Computer assessment of personality: A demonstration of gullibility

Lionel G. Standing1, Gregory Keays1
1Bishop's University, Canada
Cite this article:  Standing, L. G., & Keays, G. (1986). Computer assessment of personality: A demonstration of gullibility. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 14(2), 197-202.

Volume 14 Issue 2 | e499 | Published: August 1986 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1986.14.2.197

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Subjects (N = 64) were shown a list of 66 personality traits, and indicated whether or not they possessed each one. Three weeks later, they were shown their trait list, another subject's trait list, a computerized personality profile derived from their traits, or a profile derived from another subject's traits. In each case they rated how well their personality was described by the trait list or profile, on three seven-point scales. It was found that the spurious personality descriptions (both traits and profiles) were rated as highly for accuracy as were the genuine descriptions. Interpretive personality profiles were rated no higher than simple lists of trait names. It is argued that these results should be attributed to general gullibility rather than, e.g., the impressiveness of psychological tests.
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