The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (or 16PF), is a multiple-choice personality questionnaire which was developed over several decades of research by Raymond B. Cattell, Maurice Tatsuoka and Herbert Eber. Beginning in the 1940s, Cattell used the new techniques of factor analysis (based on the correlation coefficient) in an attempt to try to discover and measure the fundamental traits of human personality (Cattell, 1946).
The questionnaire measures the 16 primary traits, and the Big Five secondary traits, which have become popularized by other authors in recent years. From early in his research, Cattell found that the structure of personality was multi-level and hierarchical, with a structure of interdependent primary and secondary level traits (Cattell, 1946, 1957). The sixteen primary factors were a result of factor-analyzing hundreds of measures of everyday behaviors to find the fundamental traits behind them. Then, they discovered the five global (or second-order) factors by factor-analyzing the sixteen primary traits themselves, to find the basic, organizing forces among the sixteen basic traits. Thus, the 16PF test gives scores on both the five second-order global traits which provide an overview of personality at a broader, conceptual level, as well as on the more-numerous and precise primary traits, which give a picture of the richness and complexity of each unique personality. A listing of these traits can be found in the article on the 16 Personality Factor Model. Cattell also found that there was a third-order level of personality organization that contained just two overarching, top-level factors (Cattell, 1957), but little time has been spent on defining this most abstract level of personality organization.
The test is an integral part of Cattell's comprehensive theory of individual differences. The test has also been translated into over 20 languages and dialects, and is widely used internationally. Reports of widespread use should be balanced with a concern for avoiding overinterpretation of personality questionnaire results, particularly in making major judgments of a tested person such as hiring.
Cattell and his co-workers also developed parallel personality questionnaires to measure traits in other age-ranges, such as the Adolescent Personality Questionnaire for ages 12 to 18 years. A shorter version, the 16PF Select Questionnaire, was developed for personnel settings. Cattell also developed non-verbal measures of ability, such as the three scales of the Culture-Fair Intelligence Test as well as tests of motivation.
Read more about 16PF Questionnaire: Outline of Test, Raymond Cattell's 16 Personality Factors, Relationship To Five Factor Models, Factor Analytic Strategy, 16PF Global and Primary Factors, History and Development, The Original Big Five Traits, How To Use The 16PF, Key Features
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... The 16PF assessment is easy to administer, requiring only 35 to 50 minutes to complete ... Five distinct report options give the 16PF test utility in a wide variety of settings ... the test items and the traits measured by the 16PF instrument is not obvious, it is difficult for the test-taker to deliberately tailor responses to achieve a desired ...