Where is my Assessment/Report?

Once you are signed into www.understandmyself.com, you'll find your assessment/report under the "My Work" menu on the top of the page.


Why are the questions formatted as phrases?

The statistical work done to derive the Big Five has been conducted on single adjectives, short phrases (of the type used in the current Big Five Aspect Scale) and full sentences. Single adjectives are, arguably, too vague and imprecise. Full questions, by contrast, are too specific and exacting. Phrases are a reasonable compromise, and have been used by many researchers, including Lewis L. Goldberg, from whose International Personality Item Pool the phrases used for the Big Five Aspect Scale were derived (see DeYoung, C.G., Quilty, L.C. & Peterson, J.B. Between facets and domains: 10 aspects of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 880-896.)


Aren’t the phrases used for understandmyself.com in the public domain, and easily accessible elsewhere?

The Big Five Aspect Scale itself is in the public domain, and there are free versions with reports available elsewhere. However, although the 100 phrases are important, it is the statistical processing and the report generation that are, in our opinion, of crucial importance. We have a large normative sample of more than 10000 people who have taken the Big Five Aspect Scale as a comparison group, and have endeavored to generate reports that are more thorough, accurate, blunt and complete than any others currently available. It is tempting for those who formulate personality test reports to write them so that everyone wins, so to speak, regardless of the configuration of their scores. Our research team has, instead, created reports that lay out both individual strengths and weaknesses comprehensively and carefully. Thus, you are not enrolling in this program for the questions, but for the information generated about your answers.


Why can I only take the test a single time?

A genuinely accurate personality test has to be taken (and scored) in a standardized manner. The sample of people against whom your scores will be compared only took the test a single time. We have to make the conditions under which you take the test as similar to those of the comparison group as possible, and that means only having you take it once, as well. Furthermore, if you take the test, and then look at your results, and then re-take it, your second results will be subject to biases introduced by your now-expanded knowledge of your personality. That means you will change your responses, in all likelihood, and distort your answers..


What can I do to improve my personality?

We have developed the Self Authoring Suite, precisely for such purposes. The Past Authoring program helps people write an autobiography, which can lower stress and anxiety as a consequence of increased self-understanding and focused causal reasoning about past misadventures and fear-provoking events. The Present Authoring Programs (Virtues and Faults) helps people identify their personality strengths and weaknesses (pick one or both) so that they can fortify the former and rectify the latter. The Future Authoring program helps people develop a vision and a plan for three to five years down the road, and has demonstrated success, for example, at helping university students stay enrolled and get better grades (see The Writing Assignment that Changes Lives). Similar planning programs have been shown to substantially increase personal productivity in other domains.


What if I want to see if my personality has changed?

Personality is quite stable. If you have done a lot of work to change a trait or an aspect, there is, however, the possibility of change and improvement. However, this is a process that will occur over months or years, not days or weeks. Thus, it is best not to take the test again soon. Do what you need or want to do to change your personality, and then try the test again in six months or a year.


Who am I being compared to when the percentiles are generated, and why?

Your self-report answers to the 100 Big Five Aspect phrase/questions are compared with those of 10000 others males and females of widely different ages. We could have compared you to others of your sex and age, but decided that it would be more informative and simpler to let you know what you are like compared with everyone else, regardless of age and sex. What this means in practice is that if you are male you will score lower on agreeableness and neuroticism than you would if you were only compared to males (for females the reverse applies), and that if you are younger you will score lower on agreeableness and conscientiousness and higher on neuroticism than you would if you were only being compared to other young people (with the reverse being true for older people).


What if I disagree with the results, or feel that they do not accurately represent my personality?

First, remember that this is a self-report test, scored comparatively, using statistical processes. The manner in which you describe yourself has been compared to the manner in which many other people described themselves. If you received results that you do not regard as accurate (and this is more likely to be the case when the report describes more negative personality attributes) it is possible that you were too hard on yourself when you answered the questions. This is more probable if you are higher, rather than lower, in trait neuroticism (as people higher in neuroticism are more self-critical), or if you were in a bad mood when you took the test, or if you are depressed, or hungry or ill.

Second, remember that the traits and aspects have to be considered in combination, rather than singly. So, for example, you might be very or extremely high in Agreeableness. You therefore received feedback on the report stating that you have a hard time standing up for yourself, and are generally more concerned with the feelings and desires of other people. However, if you are also high in assertiveness (an aspect of Extraversion) and/or low in Neuroticism then you are more likely to say what you want and put your needs forward than an agreeable person low in the former and high in the latter. If you are low in Conscientiousness, you are less likely to be successful in school and in managerial and administrative jobs—but if you have a high IQ and low Neuroticism then your chances of success rise substantially. Furthermore, you could be low in Conscientiousness but high in Openness to Experience and be successful as a creative person or entrepreneur.


What if I want to speak to someone about my results?

We don't have the staff or resources to offer personalized discussions of the understandmyself.com results. If you have completed the assessment, however, your feedback is welcome


What is the difference between the understandmyself.com test and report and the SelfAuthoring Suite Present Authoring exercises?

The SelfAuthoring Suite Present Authoring exercises are designed to help you hone in on a small number of personality virtues or faults so that you can capitalize more effectively on the former and rectify the latter. It is designed specifically to help you improve your personality.

The understandmyself.com report provides a comprehensive survey of your personality from with regard to the Big Five Traits and the ten subsidiary Aspects. It is designed specifically to help you understand the general structure of human personality and to inform you precisely about how you compare to others.



The photograph, "Go!", is by German photographer Philipp Zieger. Please visit his website, www.philippzieger-photographie.de, and his instagram page, pziegerphotographie, to see more of his work.