Is it really possible to accurately measure someone’s personality? Why or why not?

Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it is not only possible but really essential to measure our own personality because there is nothing more important in life than understanding who we are. As far as measuring other people's personalities, that is probably possible but would require the other person's full cooperation, and that would be hard to get in most cases because people are reluctant to reveal themselves even to close friends. Psychologists have been working hard for much of the past hundred years to develop tests for measuring personalities. They still have a long way to go; nevertheless, there is a lot of valuable information readily available for self-assessment. Some of it can be accessed with ease on the Internet by searching such subjects as "self-testing." Many services offer free tests. The best tests probably are related to the famous Briggs-Meyers Personality test or inventory. Carl Jung in his great work Personality Types identified two basic personality "attitudes," introversion and extraversion. He coined those terms, and they have gotten worldwide acceptance. He further identified four basic conscious "functions," split into two dichotomies--sensing/intuition, and thinking/feeling. One other dichotomy judging/perceiving determines the personality type a person is most susceptible to. Combined, they result in sixteen different personality type combinations (ex. INTJ, which stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging).

I recommend that you refer to C. G. Jung in eNotes and that you look up some personality tests on the Internet. I think we should start with understanding ourselves before we try to understand other people. Maybe understanding ourselves automatically helps us to understand others.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even if you don't believe you can measure other people's personalities, don't you believe you can even understand yourself? If we can't learn to understand ourselves in this life, we are likely to go around in circles and have many slips, falls, and bumps. The internet offers many different kinds of self-testing, and a lot of the tests are free. You don't have to believe in their reliability when you take them. All you need to do is to take them and then see how the results compare with your own knowledge of yourself. Once again I recommend the Briggs-Meyers tests. The tests are discussed in eNotes, but the tests themselves have to be accessed through Google. 

mim-meche1 | Student

I will say no, it is not possible to measure personality due to it's nature. Personality is an abstraction. It has no concrete shape and is ever changing. Moreover, there is no concrete agreement on definition and no true zero in personality. Nevertheless, Thorndike E.L.(1914-1918) dictum which says" if a thing exists, it exists in some amount, and if it exists in some amount, it can be measured..." must be borne in mind while taking of psychological measurement. Though measurment could not be ascribed to personality,  it could be assessed and prediction based  on the assessment has been found to be reliable.

lover990 | Student

No, it is not possible to accurately measure one's personality. From when a child is born to their old age, their personalities can change. Due to this case, it is impossible to accurately measure one's personality. They can go from stubborn, to after hearing a lecture, suddenly be very leinent. People can change over night, and it would be impossible to measure it. 

weddanever | Student

my answer is not, as personality is a qualitative fact. however there are researches and theories that attempts to quanify each trait or personalities according to some factors but how accurate it is, well maybe just close but never been.