personality personality

Discover the 16 Personalities Test Effectively

Have you heard of the famous 16 personalities test yet? Have you wondered what their 16 personalities are and what they indicate about an individual? Well, you have landed on the right page. We will explore all of the 16 personality tests in this article in detail.

1. What is the 16 Personality Test?

This personality test was first developed by Isabel Myers1 and Katharine Briggs, to understand the psychological type of an individual. Cattell also came up with a 16-personality test2 that helped the discourse in varied ways. This test enables an individual to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

16 personalities
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There are 16 varied personalities explored in this test, hence the name, 16 personality test. It reveals an individual’s preference and gives a deeper understanding of their personality. This test can also explore understanding an individual’s mental health and is widely used in many sectors.

2. What are the 16 personality types mentioned in this test?

These are called the 16 personality traits, popularly termed as 16 PF3. This is Cattell’s 16 Personalities test factors. We will explore each of them in detail.

1. Abstractedness

In general, it means being non-specific. The 16 personalities test, however, challenges the imaginative versus the reality. Imaginative is being away from the real or practical world. They are abstract about what is happening around them. While practical, on the other hand, individuals have ideas that fit well into the practical world.

2. Apprehension

Apprehension4 refers to being worried or feeling a sense of anxiety that something is going to happen. The 16 personalities test categorizes a person as either worried or confident. Worried refers to those who tend to be apprehensive of the future, things that haven’t taken place yet. They might have poor intuition thinking, as their thinking is blurred by fear. Those who are confident, on the other hand, are highly attuned and do not develop fear like the rest.

3. Dominance

This could show whether the person is forceful or submissive. They can reflect on their relationships and communicate a lot about their characteristics. Submissive are those who are willing to conform or those who are usually passive about most decisions makings. Dominance is those who take the lead, like to be in charge, and may do it forcefully, too, in some scenarios.

4. Emotional Stability

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being calm versus high-strung. The ability to remain peaceful or patient refers to being calm. If the emotions are beyond one’s control and they are taken aback by how curious they are, or they are extremely energetic with these emotions, they are highly strung.

5. Liveliness

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to spontaneous versus restrained. An individual could be restrained in varied ways. It could be due to their beliefs or certain other factors. On the other hand, some are energetic and lively and get along well with most people who are referred to be spontaneous who are intuitive in their thinking and functions.

6. Rule Consciousness

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being conforming versus non-conforming. It can relate to how conscious one is of the rules and effectively help us understand them more deeply.

7. Openness to change

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being flexible versus attached to the familiar. Those who are not willing to go out of the box and stick to what they know versus those who are more adaptable and open-minded.

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8. Perfectionism

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being controlled versus undisciplined. This can show a lot about individuals’ personalities. Are they undisciplined, or are they driven by control or focus? The test reveals it all.

9. Privateness

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being discreet versus open. Whether it is in making decisions or any other social scenario, it shows if they prefer privateness or being public about it. It could explain their social behavior.

10. Reasoning

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being abstract versus concrete. Are they non-specific or specific? Be it thinking, creativity, or anything similar, the test reveals accurate data on these traits in an individual.

11. Self-reliance

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being self-sufficient versus dependent. Are they free in their ways, are they independent, or depend on someone to make decisions or do any basic tasks? This shows where an individual is inclined.

12. Sensitivity

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being tender-hearted versus tough-minded. These traits are self-explanatory, but one trait underlies several other traits. Tender-hearted could mean kind or beings sensitive. Being Tough-minded could mean so many things, like being narrow-minded or hard to change. However, these are not the only associated meanings; they could be positive too.

13. Social boldness

In the 16 personalities test, this refers to being uninhibited versus shy. Free to express or hesitant. This personality test can say so much about an individual. If a person is uninhibited, we could say that they are filter-free or more open about what they are willing to say or do. The shy person, on the other hand, may be more reserved and may not be very open.

14. Tension

The 16 personalities test refers to being either inpatient or relaxed. If one is more on the relaxed side, the test will reveal so. If one is more impulsive and quick to react, they may come under being impatient.

15. Vigilance

The 16 personalities test refers to being either suspicious or trusting here. If you fall on the former side of the scale, then you are more inclined to doubt things or be very skeptical. On the other hand the other side of the scale, the person is very trusting. This feeling of being a testing or suspicious person can say a lot about one’s personality.

16 personalities test
Victoria_Watercolor. Pixabay. Copyright 2023.

16. Warmth

The 16 personalities test refers to being outgoing versus reserved. Outgoing means you are open to adventure and more social, and others might even do things that are new or uncomfortable to you. On the other end, the person may tend to be very reserved and secretive or might not open up to adventures as much as the person on the other scale would.

These tests tell us a lot when interpreted correctly. They come with a manual that guides the experimenter on how the data received from this test must be analyzed. These personalities can be further grouped into some more subsections to understand the subject in more detail. These tests have been adapted into varied languages, so they certainly can be used across the globe. It is not limited to a set of individuals and could be used on a wider population.

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These tests not just show if they are, say, for example, reserved or outgoing, but they rather also show the degree to which one is reserved or outgoing. Showing this degree or variation can add more value or meaning to the data than expected. This is one of the best features of this test. We all may share a trait but in different intensities, and they must be measured too. This difference in intensity will give us a deeper understanding of the individual’s personality, which can be critical to data analysis.

The tests have been widely used across the globe to aid many individuals. There are many versions of this test or personality tests in general. However, this version is the most popular of them all and is widely used in academics and clinics too. It can be subjective. Hence it is best advised to go without any bias while performing the analysis. An objective approach is critical to attaining the best results.


These 16 personality tests have brought so much to the table of discourse in psychology and human behavior. This is a self-administration test5 where an individual can identify their strengths and weaknesses. It is used in hospitals for treatment and even during hiring in an office to understand the candidate better. It has several uses, and the test is openly available.6 One can use this effectively to understand and help another individual. The discourse is still open for more contributions. You may always explore these 16 personalities test in detail to know more.

  1. Myers, I. B. (1962).: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual.  ↩︎
  2. Djapo, Nermin, et al. “Relationship between Cattell’s 16PF and fluid and crystallized intelligence.” Personality and Individual Differences 51.1 (2011): 63-67. ↩︎
  3. Cattell, Raymond B., and Samuel E. Krug. “The number of factors in the 16PF: A review of the evidence with special emphasis on methodological problems.” Educational and Psychological Measurement 46.3 (1986): 509-522. ↩︎
  4. Butler, J. F. “Personality characteristics of subjects high and low in apprehension about communication.” Perceptual and Motor Skills 62.3 (1986): 895-898. ↩︎
  5. Cattell, Heather EP, and James M. Schuerger. Essentials of 16PF assessment. Vol. 40. John Wiley & Sons, 2003. ↩︎
  6. Cattell, Heather EP, and Alan D. Mead. “The sixteen personality factor questionnaire (16PF).” The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment 2 (2008): 135-159. ↩︎

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