About a week ago -- while unintentionally backing up my SSP06 email to my Gmail account... -- I discovered a long lost personality test that was given to us participants at the ISU Summer Session Program in Strasbourg, France. I was going to post it sometime anyway, for "fun," but after giving someone a hard time and trying my best to ruin their Christmas yesterday, what the hell, I'll post it today.

Maybe this makes sense to you -- what do you think?

Attached is your personality profile from the questionnaire you filled out at SSP06 this summer. Be sure to open the powerpoint file in the NOTES view (if it opens in the slideshow format, right click, choose EDIT and Notes) so that you can see the text explanations for the graphs.

There is no such thing as a 'bad' personality profile. Each profile identifies the characteristic way a person responds to the world if there are no strong situational constraints shaping our responses. For instance, we act very differently at a funeral than we do at a party. It is the situations that limit what behaviors and responses we choose to display. Your profile may have identified predispositions to deal with the world that present challenges to you or make things more difficult at times (e.g., if you were quick to anger). These should be considered to be elements of your personality that you can focus more attention on developing more positive ways of managing your response to the world. By adulthood, personality (the predisposition to react in certain ways) is fairly well set…it changes in mostly minor ways as we grow older. In rare situations, extreme experiences can bring about dramatic personality changes but for most of us, we must learn to emphasis our strengths and modify the impact of our less favorable traits. For example, people who are quick to anger may develop strategies to give them time to calm down before trying to interact with others or shy people will use a job role to help them initiate conversations with others. Once we know what our natural predispositions are, we can look for ways to enhance the best and buffer the rest...

Least surprising trait: I score high on the scale for neuroticism. Who would have thought that?

Thanks to Sheryl Bishop for providing this for us and for being a hell of a cool instructor at ISU. Now I have to ask your permission to post this...

The gold standard for personality assessment for the last 15 years has been the NEO-Personality Inventory by Costa & McCrae. This instrument assesses five global dimensions of personality: Neuroticism = anxiety, hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness & vulnerability. Extraversion = warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking, & positive emotions. Openness to Experience = fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas & values, & Agreeableness & Conscientiousness. These dimensions have been found to be associated with the previous previous personality ‘right stuff/wrong stuff/& no stuff’ profiles identified by Helmreich et al in longitudinal studies of American Astronaut candidate performance.

Compared with the responses of other (western) people as well as the men’s & women’s group in general, your responses should be interpreted according to the following categories:

Neuroticism (N)

  • Very High-High: Easily affected by the surrounding atmosphere, easily worried, quick to anger, & easily discouraged; often feels uneasy & embarrassed; have difficulty resisting temptations & coping with stress.
  • Average: Generally calm & able to deal with stress, but you sometimes experience feelings of guilt, anger & sadness easily.
  • Low-Very Low: Very stable moods; often appear calm & relaxed; able to cope with stress, takes more to discourage & embarrass them; composed & able to handle stressful situations without anxiety; secure, hardy & generally relaxed even under stressful conditions.

Extraversion (E)

  • Very High-High: Affectionate, friendly & intimate; gregarious & prefers company; tends to be assertive & drift towards leadership positions; Craves excitement & thrills, work & play at a fast pace; usually have cheerful, optimistic outlook on life in general; extraverted, outgoing, active & high-spirited.
  • Average-Moderate in activity & enthusiasm. You enjoy the company of others but you also value privacy.
  • Low-Very Low: Reserved & formal; prefer to be alone & seldom seek out company; tend to stay in the background & perform activities at a more leisurely pace; have a low need for thrills & have a less exuberant attitude in general than extraverts do. Introverted, reserved & serious; prefer to be alone or with a few close friends.

Openness to Experience (O)

  • Very High-High: Imaginative & daydream a lot; appreciate art & beauty & place value on emotions; prefer variety in life & enjoy trying new things out; have a broad intellectual curiosity & seem to be able to talk knowledgeably about many different things; liberal & open to re-examining own values.
  • Average: Practical but willing to consider new ways of doing things. You seek a balance between the old & the new.
  • Low-Very Low: Focus is on the here & now; find speculative talk a waste of time; are uninterested in artistic endeavors & discount the value of emotions; prefer familiar, routine tasks & life styles; have a narrow intellectual focus & are very conservative & dogmatic about your own views & values.

Agreeableness (A)

  • Very High-High: Sees others as honest & well-intentioned; are often straight forward & frank with others, & are willing to help & trust in them; if placed in a conflict, usually defer under a higher authority; are humble, sometimes self-effacing, & are usually tender-minded & easily moved.
  • Average-Generally warm, trusting & agreeable, but you can sometimes be stubborn & competitive.
  • Low-Very Low: Have a cynical & skeptical outlook on life; find it hard to trust others & often appear guarded & reluctant to get involved; are aggressive & competitive, especially when placed under conflict; often feel superior to others, & are hard-headed & rational.

Conscientiousness (C)

  • Very High-High: Capable & effective; are well-organized, neat & tidy; governed by conscience & honor, driven to achieve success; focused on completing tasks & thinks carefully before acting.
  • Average- dependable & moderately well-organized. You generally have clear goals but are able to set your work aside.
  • Low-Very Low: Often feel unprepared; unorganized & unmethodical in performing tasks; casual about obligations & have a low need for achievement; procrastinate frequently & are easily distracted; spontaneous & hasty in tasks.

The SFPQ Inventory expands on the dimensions of Agreeableness & Conscientiousness measured with the NEO-PI. Your profile presented above consists of three factor scales plus a Conscientiousness score provided at the far right of the profile, even though the SFPQ substitutes this concept with the separate attributes of Methodicalness & Industriousness. The graph indicates your percentile scores & your team percentile scores which reflect the proportion of people in the normative sample that obtained a score lower or equal to the specific trait score. The factor scale percentile scores can range from 0 to 99 percent. Divided by High, High Average, Average, Low Average & Low, your scores can be interpreted as follows:


  • High scores= self-determined & shows a high level of autonomy; enjoys being free in various situations; is unconcerned about reputation or others' praise or disapproval. Defining trait adjectives: Self-reliant, willful, secure, sovereign, unconventional, independent, recalcitrant, offensive, self-assured.
  • Low scores = willing & prefers to follow rules; is easily influenced & reliant on others for direction & support; concerned about reputation. Defining trait adjectives Obedient, approval seeking, dependent, conforming, socially sensitive, ingratiating, impressionable, proper, confiding, pliable, help-seeking


  • High scores=Does not like ambiguity; thinks before acting; is organized & neat. Defining trait adjectives: Precise, prudent, organized, accurate, deliberative, scheduled, meticulous, purposeful, disciplined.
  • Low Scores=Accepts uncertainty & ambiguity; Tends to act on the spur of the moment; Not concerned with neatness or organization. Defining trait adjectives: Vague, rash, messy, imprecise, spontaneous, untidy, inexact, impetuous, chaotic.


  • High scores= Maintains high standards of work & aspires to reach challenging goals; persistent & unrelenting in work habits; is drawn more towards work than play; takes a serious approach to life. Defining trait adjectives Ambitious, persevering, serious, striving, determined, earnest, energetic, sober, aspiring, enduring, no-nonsense.
  • Low scores=Does not have a high level of ambition; gives up quickly & loses drive over time; enjoys doing things for pleasure; has an easy-going attitude toward life. Defining trait adjectives Indolent, lackadaisical, fun-loving, unmotivated, lethargic, playful, unproductive, relaxed, whimsical


  • Is suppose to mirror the same dimension on the NEOPI

The three global dimensions of the SFPQ are further divided into three subscales each.

  • Independence=Autonomy, Individualism and Self Reliance
  • Industriousness=Achievement, Endurance, and Seriousness
  • Methodicalness=Cognitive Structure, Deliberateness and Order

The graph indicates your percentile scores and your team percentile scores which reflect the proportion of people in the normative sample that obtained a score lower or equal to the specific trait score. The factor scale percentile scores can range from 0 to 99 percent. Divided by High, High Average, Average, Low Average and Low, your scores can be interpreted as follows:



  • High scores: Tries to break away from restraints, confinement, or restrictions of any kind; enjoys being unattached, free, not tied to people, places, or obligations; may be rebellious when faced with restraints. Defining trait adjectives: Unmanageable, free, autonomous, rebellious, unconstrained, individualistic, ungovernable, self-determined, non-conforming, non-compliant, resistant, recalcitrant
  • Low scores: Willingly accepts social obligations and attachments; prefers to follow rules imposed by people or by custom; listens to the advice and opinions of others; is amenable to being easily led or influenced; is reliant on others for direction. Defining trait adjectives: Controllable, tractable, manageable, conforming, conventional, reconcilable, obedient, governable


  • High scores: Unconcerned about reputation or social standing; insensitive to others‘ praise or disapproval; does not necessarily conform to socially-approved norms in behavior and appearance. Defining trait adjectives: Socially inappropriate, gruff, unconventional, ungracious, disagreeable, offensive, unstylish, willful, headstrong.
  • Low scores: Desires to be held in high esteem by acquaintances; concerned about reputation and what other people think; works for the approval and recognition of others. Defining trait adjectives: Approval seeking, proper, well-behaved, socially sensitive, agreeable, obliging, recognition-seeking.

Self Reliance

  • High scores: Does not look to others for guidance or support; is able to maintain oneself without aid; has confidence in and exercises own judgment; confronts problems alone; does not seek advice or sympathy. Defining trait adjectives: Secure, strong, self-sufficient, liberated, self-reliant, self-assured, confident, resolute, sanguine.
  • Low scores: Frequently seeks the sympathy, protection, love, advice, and reassurance of other people; may feel insecure or helpless without such support; confides difficulties readily to a receptive person. Defining trait adjectives: Dependent, entreating, confiding, requesting, pleading, help-seeking, defenseless, support-seeking



  • High scores: Aspires to accomplish difficult tasks; maintains high standards and is willing to work toward distant goals; responds positively to competition; willing to put forth effort to attain excellence. Defining trait adjectives: Striving, accomplishing, capable, purposeful, attaining, industrious, achieving, aspiring, enterprising, self-improving, productive, driving, ambitious, resourceful, competitive.
  • Low scores: Tends not to set ambitious goals; prefers easy work over difficult challenges; does not strive for excellence; may respond negatively to challenges and competition; overestimates or exaggerates obstacles. Defining trait adjectives: Unmotivated, indolent, non-competitive, unproductive, enervated, underachieving, non-perfectionistic, lackadaisical.


  • High scores: Willing to work long hours; doesn't give up quickly on a problem; persevering, even in the face of great difficulty; patient and unrelenting in work habits. Defining trait adjectives: Persistent, determined, steadfast, enduring, unfaltering, persevering, unremitting, relentless, tireless, dogged, energetic, has stamina, sturdy, zealous, durable.
  • Low scores Gives up quickly on a problem; unwilling to work long hours; loses drive or effectiveness over time; prefers to rest when faced with obstacles or difficulties; is discouraged when success is not forthcoming quickly. Defining trait adjectives: Faltering, weary, unsteady, tired, lethargic, relaxed, nonchalant, flagging, distractable, unenergetic.


  • High scores: Is subdued in thought, appearance, and manner; takes a serious approach to life and to work; does not seek fun or amusement; avoids frivolity and idle pursuits. Defining trait adjectives: Serious, sober, earnest, conservative, sedate, austere, grave, solemn, grim, somber, staid, prim.
  • Low scores Does many things, "just for fun;" spends a good deal of time participating in games, sports, social activities, and other amusements; enjoys jokes and funny stories; maintains a light-hearted, easy-going attitude toward life. Defining trait adjectives: Playful, jovial, jolly, pleasure-seeking, merry, laughter-loving, joking, frivolous, prankish, sportive, mirthful, fun-loving, gleeful, carefree, blithe.


Cognitive Structure

  • High scores: Does not like ambiguity or uncertainty in information; wants all questions answered completely; desires to make decisions based upon definite knowledge, rather than upon guesses or probabilities. Defining trait adjectives: Precise, exacting, definite, meticulous, perfectionistic, clarifying, explicit, accurate, rigorous, literal, defining, seeks structure, avoids ambiguity.
  • Low scores Avoids making detailed plans or preparations; prefers not to follow a schedule; accepts uncertainty and ambiguity; may base decisions on uncertain information; does not engage in persistent or intense intellectual concentration. Defining trait adjectives: Equivocal, vague, lax, ambiguous, indefinite, lacking in precision, imperspicuous, unscheduled, imprecise, unstructured, inexact, undisciplined


  • High scores: Acts with deliberation; is on an even keel; ponders issues and decisions carefully; thinks before acting; avoids spontaneity. Defining trait adjectives: Thoughtful, prudent, inhibited, restrained, patient, steady, pensive, deliberative, reflective, planful, purposeful, self-controlled.
  • Low scores Tends to act on the "spur of the moment" and without deliberation; gives vent readily to feelings and wishes; speaks freely; may be volatile in emotional expression. Defining trait adjectives: Hasty, rash, uninhibited, spontaneous, reckless, irrepressible, mercurial, impatient, incautious, hurried, impulsive, foolhardy, excitable, impetuous.


  • High scores: Concerned with keeping personal effects and surroundings neat and organized; dislikes clutter, confusion, lack of organization; interested in developing methods for keeping materials methodically organized. Defining trait adjectives: Neat, organized, tidy, systematic, well-ordered, disciplined, prompt, consistent, orderly, clean, methodical, scheduled, planful, unvarying, deliberate.
  • Low scores: Prefers not to organize surroundings neatly; is not concerned with neatness; lacks regularity or uniformity. Defining trait adjectives: Messy, erratic, impulsive, unstructured, arbitrary, random, haphazard, disordered, untidy, chaotic, unorganized.

Achievement motivation scores assesses your orientation to Mastery, Work, and Competitiveness.


  • Mastery: the desire to be in challenging situations (rather do something challenging or difficult, rather than something they are confident with or that is fun);
  • Work – the willingness to apply oneself diligently (finds satisfaction in simply doing work as well as they can, not influenced by to this extent co-workers (popularity), finds satisfaction in a job well done; it doesn’t matter if they do not outperform others);
  • Competitiveness: the desire to best others (need to compete).

Type A Characteristics:

  • II – Impatience & Irritability – irritated easily, quick temper, propensity for feeling time pressured, irritable and impatient
  • AS – Achievement striving – put effort and motivation into things, take life seriously, goal directed behavior with clear desires for achievement
  • Studies have show that in western populations high mastery, high work and low competitiveness scores are characteristic of high performing individuals.

Your profile indicated that you scored:

  • Mastery= High
  • Work= High
  • Competitiveness= High
  • II= Average
  • AS= High

The Personal Attributes questionnaire portion of the assessment measures task versus interpersonal orientation. You can be high on both or low on both or high on one and low on the other…they are independent dimensions.

  • Instrumentality (I, 8 items) best illustrates self-assertive, instrumental or agentic traits (self-assertion, aggressive, not passive, competitive)
  • Expressivity (E, 8 items) interpersonally oriented expressive traits (emotionally sensitive, helpful, devotional)
  • Negative Instrumentality (I-, 8 items) measures agentic attributed carried to an extreme and can be thought of as reflecting arrogance and hostility ( Arrogant, boastful, egotistical)
  • Negative Expressivity Verbal (Eva, 4 items) reflects verbal passive-aggressive qualities (complains constantly, constantly criticizes).
  • Negative Communion (Ec, 4 items) reflects self-subordinating qualities and submissiveness and individual concern for others carried so far that concern for self suffers (gullible, weak-willed)

You scored:

  • Instrumentality (task orientation)= High
  • Expressivity (interpersonal orientation= High
  • Negative Instrumentality (Hostility)= Low
  • Verbal Aggressiveness= Average
  • Neg. Communion= Average

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