Analysis of the NPA test
© A.M. Benis, Sc.D., M.D.
Q. What is the NPA personality test?
A. It is a 50 question online test whose purpose is to determine one’s NPA profile. The output of the test is the individual’s NPA character type, as well as scores that reflect submissiveness (S), temperament (T) and focus (F). There are also scores for sanguinity/narcissism (N), aggression (A), extroversion (E), coherence of response to questions (R) and statistical consistency (C).
Q. How do I interpret the results of my test?
A. The bar graphs show our evaluation on the basis of a computer algorithm in which five different statistical methods are averaged.
On your test page:
The bar graph at left shows the probability of having the character traits N, P or A. The bar graph at right shows the probability of having that particular character type.
The graphs show how concordant your answers were with our interpretation of the various NPA character types. In particular, the graph at right shows on a relative scale your trends toward N, NP, NA, NPA, PA and A behavior.
Q. What are the three NPA traits?
A. The three traits are: sanguinity (N), perfectionism (P) and aggression (A).
The letter N is used for sanguinity because the trait is related to the classical concept of narcissism.
Q. What are the NPA character types?
A. Three categories of character types are: 1) Dominant types, 2) Passive Aggressive types, and 3) Borderline types.
Passive Aggressive and Borderline types include the following:
NA− NA= Sanguine passive aggressive, or Sanguine submissive
NPA− NPA= Sanguine-perfectionist passive aggressive, or Sanguine-perfectionist submissive
PA− PA= Perfectionist passive aggressive, or Perfectionist submissive
A− A= Non-perfectionist passive aggressive, or Non-perfectionist submissive
N− N= Sanguine borderline
N−P N=P Sanguine-perfectionist borderline
Q. Do Passive Aggressive types or Submissive types lack the trait of aggression?
A. In Passive (inhibited) Aggressive types the trait of aggression is partially suppressed.
We divide Passive Aggressive types into:
1. Non-compliant types (one minus sign attached to A, or A−)
2. Compliant types (two minus signs attached to A, or A=)
Non-compliant Passive Aggressive types can vary between aggressive and submissive behavior, depending on the circumstances of the moment. Compliant Passive Aggressive types (sometimes appropriately called "Submissive types") usually play a dependent role in social interactions and rarely find themselves in an activated, aggressive state.
Q. Are there any other categories of character type in NPA theory?
A. Yes. There are also "Resigned types" in which the trait of aggression is stifled in a mature individual. This test does not attempt to identify such individuals, who are relatively uncommon.
Q. What is the S score?
A. The S score is a measure of anxiety, depression and/or submissiveness in social relations, on a scale of 0-100. If the S score is greater than 20-30 then it becomes more likely that the traits N and/or A are not fully expressed, either because of genetics or environment.
The S-score is used to identify two major categories of character type: 1) Dominant types, and 2) Passive Aggressive and Borderline types. The test is interpreted differently for the two categories.
If the S score is in the range 20-60, then we add a minus sign (A−) to the notation (non-compliant passive-aggressive types).
If the S score is > 60, we would add a double minus sign (A=) to the notation (compliant passive aggressive types).
This test does not explore the exact reasons for a high S score. The most common reason in healthy, mature individuals is suppressed aggression (Passive Aggressive types, A− and A=, as explained above) and suppressed sanguinity (sanguine borderline types, N− and N=).
The S-score may also be elevated in dominant NA (sanguine-aggressive) individuals having a tendency to bipolar behavior.
Q. What is the T score?
A. The T score is a measure of temperament, again on a scale of 0-100. Introverted, reserved individuals will tend to score low on this scale, while highly extroverted, volatile individuals will tend to score high.
The temperament T score is as follows:
0-10 = very low: reticent 10-20 = low: reserved 20-30 = moderate 30-60 = high: reactive
60-100 = high: volatile
Q. What are typical ranges of the T score for the various character types?
A. They are given below. One should keep in mind that any biological quantity may exhibit "outliers". These are values that because of an unusual factor, or an unusual combination of "usual" factors, lie outside of the normal ranges.
Presence of the P trait tends to reduce the temperament T score. The lowest T scores are seen in NPA= Passive Aggressive and Borderline types. The highest T scores are seen in NA dominant types. The types having the widest variability of T score are also NA types.
Passive Aggressive types
Q. What is the F score?
A. The F score, for "focus," is a measure of the degree of organization of an individual's personality, again on a scale of 0-100. Introverted or reserved individuals with analytical tendencies will tend to score high on this scale, while less focused, expansive or practical individuals will tend to score low.
The focus F score is as follows:
0-20 = low: diffuse, expansive
20-70 = moderate: reflective, pragmatic
70-100 = high: contemplative, analytical
Q. What are typical ranges of the F score for the various character types?
A. They are given below.
Individuals lacking the P trait (perfectionism) are unlikely to score higher than a score of 60. The highest scores are seen in perfectionistic Passive Aggressive and Borderline types, as well as in NP and PA dominant types. The lowest scores are seen in individuals who lack the P trait.
Passive Aggressive types
Q. What are the N and A scores?
A. The N and A scores, for "Narcissism" and "Aggression", respectively, are scaled so that a Dominant N type will have an N score close to 100, while a Dominant A type will have an A score close to 100. The scores are indicative of "how closely do you match the behavior of a "pure" N type or A type.
The A score, for "aggression score," is a measure of the degree of overt aggression in relation to the score that would be obtained by a dominant A type. Again, the scale is 0-100. Extroverted individuals having the trait of aggression will tend to score high on this scale, while introverted and Passive Aggressive individuals will tend to score low.
The aggression A score is as follows:
0-30 = absent, very low 30-50 = low, suppressed 50-70 = moderate to high
70-100 = overt aggression
Q. What are typical ranges of the A score for the various character types?
A. They are given below.
Individuals lacking the A trait (aggression) are unlikely to score higher than a score of 40. The highest scores are seen in Dominant A and NA types. The lowest scores are seen in compliant Passive Aggressive individuals and individuals who lack the A trait.
Passive Aggressive types
NA− variable depending on cause of A− behavior
Borderline types 0-30
Q. What are values of the sanguinity N score?
A. The N score, for "narcissism score," is a measure of the degree of unbridled narcissism in relation to the score that would be obtained by an N type. Again, the scale is 0-100. Thus, N individuals, and NA individuals scoring low on the scale of trait aggression, will tend to score high on the N scale, while non-sanguine types (A and PA) will tend to score very low. In highly aggressive NA individuals, the A score will predominate, with a resultant effect that the N score may low.
Note that "narcissism" in this context does not necessarily have a pejorative implication. It may just reflect "high sociability" in an individual who has the sanguine N trait.
Q. What is the E score?
A. The E score, for "extroversion score," is scaled such that an outgoing, NPA Dominant type (all three traits fully expressed) having a low S score will have an E score of close to 100, while a reticent Passive Aggressive NPA= type having a high S score will have an E score of c lose to 0. The score is calculated from a subset of 15 questions of the total 50 of the test.
Extroversion (or "extraversion") is a measure of an individual's response to other individuals in social situations, while temperament is a more basic measure of an individual's innate reactivity to stimuli. (The genetic bases of extroversion and temperament are posited to be distinct from the genes determining the traits N, P and A.)
Q. What is the R score?
A. The R score, for "consistency of response to questions," or "coherence," is scaled so that a random or incoherent response to the questions will give a score typically below 50. However, such a low R score can also mean that the subject responded "exceptionally." That is, the subject may have responded in a manner differently from most people taking the test.
Q. And the C score?
A. The C score, for "statistical consistency," is a measure of how well five different statistical computational techniques agreed, on a scale of 0 to 100.
Q. How is the test analyzed by computer?
A. Your answers to the questions are compared with the answers that would be expected from the various character type categories. Since the categories of character type are discrete (not continuously varying like the colors of a rainbow), the computer algorithm usually indicates only a single probable character type.
For further explanation of how the test is analyzed, click on the Scoring link at the head of the page.
Q. Is there any reason why I should retake the test?
A. You may wish to retake the test if you think that your answers may have been too idealistic, more like the "ideal you," rather than the more "realistic you" that other individuals see. Or, if you were in an unusual mood when you took the test, you may wish to retake it to see if the results are significantly different. Also, you may answer the questions differently after you know more about the details of NPA theory.
Q. Can I use the test to gain insight into the personality of another person, for example a friend?
A. Yes. If you know someone very well, you can get an idea of their character type by taking the test "in their place," i.e., answering the questions like you think that he/she would answer them. If you do submit such a test, please indicate that you are doing so in the comment section of the test (for example: "surrogate test: ex-boyfriend").
Q. Can I ask a question?
A. You are invited to post a question or comment on our Message Board. No registration or password is required, and you can remain completely anonymous.
A short book for the general reader is available in eBook and printed versions (link below). The book presents caricatures of the various NPA types that the reader will recognize. In addition, it presents accounts of two types of symbiotic relationships based on the trait of aggression: "the morbid dependency" and "the power behind the throne". It also contains a 21-page synopsis of the NPA model.
For other books available, see our main site (link above).