beheads, Which serve as a general idea of the situation and the patient’s profile to extract scores from the other scales and finally analyze and interpret the score of each of the 16 primary scales, using the own test and external guides.
Scales and factors of 16 PF
Here are the different scales that make up the 16 PF:
1. Response style scales
The main function of the response style scales is to ensure the validity and reliability of the data collected on the patient, by observing whether he responds correctly and sincerely or if trends appear that distort the data and therefore the analysis of the personality.
2. Image manipulation
This scale is responsible for assessing whether the answers to the questions are sincere or come out of social desire, either to portray a good image or to appear worse than you, with secondary goals.
On this scale, the tendency to always respond positively to questions is assessed, which could indicate a lack of sincerity that makes it difficult to properly analyze the situation.
4. Frequency index
It is used to detect infrequent responses. This may be because the person being assessed is responding at random, although each response and its correspondence to the whole personality test should be analyzed.
The 16 main factors
The main or first order factors broadly and specifically reflect different personality traits. are the following.
A: Affectivity: schizothymia (weak affectivity) vs cyclothymia (strong affectivity)
This factor values emotional expressiveness. To score high on this scale, you need to be affectionate and express your emotions, be pleasant, relate to others and have a certain ease in doing so. On the contrary, he was evaluated under the personality approach at the schizothymic pole, being not very affective, with low expressiveness and a high level of rigidity and a tendency to isolation.
B: Reasoning: high intelligence vs low intelligence
Although this factor is more closely related to intelligence than to personality, we must not forget that having more or less intellectual capacities affects the way we see and act in the world.
A high score would make you think of someone with ease in learning, understanding and understanding the abstract and adapting to circumstances. A low score implies a lower ability to cope with the midst, greater rigidity and fewer response options and resulting in a difficult understanding of the world.
C: Stability: personal strength versus personal weakness
This factor mainly refers to the stability of the person. A person who scores high is considered to tend to be able to maintain good manners and have a stable emotivity. A low score would reflect neuroticism, lability, and poor emotional control.
D: Dominance: Dominance vs submission
Dominance factor refers to the ability to be independent. High scores mean the pattern of behavior is competitive, independent, and even bossy, while low scores indicate submission and compliance.
E: impulsivity: emergence (impulsivity) vs disurgence (inhibition)
Indicates motivational capacity and desire to do things, As well as the ability to control oneself. A person who scores high will be outgoing, motivated, brash and impulsive, while people with low scores will tend to be worried, cautious and anxious.
F: Group conformity: strong superego vs weak superego
It refers to the capacity for self-control, decision-making and appreciation of others. A person who scores high will be determined, stable, engaged and will value others but not be coached by them. Low scores can indicate frivolity, neglect, and immaturity.
G: Audacity: Parmia (audacity) vs Trectia (shyness)
It is the ability to turn thoughts and wills into actions. High scores imply boldness and spontaneity, while low scores indicate inhibition and shyness that keeps you from getting things done.
H: sensitivity: pressure (sensitivity) vs stone (hardness)
This factor indicates the presence of sensitivity in the person. A high score makes you think of an emotional, kind, shy, and labile person. Low scores indicate emotional strength, pragmatism, and a low ability to get aroused.
I: Suspicion: Alexia (trust) vs protection (mistrust)
The level of trust or mistrust in others. People who score high are suspicious of the intentions of others, while low scores reflect interest and trust in others, as well as the ability to bond.
J: Imagination: Praxemia (pragmatism) vs Autia (imagination)
The ability to abstract. Having a high score refers to the ability to be eccentric and unconventional, imaginative. A low score in this aspect reflects a reality-focused personality with little artistic and conventional interest.
K: Intelligence: subtlety vs naivety
Ability to comprehensively analyze reality and observe different options and perspectives. People who score high have the ability to sense and analyze both reality and themselves, while those who score low are more naive, gullible, and a bit more awkward in their relationships.
L: Guilt: Consciousness vs imperturbability
It refers to the ability to take responsibility for things. High scores indicate apprehension and ease of guilt. Low scores reflect safety and serenity.
Q1: Rebellion: radicalism versus conservatism
This 16 FP scale indicates the capacity for open-mindedness or respect for traditional ways of doing things.. A high score indicates an interest in the intellectual and open-mindedness. Low scores indicate conservatism, traditionalism and respect.
Q2: Self-sufficiency: self-sufficiency vs dependence
It reflects the ability to make your own decisions, Rate these people at the top of the scale, or the preference to make decisions agreed to by the group and depend on other people, and in this case the lowest score.
Q3: Self-control: self-esteem vs indifference
It’s about measuring emotional and behavioral control. A high score suggests the presence of vetted personalities, while a low score reflects neglect
Q4: Tension: tension vs tranquility
It refers to the level of anxiety of the person. Nervous and irritable people would score high while calm people would score lower
Second order or global scales
Second-order scales are obtained from the analysis of the sixteen main factors, serving as a general summary of the patient’s situation while providing more general and less precise information than the detailed analysis of each scale.
QS1: Introversion and extraversion
People with ease of relationship score high on this secondary factor, being extroverted. In contrast, introverts or people with a tendency to social inhibition tend to score low.
Peace of mind and security are common characteristics among people who score low on this scale. In contrast, people who are anxious and insecure tend to score high on this scale.
People who worry, get frustrated, or become easily discouraged tend to score low, regardless of their level of kindness. They are also often analytical. On the other hand, a high score indicates decision-making capacity and stability, but also a lower level of risk assessment.
It reflects in its high scores independence, assertiveness, uninhibition and radicalism, while if rated low it indicates insecurity, humility, shyness and moralism.
- Cattell, RB; Cattell, A, K., Cattell, HEP (1995). 16 PF-5. Factorial personality questionnaire. TEA editions.
- Cohen, RJ and Swerdlik, ME (2002). Psychological tests and evaluation. McGraw Hill. Madrid
- Karson, M., Karson, S., and O’Dell, J. (2002). 16PF-5. A guide for its interpretation in clinical practice. Madrid: TEA editions
- Schuerger, JM (2009). The questionnaire on the 16 personality factors: 16PF. A CE Watkins, Jr. and VL Campbell (Eds.), “Testing and Assessment in Counseling Practice” (pages 67-99). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.