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IPIP NEO Personality Test (Online Test)

What is the IPIP NEO?

The Five Factor Model of personality is way to conceptualise personality established through many years of scientific research. This theory holds that an individual’s personality is made up of five general personality traits (popularly referred to as The Big 5). The five factors of personality are:

  1. Openness (to experience): Tendency towards creativity, as well as new feelings, actions and ideas.

  2. Conscientiousness: The tendency towards being careful, diligent and thorough.

  3. Extraversion: Tendency towards sociability, assertiveness and emotional expressiveness.

  4. Agreeableness: Tendency towards being kind, trustworthy and cooperative.

  5. Neuroticism: Tendency towards unstable emotions, both generally and in response to stressors.

The IPIP NEO is one measure that has been designed to examine the broad spectrum of that which makes up personality. It examines personality over the Big 5 factors of personality, as well as 6 sub-facets which make up each of the Big 5, resulting in a total of 30 sub-facets measured.

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Why measure personality?

Why measure personality?

Everyone has different personalities. Some could be bubbly or demur, fiery, or gentle. Here, a personality trait reflects characteristics of an individual, and are often used to distinguish one person from another.

A key aspect of personality is that it tends to be consistent and stable – that is, it doesn’t change much depending on context or time. Developing a strong understanding of an individual’s personality can be advantageous for many different reasons. It can help both them and others understand why they behave the way they do. It can also help them predict how they might behave in different situations.

For this reason, personality tests of various forms have been popular. This includes a spectrum of fun personality tests spread through social media with titles such as ‘which Disney princess are you’ and ‘which Hogwarts house are you’, to more serious ones like NEO.

What does the IPIP NEO stand for?

The big 5 personality traits

The IPIP-NEO was written based on the sub-facets proposed by the NEO-PI-R. Developed by Costa and McCrae in 1992, the NEO-PI-R stands for the NEO Personality Index, Revised. As the name suggests, this personality test went through several iterations before arriving to this point. Costa and McCrae had originally created a test called the Neuroticism - Extraversion - Openness Inventory (NEO-I). The addition of the factors of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, as well as the 30 sub-facets were included in later iterations. Because of this, the ‘NEO’ no longer stands for anything, and is simply the name for the test itself.

Goldberg created the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) as a first step towards using a n open-source methodology in creating a measure for personality. The IPIP is a collection of assessment items (or questions) which assesses the broad variety of possible differences between individuals. As of 2019, there are over 3300 items in this pool. Using various experimental and statistical methods, Goldberg used the chose the questions which best fit the factors and sub-facets identified by the NEO-PI-R. Thus, the IPIP-NEO was born.

How does the IPIP NEO scoring work?

IPIP NEO Scoring

The standard IPIP NEO test consists of 300 questions. Smaller versions of the IPIP-NEO exist, including the 120 question IPIP NEO 120 and the 60 question IPIP NEO 60. When completing the test via the Driven app, the scoring will be done automatically for you. It will also provide a description of what the individual results mean. However, the following is a short description of how the scoring is calculated.

Responses to each question are given on a 5-point Likert scale. The responses range from ‘very inaccurate’ to ‘very accurate’, and is given a score between 0 to 4, where ‘very inaccurate’ is scored 0, ‘neither accurate or inaccurate’ is scored 2, and ‘very accurate’ is scored 4 (for instances where the factor key indicates a negative symbol (-), this scale is reversed). As the IPIP-NEO consists of 30 sets of 10 items, the IPIP-NEO-120 has 30 sets of 4 items and the IPIP-NEO-60 has 30 sets of 2 items, the highest score possible in facet will be 40, 16, and 8 respectfully. Again, as each factor of personality consists of 6 facets, the highest score possible in any of the factors are 240, 96, and 48 respectively. These results will then be calculated and presented as a percentage.

Personality score chart

What do the IPIP NEO scores mean?

Take friends along the journey

Since personality is subjective, the results of this measure are not the objective measure of an individual’s personality. This self-report measure of personality depends on an individual’s personal reflections, making personal judgements based on their perceived norms. Let’s look at this, in parts:

Perceived norms: Am I extroverted or introverted? This question is really asking whether I am as extroverted as the average person. This means I need to understand what the ‘average person’ looks like. This norm is usually composed from past experiences. However, one’s perceived ‘norm’ might look very different depending on the context they are familiar with. Someone who was brought up in a very theatrical family might have a very different idea of what it means to be extroverted or introverted, compared to someone who were brought up amongst professional watchmakers.

Personal reflections: An individual must make a judgement according to how they perceive themselves. There are many factors which influence why an individual might be biased when reflecting on themselves.

Again, it is important to remember that, as comprehensive as the IPIP-NEO is in measuring personality traits across a wide array of variables, the results do not show a complete image of who that individual is. These points highlight the degree of care that is required in the interpretation of results.

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