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All You Need to Know About the Science Behind Psychometrics

Written By Abhilash Malguri


1. The Bright Side
2. The Dark Side
3. The Cognitive Abilities
4. The X-Factors
5. How Mercer Mettl Can Help?

Using Psychometrics as a science is not new, it's something that dates back to the late 19th century when WW1 recruits were being screened for psychoneurosis using a Personal Data Sheet, which was created by Robert Woodworth in 1917. This development in turn paved the way for other psychometric progressions.

Personality traits are the determined characteristics that are exhibited consistently despite changing circumstances. Behaviour, on the other hand, is the range of actions in which one conducts oneself to the environment, person, or stimulus.

For instance, extraversion is a trait while an extrovert sitting quietly in a meeting is a type of behavior. Since the traits reflect an individual’s patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior, they become the substratum for anticipating future intended behavior.

To be precise, personality is what we are while behavior is all about what we do. Personality traits don’t change over time. However, we can adjust and alter the behavior to an extent. This equation can establish the psychometric theory or the science behind them.

Exhibited Behavior = f (Bright side, Dark side, Cognitive abilities, X-factors)  

Exhibited Behavior

Let’s take a look at the factors that influence human behavior based on which our psychometric tools are built.

1. The Bright Side

The bright side of human personality comprises of those positive personality traits which are noticed quickly and capable of enhancing job performance. It is what we see when people are at their best.

The bright side of human personality is based on a Big Five Personality Traits of the Five-Factor Model which specifies that people can be described based on their standing on the five broad personality traits.

Mettl has, further, used these five factors as a construct to develop and categorize its set of behavioral competencies.

Positive traits in an individual make them feel confident, with the focus being on the betterment of the organization and not on individual success. People who rank high on these traits tend to be fair-minded co-workers and are endeared by people as a professional.

Leaders exhibiting an overall positive personality are efficient enough to articulate a vision in a way that builds commitment towards the organization’s goal.

However, you can’t really judge a person only on the basis of the bright side of human personality. If human personality could act as the drivers of success, then there are some hidden traits too, that can act as the derailers.

Let’s have a look at the traits as well as the determinants of personality.

1.1 Five Facets of People with Openness Trait:GOTOTOP


1.2 Six Facets of People with Conscientiousness Trait:


1.3 Five Facets of Extroverts:


1.4 Six Facets That Makes You Agreeable:


1.5 Three Facets of Emotionally Stable People:


2. The Dark Side

Dark Personality Traits are stable characteristics of a person when triggered, lead to the display of undesirable, counterproductive and destructive behavior, that have a negative impact on surrounding people (friends, family, co-worker or customers).

To measure these dark traits in the candidates,Mettl has created a dark personality inventory where almost all the lowlights of an individual at work have been clubbed. Here’s a brief look at the traits and related facets.

2.1 Opportunistic People Can Be Divided into 3 Categories:


2.2 Self Obsessed People Can Be Divided into 3 Categories:

0_Self Obsessed

2.3 Insensitive People Can Be Divided into 3 Categories:


2.4 Temperamental People Can Divided into 3 Categories:


2.5 Impulsive People Can Divided into 3 Categories:GOTOTOP


2.6 Thrill-Seeking People Can Divided into 3 Categories:

0_Thrill Seeking

2.7 Dark Traits Get Triggered by Various Factors Such As:

Just the presence of dark traits in a person does not ensure that they will act in an unwanted way. The dark traits have to be activated to present dark behavior, which gets triggered by various factors such as:

0_Levels od Dark traits2.7.1 Level of Dark Traits

Greater be the level of dark traits; higher would be the chances they get triggered, even with the slightest provocation.

0_Enivronment2.7.2 Environment

Places where people tend to be superior, there comes a subtle tendency to misuse that powder, hence triggering dark traits.

0_Situation2.7.3 Situation

Relaxed-- where the person is at ease and not being observed & Stressed-- where the person is made to do a lot in limited time.

To know everything about the dark side, do read our data-backed and scientific report on Uncovering the Dark Side of Human Personality

3. The Cognitive Abilities

Cognitive Abilities are brain-based skills one needs to process any activity, be it simple or complex. It is more of the ability to comprehend, to understand and benefit as a matter of fact.

The way things are perceived, the strategic thinking, decision-making abilities, all these also form the substratum of how people behave. It could be divided into two categories:

3.1 Fluid Intelligence

The ability to perceive things,absorb and retain new information to tackle issues in novel circumstances.

3.2 Crystallized Intelligence

The Capacity to recover and utilize data obtained over a lifetime or leveraging the acquired knowledge to perform tasks.


Well, you can read the guide to cognitive assessments for the detailed explanation.

Apart from the bright & dark side and cognitive abilities, some other factors are affecting human behavior. These are clubbed under the X-factors.

4. The X-Factors

Although the dark and bright sides form a significant part of human personality, yet there are several other factors, which we call The X-Factors, that act as catalysts and affect the intended human behavior.

The Nature vs. Nurture debate influences in fluctuating personalities through the course of time. It provides an image of whether surroundings determines human behavior or if it is the individual’s gene.

Guide to Psychometric-78

Nature:This is pre-wiring and is affected by biological factors, basically the hereditary legacy or the  genetic inheritance.

Nurture:This is the impact produced from external factors, for example, the experience, acquired knowledge, learning or exposure of a person.

4.1 The X-Factors Include Certain Factors Discussed Below:

0_Upbringing-14.1.1 Upbringing

Kids are like sponges- they tend to learn and demonstrate behaviors that their parents portray. This can be seen in positive & negative behaviors they display.

0_Motivation4.1.2 Motivation

The way soldiers behave is unique and outstanding. The joy of meeting their loved ones after winning the battle and love for one's country keeps them pumped to behave accordingly even in the hardest situations.

4.1.3 Values0_Values

If we think of an organization as a decision-making body, then values establish the relationship between decisions and what happens consequently. They grow gradually over time subject to an individual's social and psychological development.


5. How Mercer Mettl Can Help?GOTOTOP-1

Mercer | Mettl is a robust platform that provides psychometric tests for both recruiters and companies to make well-informed decisions of recruitment, training, and promotion of candidates/employees. The extensive library of tests and simulators can help you create your customized assessments to evaluate the underlying abilities and current skills of the shortlisted candidate. Explore a wide range of psychometric, cognitive, role-centric and technical assessments to onboard the right people.

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