Personality tests were first developed in the aftermath of World War I. The Woodworth Personal Data Sheet was unveiled in 1919 as a way of weeding out army recruits who may be susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or "shell shock", as it was referred to at the time. It was followed two years later by the Rorschach ink blot test and in the 1930s by the Thematic Apperception Test, again developed by military intelligence to screen out applicants for military service who may be brainwashed or otherwise recruited by the enemy as a double agent. Like many military innovations, personality tests spread into the civilian sector, and today, they are widely used by employers as a part of the hiring process. And they can also be used in the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders. This article will focus on one, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, and how personality tests can help in spotting its symptoms.
The Myers Brigg Personality Test was developed in 1946 by American psychologist Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs. It divides people into one of sixteen psychological types, based on those identified by Carl Jung. There is a strong correlation between one particular Myers Briggs type, the Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging (INTJ) type, sometimes called the free thinker, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Free thinkers are mentally quick (a higher percentage of them have doctorates than any other personality type) but can be socially awkward, and their desire for order and harmony can manifest itself in the form of OCD. Perfectionism and inflexibility are symptoms of OCD and also hallmarks of the INTJ personality type.
The Rorschach ink blot test is a psychological test in which the patient is asked to look at a series of abstract pictures resembling ink blots and asked to describe what they see. The simplicity of the test makes it suitable as an OCD test for children as well as adults. Obsessive Compulsive test subjects, because of their attention to detail, will often have difficulty distinguishing important from unimportant details, and an unnecessary level of detail in their descriptions can be an indicator of OCD.
Finally, there are a number of online personality tests available for OCD. They usually test for a variety of personality disorders, and not just OCD. These include tests from the website personalityone.com, run by professional psychotherapist and counselor Dr. Dorothy McCoy; www.4degreez.com, an online community for teens and twentysomethings; and similarminds.com, which claims to be "the most detailed personality assessment on the Internet".