Myths and misconceptions about personality traits and tests
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionPersonality and Individual Differences. 2021, 186 10.1016/j.paid.2021.111381
This study examined the prevalence of myths about personality traits as set out in a book (Donnellan & Luca, 2021) and beliefs in the predictive validity of personality tests. In all, 616 participants completed a questionnaire in which they rated the extent to which they thought statements/facts about personality traits were true or false, and whether personality test scores could predict behaviours like health, wealth and marital satisfaction. In total, 12 of these myths were rated as true (definitely or partly) by the majority of the participants, particularly those that implied personality change and instability over time. Only six were rated as probably false, two as definitely false, and five as “Don't Know” by the majority of respondents. Overall, participants thought tests predicted leadership and depression best, and longevity and future earnings least well. There were a number of systematic individual correlates of these beliefs which indicated that participants' religious and political beliefs were related to these myths and misconceptions. Limitations of this, and similar studies, are noted, and implications are discussed.