The Evolution of Personality Tests
Just like everything in life, personality theories and tests have evolved through history. It’s how humans work…we come up with an idea based on no proof, and then we often find out we’re wrong so we evolve our ideas.
For example, we used to think the world was flat; we were wrong. We used to think we could reach the end of the universe; we think we might be wrong. The Americas did not exist at one point; Europeans were obviously wrong about that. Lead paint used to be a good thing; boy, were we wrong there!
Personality and psychological models have evolved – and they will continue to evolve based on new theories proposed by new people and based on new evidence as our technology continues to improve.
We continue to have a better understanding of personality types, but we’re still evolving in that understanding. We’re always theorizing. And that’s okay!
What Do Personality Tests Actually Do?
From Ancient Greece and Ancient China to current-day psychologists, theories of personality types have been based on a wide variety of factors. Some theorize that our biology determines who we are, some others claim our childhood experiences determine our adult personalities.
Whatever school of thought you might adhere to, there is certainly a personality test to fit that theory and to tell you what personality type you are within that framework.
Here’s an interesting breakdown of personality types and tests through the years:
Basically, personality tests come down to theories. The universal question remains: What is the self? Personality tests can force us to question certain aspects of our lives, but what do personality tests actually do?
We can get results from a personality test and maybe nod along in agreement or argue that the results don’t reflect who we think we truly are inside.
The Big Five is the most popular personality test right now – it’s the one using the acronym OCEAN or CANOE (discussed in the video above). It can offer some insights, perhaps, although it might actually confuse you more than it helps!
Take a look at its basic premise here:
nd, of course, the ever-popular Myers-Briggs test. This one is specifically used by a number of companies and organizations in their hiring process. Unfortunately, it’s not all that reliable in reality!
This personality test doesn’t actually do much, but it’s consistently heralded as a primary tool for management.
Here’s a Vox article explaining why the Myers-Briggs personality test actually doesn’t do anything helpful, and their video if you’d prefer to watch:
And, yet another opportunity to look at what personality tests actually do – specifically evaluating the Myers-Briggs test:
Regardless of the type of personality test we take, the results then leave us with no further steps toward any measurable change in our lives, nor any true understanding of our personalities in reference to others’.
Personality tests can be fun, informative, and a good topic of conversation around the water cooler at work. But, unfortunately, that’s about where they stop being useful at all.
A Better Model of Understanding
There are plenty of other methods for determining personality types around the world.
For millennia, humans have been trying to determine our personality differences and to better understand them. We create categories and we make labels and we try to understand each other based on our own experiences and observations.
But what if, instead of personality types, we evaluated how we communicate with each other? What if we looked at the way we interact with each other as a means of better understanding various types of people?
When we look at the styles of communication around us, we can not only observe differences, but we can actually cater to them and more effectively communicate with people of various styles and preferences.
That’s the crux of the Process Communication Model (PCM).
PCM doesn’t use a personality test to put people into boxes. Instead, we use observations to determine each individual’s communication style and preferences. PCM is a behavior-based model that provides cues and signals on a second-by-second basis of interacting with others.
If we understand how a person chooses to communicate, then we can understand the person and how to most effectively reach an understanding together. Personality test results don’t offer this option to actually improve our interactions with each other – PCM takes test results so many steps further in offering real, practical insights into ourselves and those around us.
How Do People Use the Process Communication Model?
The Process Communication Model (PCM) is something you can use every day with practical application. It was established as a system based on actually watching people interact. Dr. Taibi Kahler introduced PCM to NASA in the 1970s, which they then used to screen potential astronauts.
PCM takes inventory of the different parts of your personality type, but it doesn’t put you into a sealed box. It allows for changes and movement within your styles and preferences – dissuading a structure whereby you get boxed into a label with no chance to evolve.
Learning PCM offers you a tool. It’s a tool you can use when someone is yelling at you and you’re not sure what to do. It’s also a tool that helps you stay sane in a life of day-to-day struggles at work, at home, and in your relationships.
People judge each other every day because they don’t understand differences in others, but PCM is the tool that brings light into that fog.
When we’re able to clear up any misunderstandings and more effectively communicate, every aspect of our lives improves with that ease and fluidity. Learning these skills through PCM training is a way of changing our lives for the better – regardless of the label any random personality test might put on us.
What is the Future of PCM?
PCM is the future of understanding various personalities and interactions.
The Process Communication Model has been used in the business world for some time. NASA used it to screen potential astronauts, Pixar uses it to reach wider audiences with their movies, and other large companies like Apple, IBM, Coca-Cola, and BMW all use PCM in their corporate structure.
From the business world to the educational world, PCM is also used in schools to teach kids effective communication at an early age. We’re seeing the positive effects of PCM in these settings already.
Jeff King, the Head of School for MUSE School, has said that PCM is 10-15 years ahead of its time for interpersonal communication. He predicts that the world will catch up with PCM eventually. We at Thinker Base can’t help but agree.
At Thinker Base, our hope is that integrating PCM into the world will have a drastic, lasting, positive change in our society. Come be a part of it!