Why Do Personality Test Assessments Change Over Time?

[adsense float=’left’]The biggest challenge people have with personality tests, is that each time they take them, they seem to get different results. One time they might take a test and be labeled an introvert, and the next time they may be labeled an extrovert. From this, they come to one of two conclusions. And both of them are wrong!

The first conclusion they might think of, is that the test might be useless. In other words, it is impossible to categorize a person’s personality. They might even say: “You can’t really know me by some stupid test.”

The second wrong conclusion they come up with, is that their personality has changed over time. This is wrong too.

To put some real meaning on this, let’s understand the results of the MBTI personality test.

The Pivot System

The first thing to understand is that the test doesn’t measure on/off. That means you should assume that you’re either an Extrovert or Introvert (for example). It is not one or the other.

What it measures, is your preference toward one side of the spectrum.

Think of each characteristic letter-combination as a teeter-totter. It is a board, with a pivot in the middle somewhere.


Each Letter-Combination is like a teeter-totter with a pivot that allows the board to balance.

Each Letter-Combination is like a teeter-totter with a pivot that allows the board to balance.

Like a physical teeter-totter, the pivot is not stationary. It can move. You would move it to which ever side is heavier. Note: There is a teeter-totter for each of the four letter-combinations in the MBTI assessment.

For example on the introvert-extrovert teeter-totter, you might have a score, such as I-80%. This actually means that the pivot is shifted toward the Introvert side, 80-percent of the way toward the end (as measured from the exact center).

An I 80% would mean the pivot is 8/10ths the way from the middle towards the Introverted side of the teeter-totter.

An I 80% would mean the pivot is 8/10ths the way from the middle towards the Introverted side of the teeter-totter.

So when you climb on the teeter-totter, you’ll balance it back to being level.

Now let’s say you are an E-100%. That means the pivot has shifted all the way to the other end, and is at the very end of the teeter-totter.

When you have a 100% score, the pivot is all the way on one end of the teeter-totter.

When you have a 100% score, the pivot is all the way on one end of the teeter-totter.


I don’t think anyone would be classified as an E-100% or it’s opposite, the I-100%. It is very extreme to be all the way to either end of the spectrum. If you were a full-blown introvert, you probably couldn’t leave your house without having an intense phobia. Similarly, if you were a full-blown extrovert, going to the bathroom by yourself (without being accompanied by another person) would also cause extreme anxiety.

Most people are are going to be toward the middle.

However, according to statistics, more people (more than 60%) have their pivot toward the extroverted side of the teeter-totter. That means there are more extroverts in the world than there are introverts.

You Aren’t Being Judged For Your Traits

I prefer to use the MBTI system, because there is no judgement associated with the letters. This contrasts to the Big-5 system, which measures the same thing, but has different labels for the traits. For example, they use a 10-point scale, and have labels on the traits such as “Agreeableness.”

Who wouldn’t want to be “agreeable?” Because, if you had a low score on agreeableness, wouldn’t you think you were defective?

By the way, “Agreeableness” is the same trait that is measured in the MBTI as the Thinking-verus-Feeling (T or F) category. I’d much rather have someone tell me that I have a high-Thinking score, than be told that my Agreeableness is low. Wouldn’t you?

The Middle Of the Teeter-totter

Anyway… Getting back to our original discussion.

The exact middle of the teeter-totter is a unique position to be in. For example, in one case, you could be called either an E-0% or I-0%. That is kind-of confusing, so the exact middle of the teeter-totter is called in the MBTI system an “X”.

Being in the exact middle would give you an "X" letter in your MBTI score.

Being in the exact middle would give you an “X” letter in your MBTI score.

You can have an “X” as your letter in any one of the four positions in the MBTI profile. And you could even be an X in more than one position. For example, it is possible to have an XXXX score.

Having an “X” is more common than being either a full blown I-100% or an E-100%.

And it appears that there are some advantages to have an X trait. For example, there is evidence than an X as a letter-score in the E-I category would be more likely to be a successful salesman than someone that is either a high-I or a high-E. This was reported at: http://www.counselheal.com/articles/3661/20130131/why-introverts-lead-well-extroverts.htm.

In this case, as the article says, the X type person is both a good listener and a good talker.

Why Do Personality Test Scores Change?

For starters, the tests are not bad or defective.

Typically, when you repeat a test at a different date, you’ll get results that are somewhat similar. For example, you might move from a I-50% to an I-30%. That is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. You’re still a person that generally likes to get away by yourself and recharge your batteries.

The reason that the scores can change, is because the test itself is a self-assessment. Because of that, it means you can be influenced by conditions around you.

For example, if I was taking the Big-5 personality test, and I knew I could be judged by others as having a low “agreeableness” score, I would answer the questions in a way to appear more agreeable. Does that make sense? It should.

And this actually does happen in real life. Let me give you my own real-life example.

When I hire people to work for me, I have them take a personality test. Because the test is linked in their mind as being a qualification for getting the job, it colors their answers. The answers that are most swayed by this “priming effect,” are those that are associated with the last letter (J/P category) on the MBTI.

[adsense float=’left’]In this case, when I was reviewing the personality test scores of the candidates, I was only seeing people with the Judging (J) trait, and ZERO people with the Perceiving (P) trait. In real life, if they weren’t primed by the situation of trying to get the right answers, I should have saw a 50-50 split in the candidate’s scores.

Therefore, the situation surrounding when you take a personality test does matter! Even researchers know this, and they have their research subjects take the test several times and average the results.

My recommendation, is that if you want a fairly accurate result, then you should take the test when you are in a calm mood, and there is no stressful influences on your life.

Coming Soon – A Genetic Personality Test

Researchers are finding the genetic markers that indicate the individual personality traits. For example, they can tell which people have the generous gene in their DNA, which is one of the markers for the person with the Warrior personality type.

My prediction is, that one day, there will be a simple swab test that will tell you which genetic markers you have, and what your MBTI score might be. This would be ideal, as then any outside situations wouldn’t affect your scores and you’d get an accurate assessment of your real personality type.

Can You Tell Someone Else’s Personality Type?

Yes! It is possible to use clues that people give off to get a good idea as to what their personality type is. I teach how to do this in my Personality Marketing Manual. I have several examples on the DVD’s where I can type someone in less than 20 seconds.

The advantage of speed-typing in the business world, is that it gives you an edge. Just imagine for a second, that you owned a retail store, and a prospect just walked through your doors. In the time it takes for a normal salesperson to say “can I help you?”, you’ve already got them typed and you know more about their values, fears and their action-triggers than they do themselves. With this in mind, what would you say to a prospect if you knew their deepest fears? Wow! Think of the possibilities…

It is because I can type people so quickly, is the reason that I discovered that it was the priming effect that was causing people to register with the Judging personality trait, when they were actually a Perceiving type of person. I was able to verify their real personality type.

I believe it is a really useful skill to have. It allows you to have all sorts of useful information that you can use to make informed decisions about. Not only in sales, but if you’re hiring a new employee too.

Where Speed-typing Breaks Down

Do you have an idea on where speed-typing might get it wrong?

Pivots-X-factorRight! When a person has their pivot right in the middle of the teeter-totter. When it is in that position, it is a lot harder to accurately type them. This is why I originally had job candidates take a written personality test. I wanted to be sure that my own speed-typing assessment was verified, in case they had an “X” as one of their MBTI letters.

With the exception of the J and P letters on the end (because of the priming effect associated with a job interview), my method has proved to work extremely well. When the person isn’t primed by outside situations, it is even more accurate. Get the Personality Marketing Manual today if you want to quickly learn how to accurately type someone else. It really does work.

The X Personality Trait From A Sales Perspective

You might think that coming up to a prospect that has an X in their personality profile would cause some confusion on the part of the salesperson.

For example, what if you couldn’t tell if the prospect walking into your store had the T or the F in their personality type? For example, they might be either an ENTJ or an ENFJ (which would technically be the ENXJ). What would be the result for you as a salesperson?

In reality, this is actually a good situation. In fact, it is a GREAT situation. I personally love this situation in my own business. It is very profitable!

If you’d like to know the reason why, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter in the top of the right-hand column. I’ll reveal the reason in the next issue. But if you want to know it right now, then get the Personality Marketing Manual today. You’ll be a lot richer for it.

This entry was posted in Fears of people, Personality Research Studies, Personality Systems, Typing Prospects. Bookmark the permalink.

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