Partial list of personality measures

This is a very selective list of some of the more frequently researched personality constructs. Most of these are single dimension measures that tap only one dimension or a small number of related dimensions. Excluded are those instruments that tap a comprehensive set of dimensions such as the 16PF.

1. Self-consciousness. (individual differences in the tendency to focus attention inward [private self-consciousness] and/or to be aware of oneself as a social object [public self-consciousness]).

Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M., & Buss, A. (1974). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522-527.

Buss, A. H. (1980). Self-consciousness. San Francisco: Freeman.

2. Self-monitoring. (individual differences in ability and motivation to moderate one's behavior based on situation cues).

Snyder, M. (1979). Self-monitoring processes. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 12). New York: Academic Press.

3. Need for cognition. (individual differences in the tendency to engage in and enjoy thinking).

Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1982). The need for cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 116-131.

4. Intolerance of ambiguity (tendency to perceive ambiguous situations as threatening)

Budner, S. (1962). Intolerance of ambiguity as a personality variable. Journal of Personality, 30, 29-50.

5. Self-schemata for independence-dependence. (extent to which an individual has a cognitive self structure for either independence or dependence; i.e., either trait is both self-descriptive and important for the individual).

Markus, H. (1977). Self-schemata and processing information about self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 63-78.

6. Personal constructs. (assessment of the constructs used to interpret and predict events).

Kelly, G. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.

7. Cognitive complexity. (number and differentiation of constructs used in interpreting events).

Crockett, W. (1965). Cognitive complexity and impression formation. In B. A. Maher (Ed.), Progress in experimental personality research (Vol. 2). New York: Academic Press.

8. Sex role inventory (measure of sex-typing)

Bem, S. L. (1985). Androgyny and gender schema theory: A conceptual and empirical integration. In T. B. Sondereggen (Ed.), 1984 Nebraska symposium on motivation: Psychology and gender. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

9. Subjective well-being. (measures of happiness, positive affect, negative affect, emotional intensity, etc.).

Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.

10. Attributional style.

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1984). Causal explanations as a risk factor for depression: Theory and evidence. Psychological Review, 91, 347-374.

11. Shyness and Social anxiety

Leary, M. (1983). Understanding social anxiety. Beverly Hills: Sage.

Jones, Cheeks, & Briggs, (1986). Shyness: Perspectives on research and treatment. New York: Plenum.

Zimbardo, P. (1977) Shyness. New York: Jove.

12. Machiavellianism. (tendency to be interpersonally manipulative).

Geis, F. (1978). Machiavellianism. In H. London & J. Exner, Jr. (Eds.), Dimensions of personality. New York: Wiley.

13. Locus of control. (tendency to perceive outcomes as being due to either internal or external factors).

Phares, E. J. (1978). Locus of control. In H. London & J. Exner, Jr. (Eds.), Dimensions of personality. New York: Wiley.

14. Repressions-sensitization (tendency to approach or avoid threatening stimuli).

Byrne, D. (1964). Repression-sensitization as a dimension of personality. In B. A. Maher (Ed.), Progress in experimental personality research (Vol. 1), New York: Academic Press.

15. Sensation seeking.

Zuckerman, M. (1978). Sensation seeking. In H. London & J. Exner Jr.(Eds.), Dimensions of personality. New York: Wiley.

16. Dogmatism. (individual's level of open- or close-mindedness).

Rokeach, M. (1960). The open and closed mind. New York: Basic Books.

17. Field dependence. (tendency to either use [field dependent] or not use [field independent] an external frame of reference for processing information).

Goodenough, D. (1978). Field dependence. In H. London & J. Exner Jr. (Eds.), Dimensions of personality. New York: Wiley.

18. Type A Behavior Pattern.* An action-emotion complex (tendency to aggressively struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time) that is linked with coronary heart disease.

Booth-Kewley, S. & Friedman, H.S. (1987). Psychological predictors of heart disease: A quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 343-362.

19. Hardiness.* Constellation of traits that may be related to overall health and illness.

Maddi, S., & Kobassa, S.C. (1984). The hardy executive: Health under stress. Homewood, IL.: Dow Jones-Irwin.

Funk, S.C., & Houston, B.K. (1987). A critical analysis of the Hardiness Scale's validity and utility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 572-578.

*See also the issue of Journal of Personality, 55, No. 2, 1987, for articles dealing with the personality-health link.

20. Interpersonal Behaviors. Based largely on Sullivan's theory (the dyad rather than the individual is the basic unit of personality), the measures of Leary and Wiggins assess interpersonal feature of personality (i.e., how one typically interacts with others.

Leary, T. (1957). Interpersonal diagnosis of personality. New York: The Roland Press Co.

Wiggins, J. S. A psychological taxonomy of trait-descriptive terms: the interpersonal domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 395-412.

See also:

Carson, R. (1969). Interaction concepts of personality. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co. (Especially chapter 2).

21. Creativity. Creativity is a notoriously difficult dimension to measure. Two measures that have been used are the Remote Associates Test (RAT) and Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.


Borgatta, E. F., & Lambert, W. W. (1968) Handbook of personality theory and research (Ch. 16). Chicago: Rand-McNally.


Torrance, E. P. (1962). Guiding creative talent. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

22. Loneliness.

Russell, D., Peplau, L., & Cutroan, C. E. (1980). The revised UCLA Loneliness Scal e: Concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 472-80.

23. Assertiveness.

Albert, R. E., & Emmons, M. L. (1970). Your perfect right: A guide to assertive behavior. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact.