What Is a Psychological Profile Test?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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A psychological profile test is a type of quiz or questionnaire intended to assess a person's psychological makeup. These tests can be used to measure intelligence, outline core personality traits, or identify psychological disorders. A psychological profile test can involve observing the person's behavior, especially as he interacts with others, to understand interpersonal problems and how psychological disorders may influence these problems. These profile tests can use a variety of techniques to assess a psychological patient.

Many tests, especially those designed to identify personality traits or possible mental disorders, ask the test-taker to answer multiple-choice questions according to his average or normal types of behavior. Other types of tests, such as those intended to measure intelligence, ask the test-taker to answer test questions correctly. Still others, such as the Rorschach test, ask the test taker to free-associate, or explain personal, subjective feelings, about pictures or situations.

The use of a psychological profile test may be a part of psychological counseling for a mental or personality disorder. The average psychologist will first rely on a personal interview with the patient, in order to pinpoint any mental disorders or emotional problems. A psychological profile test can come in handy in a therapeutic setting where the psychologist has failed to gather accurate or telling information from a personal interview.


A type of psychological profile test known as an observational test is considered especially useful when providing counseling for children with emotional or mental disorders. Children often don't have much insight into their own behavior. Psychological tests for adults usually rely on the person's ability to recount what, for him, is normal, daily behavior. They may also rely on the person's ability to extrapolate what he might say or do in a particular situation. Young children often do not have the self-awareness for these types of tests, and may not have yet learned to explain their feelings, beliefs, and experiences in words.

Observational testing is typically done in a therapeutic setting, which places the test subject in the company of others. For a child, the others may be parents, peers, or family members. The trained psychologist can typically draw very useful conclusions from watching the subject interact with others in a social setting. These types of tests are often used to identify disorders of behavior in children, or emotional bonding problems between children and parents, peers, or others.

Employers, schools and other institutions often use psychological profile tests to gain useful information on the test subject. In an academic setting, this information is often used to help identify learning disorders, or help to individually tailor an academic program to a student's unique needs. Employers often use such tests to determine an applicant's fitness for employment, typically as relates to the person's intelligence level and degree of personal integrity. Government institutions, especially courts, will sometimes use these tests to determine an accused person's fitness to stand trial, or to identify a possible motive for crimes.


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