We study personal intelligence by measuring it. By understanding people’s levels of personal intelligence we can then find out the relation of the personal intelligence to other psychological variables and to a variety of life outcomes.
Psychological Tests as a Technology
The theory of personal intelligence draws on the idea that people have evolved to better understand one another. The development of psychological tests to measure qualities of personality can be viewed as a technological extension of our natural desire to understand one another. From this perspective, human beings have created psychological tests so as to augment their interpersonal intuition and judgments with a new set of tools: a technology for assessing what people are like.
Psychologists who create psychological tests reason about what kind of testing is appropriate to a given problem. Specifically, they need to identify information that is truly relevant to the to-be-measured quality, and discard irrelevant information. (Such irrelevant clues lead to tests that measure what the experts in the field refer to as “construct-irrelevant variance,” and tests that do that are poor measures).
We explain how we develop tests in the area on the page “Our Approach to Measurement.”