The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (also known as the Big Three) is the oldest of these scales, originating with the research of Hans J Eysenck in the 1940s. Eysenck figured that if different people break down under stress in different ways (that is, they have different mental illnesses in similar circumstances), then they probably have underlying personality differences that are biologically based. Eysenck influenced Jung (extraversion) and the Big Five family of questionnaires, which have two of the same scales.
The Big Five group of questionnaires are derived from natural groupings of the adjectives people use to describe other people - they are descriptive rather than prescriptive. The Big Five Inventory is one of several versions of the Big Five out there.
The Hartmann Boundary Questionnaire was inspired by people who had frequent nightmares but were perfectly healthy. Some people seem to have more diffuse mental states than others. The HBQ is popular with creative types.
The Interpersonal Reactivity Index was designed to be the one-size-fits-all measure of empathy, because it contains not one but four different scales for empathy.
Hans Eysenck and colleagues developed a scale, the EPQ-R (100 items), that looked at the underlying personality traits that are reflected in the way different people break down under stress in different ways (when they're under stress). This is a prescriptive scale, rather than the descriptive "big five" scale that is popular right now. The names of the traits psychoticism and neuroticism are derived from two main categories of mental illness: psychosis and neurosis, but scores on these traits do not indicate mental illness. It's your personality they're describing. (However, if for some reason you were to go over the edge, they might indicate which edge you went over. But don't do that. We like you happy and healthy.)
Extraversion (E) measures how outgoing you are. (More below.)
Psychoticism (P) is associated with unconventionality and creativity. This scale is strongly right-skewed - most people score in the low range. (More below.)
Neuroticism (N) measures how emotionally stable (low N) or emotional (high N) a person is. Women generally score higher than men. Your N scores on the big three (EPQ-R) and the big five (another popular personality questionnaire) will not be identical, but should be in the same ballpark. (More below.)
The Lie Scale (L) measures either how honest you are or how well-behaved you are. People who are honest about their imperfections get lower scores. People who are perfect get higher scores. I'll leave it to you to decide how to interpret your score.
Scores vary from one country to the next, even when the tests aren't translations (e.g. North Americans are higher on E than Europeans; Australians are higher on P), as well as by sex and age. So don't worry too much about published means. Unless you want to.
Research has also been done on various demographic groups. For example, Chinese writers have scored higher on average on E, N, and P and lower on L, while Chinese mathematicians have scored lower on P and higher on L (Hu and Gong, 1990). You can see the potential.
|Scale||Mean||SD||Mean||SD||Range of scores|
|Lie Scale (L)||7.10||4.28||6.88||3.97||0-21|
Hans J. Eysenck and Sybil B.G. Eysenck, 1976. Psychoticism as a dimension of personality. Hodden and Stoughton, London.
S.B.G. Eysenck, H.J. Eysenck, and P. Barrett, 1985. A revised version of the psychoticism scale. Personality and Individual Differences 6(1): 21-29.
Chiyee Hu and Yaoxian Gong, 1990. Personality differences between writers and mathematicians on the EPQ. Personality and Individual Differences 11(6): 637-638.
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Source: Ernest Hartmann, 1991. Boundaries in the mind: A new psychology of personality. BasicBooks, NY.
Boundaries, whether they are between different states of consciousness, different people, or different countries, are imaginary lines we experience in our minds to differentiate between different concepts. Some people have very thick lines - to them categories are clearly separate and distinct; while others have very thin lines - to them categories tend to blur into each other. This affects not only conscious concepts but also behaviour, sensory experiences, and degrees of consciousness.
For some people category boundaries are distinct, black and white - you're either young or old, child or adult, male or female, straight or gay - while others see things more in shades of grey - you can be both at the same time. Some people tend to be decisive while others are more indecisive. Some are more organized than others, and prefer more organized activities than others.
Some people are either awake or asleep while others frequently experience waking dream states. Some rarely have nightmares and remember their dreams rarely, while others have frequent nightmares and remember their dreams easily. Some people are matter-of-fact while others go off on flights of fancy. Some people keep their senses clearly separate, while others experience synesthesia, where their senses blend into each other.
Some people naturally focus on one thing at a time, while others take in a wider range of information all at once. Some live squarely in the present, while others tend to reminisce. Some have strong ego defenses (repression, denial), while others do not.
Some people stay clearly separate from their environments and others while others experience a sense of merging, or have sensory sensitivities. Some people have thick skins, others are more thin-skinned.
At one extreme you get very solid, possibly rigid, conventional people. At the other extreme you get very flexible, possibly unstable, unconventional people. Most people, of course, are somewhere in the middle.
The Hartmann Boundary Questionnaire (145 items), created by Ernest Hartmann and colleagues (Hartmann, 1991), measures boundary thickness in both interpersonal and internal boundaries, and in preferences, habits and opinions.
The Hartmann Boundary Questionnaire is divided into 12 categories:
Category 1 (14 items, score range 0-56): boundaries related to sleep, waking and dreaming.
Category 2 (18 items, score range 0-72): boundaries related to unusual experiences, e.g. deja vu.
Category 3 (16 items, score range 0-64): boundaries related to thoughts, feelings and moods, e.g. merging of thinking and feeling.
Category 4 (6 items, score range 0-24): boundaries related to childhood, adolescence and adulthood, e.g. how connected you feel to your childhood feelings.
Category 5 (12 items, score range 0-48): interpersonal boundaries.
Category 6 (5 items, score range 0-20): sensitivity.
Category 7 (11 items, score range 0-44): neatness, exactness, precision.
Category 8 (17 items, score range 0-68): boundary preferences in areas such as decor, work (e.g. structured or unstructured).
Category 9 (8 items, score range 0-32): opinions about children and others.
Category 10 (10 items, score range 0-40): opinions about organizations and relationships.
Category 11 (14 items, score range 0-56): opinions about peoples, nations, groups.
Category 12 (7 items, score range 0-28): opinions about beauty and truth.
7 items are in the test but are not scored, because factor analysis indicated they didn't measure what they were supposed to.
The Personal Total (categories 1-8) score range is 0-396.
The World Total (categories 9-12) score range is 0-156.
Grand Total score range is 0-552. Total scores average 250-300. Mean 273; SD 51
Higher scores indicate thinner boundaries. Women tend to score thinner than men. Younger people tend to score thinner than older people (this may be aging or cultural change).
Factor analysis indicated 13 factors in the HBQ: I: primary process thinking (blurry boundaries in the mind); II: a preference for explicit boundaries; III: identification with children; IV: fragility; V: percipience/clairvoyance; VI: trustful openness; VII: organized planfulness; VIII: belief in inpenetrable intergroup boundaries (no mixing between demographic groups); IX: flexibility; X: overinvolvement in fantasy; XI: preference for simple geometric forms; XII: isolation of affect (thinking and feeling kept strictly separate); and a final factor with no particular theme. Hartmann does not provide a scoring key for these factors, but factor I (primary process thinking) includes many items from categories 1, 2 and 3; while factor II (preference for explicit boundaries) items are mostly from categories 10 and 11.
Hartmann speculated that the concept of boundaries may be related to Eysenck's P (measured by the EPQ-R). I suspect that high HBQ scores correlate with Intuition (N) on the Myers-Briggs. But that's just a hunch.
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The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (28 items) was created specifically to measure four factors related to empathy, and was carefully put through several factor analyses to make sure it does what it's supposed to.
The Fantasy Scale (FS) measures the tendency to get caught up in fictional stories and imagine oneself in the same situations as fictional characters. You could probably look at this as imaginative empathy.
The Perspective Taking (PT) scale measures the tendency to take the psychological point of view of others. You could probably look at this as cognitive (thinking) empathy.
The Empathic Concern (EC) scale measures sympathy and concern for others. You could probably look at this as emotional empathy.
The final scale, the Personal Distress (PD) scale measures the kinds of feelings (anxiety, etc.) that get in the way of helping others.
|Scale||Mean score - men||Mean score - women||range of scores|
|Fantasy Scale (FS)||15.73||18.75||0-28|
|Perspective Taking (PT)||16.78||17.96||0-28|
|Empathic Concern (EC)||19.04||21.67||0-28|
|Personal Distress (PD)||9.46||12.28||0-28|
Mark H. Davis, 1983. Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 44(1):113-126
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