Five Common Types of Psychological Tests

Plenty of psychological assessment tests evaluate the thoughts, characteristics and abilities of an individual. The majority of psychological tests have been developed by renowned psychologists and fall into a broad range of categories to evaluate achievement and aptitude, intelligence, personality, neuropsychology and occupational characteristics. The tests usually are administered and interpreted by trained psychologists, and a report in the “Journal of Personality Assessment” lists the five most common tests.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale

The Wechsler intelligence scale encompasses two similar tests developed by David Wechsler, one designed for adults and the other for children. The test measures an individual’s cognitive ability, or intelligence quotient (IQ). The adult version (WAIS) is intended for those ages 16 and above and lasts about 90 to 120 minutes. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is used for children ages 6 to 16 and lasts about 50 to 75 minutes. Scores are determined for verbal IQ, performance IQ and full-scale IQ, with a mean score of 100. The verbal and performance sections have subdivisions with various sub-tests, such as arithmetic, comprehension, picture completion and object assembly. The Wechsler tests are intended for clinical, educational and research use.

Rorschach Inkblot Test

The Rorschach Inkblot Test is a common technique used to assess personality characteristics, developed by Hermann Rorschach. The test is designed for children and adults and is used in clinical and research settings. Ten abstract inkblot images are presented– black, red and black, or multicolored. The subject looks at each image and informs the tester what he sees, along with any associated feelings about the image. This free-association phase is followed by the inquiry phase, in which the tester shows the inkblot cards again in a specific order. The Exner scoring system is used to assess personality characteristics and any underlying thought disorders based upon the descriptions of the inkblots.

Thematic Apperception Test

Developed by Henry Murray, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is another test commonly used to assess personality. The TAT is lasts about 100 to 200 minutes, divided into two sessions (one day apart), and is designed for children and adults over age 4. A series of ambiguous human figure scenes is displayed, and the subject must make up stories about what she sees. The stories provide insight into the subject’s underlying motives, needs, wants, emotions and conflicts, both consciously and subconsciously. The stories are analyzed for psychological insight into the subject to determine such things as patterns or motivations.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is an objective test used in the assessment of psychopathology. The test is designed only for adults and lasts 40 to 90 minutes. The test asks the subject to answer about 550 true/false statements, depending on the selected version of the test. Based on these answers, various personality characteristics and psychopathologies are determined. The scoring system consists of clinical scales numbered 0 through 9. The numbered scores relate to a specific psychopathology: 0 (social introversion), 1 (hypochondriasis), 2 (depression), 3 (hysteria), 4 (psychopathic deviate), 5 (masculinity-femininity), 6 (paranoia), 7 (psychasthenia), 8 (schizophrenia) and 9 (hypomania). The test is designed as a screening, assessment, selection and prediction tool in research and clinical settings.

Wide Range Achievement Test

The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) is a reading-comprehension, spelling and arithmetic-computation test developed by Joseph and Sarah Jastak. There are two levels of the test, with Level I designed for children ages 5 to 11 and Level II for people ages 12 to 64. The test takes 20 to 30 minutes and assigns scores in reading, spelling and arithmetic, with a mean score of 100. The test can be used for many reasons, such as comparing achievements among individuals, assessing learning disabilities, prescribing remedial programs,and for planning instructional programs.

About this Author

Jason Dority has been writing health-related articles and developing community resources for a healthier lifestyle since 2007. He is experienced in diabetes prevention and strategies to implement clinical research trials into the “real-world.” He currently works for the IU School of Medicine’s Diabetes Translation Research Center and holds a Master of Science degree in biology.