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Reliability and Validity

Why is Scientific Validity Important for an Instrument?

The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® (PMAI®) is scientifically validated for reliability and validity. What does this mean and why is it important?

Reliability - the extent to which a measurement produces consistent results - is the first criterion that a psychometric instrument must meet. If you take an assessment, such as the PMAI, and rely on it for self-knowledge, insight, and guidance, it wouldn't be much help if it produced random results through chance. In this case, you could not trust that the instrument is providing reliable information to you.

Validity in psychometric research asks the important question: does the instrument measure what it is intended to measure? It differs from reliability in that it is possible to measure something twice and get similar results, that is, to be reliable, but if those results measure something other than intended or expected, in this case archetypal characters, the assessment will not have much meaning for you. There are several established methods to determine reliability and validity. The methods used to validate the PMAI assessment are detailed in the manual.

To be clear, the reliability and validity of the PMAI® instrument does not mean that archetypes exist as facts or objective entities. In this case, reliability and validity means that the motivations, qualities, traits, and behaviors collected under each archetypal character (i.e., Magician, Realist, Seeker, etc.) are related to a significantly statistical degree. That is, the collection of traits, attitudes, and motivations that make up Magician, for example, are related - it is not chance that they are described under the character Magician. Thus, we can predict that a person who scores high on Magician will possess some collection of these motivations, traits, and attitudes; not all of them perfectly, of course, but the person should have a substantial degree of identification or recognition of themselves in the descriptions of Magician. As archetype scores are lower in the archetype profile, we can predict that there is less identification with the characteristics of each archetype.

Scientific validation of a self-report, psychological assessment is very important, yet is uncommon for instruments to be validated outside of academic research centers. What is the value of taking an assessment for insight and guidance if it has not been tested to give you reliable results around the concepts that it claims to measure? Many assessments in the market or online today are for entertainment value and/or to lead people to related products. Learning about the archetypes shaping your life is certainly fun, but the PMAI instrument is more than entertainment. As a scientifically validated assessment, it is a reliable tool for self-knowledge, self-growth, and fulfillment.

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