27th - The testing of America By Caroline Hsu 9/20/04 Are...

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The testing of America By Caroline Hsu 9/20/04 Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A confronter? An idealist? An analytical Enneagram type 5, or a free-spirited orange? Or are you, like most people, just a good old ESTJ? Whether you see the world through four-letter personality types, believe in ayurvedic doshas , or completed an online assessment before getting a job, chances are you've taken a personality test. If not, just wait: Personality tests are increasingly a part of American life, used to assess preschool applicants, match up college roommates, award promotions, and even match life partners. And they're big business: Personality testing companies make up a $400 million industry that's growing at an average of 10 percent a year. The tests are used in hiring, promotions, and professional development by a third of U.S. businesses. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the most popular, is taken by an estimated 2.5 million people a year, and in the past three months alone, the online testing website Tickle administered 10 million personality tests. Who are you? Yet despite some of the tests' scientific trappings, they may reveal less about "personality" than meets the eye. Within the field of psychology, there's not even a consensus on whether personality can be tested at all. While some psychologists regularly use tests to predict and understand behavior and guide individual change, others believe that personality is a moving target, determined by past experience and current environment. Some tests, like the Rorschach inkblots, are highly controversial yet still remain in use. And others, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its legions of imitators, have little academic support but are seen as largely harmless and sometimes very helpful in therapy and personal coaching. "Personality tests are popular because they promise a shortcut," says writer Annie Murphy Paul, author of the forthcoming book The Cult of Personality: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies and Misunderstand Ourselves
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2012 for the course PSYCH 1101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

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27th - The testing of America By Caroline Hsu 9/20/04 Are...

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