California Psychological Inventory

Employ the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) for insightful personality assessments. Start transforming your practice today.

By Joshua Napilay on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a California Psychological Inventory?

The is an in-depth personality assessment tool to evaluate interpersonal behavior and social interaction characteristics.

Developed by psychologist Harrison G. Gough in 1957, the CPI comprises 434 true/false questions, providing a detailed picture of an individual's personality traits.

Rather than focusing on psychological disorders like many clinical personality tests, the CPI is designed to measure normal-range human behavior. Its purpose is to predict potential reactions and understand interpersonal behavior dynamics. This approach enables the CPI to offer valuable insights into how individuals relate to others, their communication style, and their leadership potential.

The CPI has found application in a wide variety of fields. In psychology, it's used as a diagnostic tool to help individuals better understand their personality traits and behaviors. In the business world, it's used for team building and leadership development, assisting organizations to identify employees likely to excel in leadership roles. Law enforcement agencies utilize the CPI during recruitment to assess candidates' suitability for roles that require strong interpersonal skills.

A unique feature of the CPI is its focus on actionable insights. The test identifies personality traits and guides how individuals can leverage their strengths and work on their weaknesses to improve their performance. This makes it a powerful tool for personal growth and professional development.

Watch this explainer video to understand the CPI and its functionalities further.

Moreover, integrating tools like the CPI in healthcare systems has become increasingly common. This is particularly evident in the field of electronic health records. You can visit the provided link to learn more about how the California Psychological Inventory's are incorporated into these systems.

Check out this video if you want to find out more about Interpersonal Therapy Techniques:

Printable California Psychological Inventory

Download this California Psychological Inventory to evaluate interpersonal behavior.

How does it work?

The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) operates systematically, offering insights into an individual's personality and behavior. Here's how it works:

Step 1: Preparation

Before taking the CPI, it's essential to understand its purpose and what it measures. The CPI is a self-report inventory that assesses normal-range human behavior rather than clinical psychological disorders. It's often used in personal development, team building, and leadership identification settings.

Step 2: Questionnaire Completion

The CPI consists of 434 true/false items. These questions cover various topics related to interpersonal behavior, social communication, and leadership potential. The respondent must answer all these items honestly to ensure the accuracy of the results.

Step 3: Scoring

Once the questionnaire is completed, the responses are scored. The CPI uses a sten scoring system, where scores range from 1 to 10. Higher scores indicate higher degrees of the measured trait.

Step 4: Interpretation

The results are then interpreted. This involves understanding the meaning of the different scales and what high or low scores on these scales signify. An individual with high scores in certain areas shows strengths in those aspects, while low scores indicate areas for improvement.

Step 5: Feedback and Action Plan

The last step usually involves a feedback session to discuss the results with the individual. Based on the results, an action plan can be developed to leverage strengths and address weaknesses.

For individuals or organizations that prefer a physical copy of the assessment, there are Printable California Psychological Inventorys available. These can be filled out manually, offering a more tactile approach to this psychological assessment.

California Psychological Inventory Example (sample)

A sample California Psychological Inventory (CPI) consists of 434 true/false questions to assess an individual's personality traits and interpersonal behaviors. The questions cover various topics, including leadership potential, social communication skills, and other vital aspects of personality.

For instance, one might encounter statements like "I prefer to lead rather than follow" or "I enjoy social gatherings." The respondent would then indicate whether these statements are true or false for them.

The CPI is scored on a scale from 1 to 10, with higher scores indicating a higher degree of the trait being measured. Once the responses are scored, they can be interpreted to understand the individual's strengths, areas for improvement, and overall personality profile.

It's important to note that the CPI does not label any trait as 'good' or 'bad.' Instead, it provides a neutral assessment of an individual's personality characteristics, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of their behavior and interactions.

For those interested in exploring this further, there are California Psychological Inventory PDF available online, providing a more detailed look at what the CPI entails and how it can be used for personal and professional development.

Download this California Psychological Inventory Example:

California Psychological Inventory Example (sample)

When would you use this Template?

The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) is a powerful tool that can be used in numerous situations where understanding an individual's personality traits and interpersonal behaviors is beneficial. Here are specific instances when using the CPI would be appropriate:

  1. During Hiring Processes: The CPI can be beneficial during hiring processes, where understanding an applicant's personality traits can help determine if they are the right fit for a position or the company culture. It can also help identify potential leaders.
  2. For Personal Development Programs: When individuals aim better to understand their strengths and weaknesses for personal growth, the CPI can be a valuable tool. People can use this inventory to get insights into their personality traits and devise a personal development plan accordingly.
  3. When Building Teams: In a team setting, understanding the dynamics and how individuals relate to each other can significantly impact the team's performance. The CPI can provide insights into each team member's personality traits, helping build a more cohesive and effective team.
  4. During Career Counseling: Career counselors can use the CPI to help individuals understand their personality traits better and guide them towards careers they are likely to excel in and enjoy.
  5. For Leadership Development: Organizations aiming to develop their employees' leadership skills can use the CPI to identify individuals with high leadership potential. The inventory can also help tailor training programs to address areas of improvement.
  6. In Law Enforcement Recruitment: Law enforcement agencies often use the CPI during the recruitment process to assess candidates' suitability for roles that require strong interpersonal skills, leadership potential, and the ability to handle stressful situations effectively.


Comprehensive Personality Assessment

The CPI offers a comprehensive assessment of an individual's personality traits. Unlike many other personality assessment tools, it focuses on normal-range behaviors rather than clinical psychological disorders, making it more applicable in various settings.

Predictive of Behavior

The CPI is designed to predict an individual's behavior in different situations. This can help organizations make informed decisions when hiring or promoting employees, and individuals can use this information for personal development.

Identifies Leadership Potential

One of the key benefits of the CPI is its ability to identify potential leaders. Assessing traits such as social communication skills and leadership potential can help organizations spot employees likely to excel in leadership roles.

Enhances Team Building

The CPI can play a significant role in team building. By understanding the personality traits of each team member, organizations can build more cohesive and effective teams.

Actionable Insights

The CPI provides actionable insights that can be used to develop a personalized improvement plan. This makes it a powerful tool for both personal and professional development.


With the availability of Free California Psychological Inventory versions online, it's easy and cost-effective to access this valuable tool, making it accessible to a broader audience. 

Research & Evidence

The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) was created by psychologist Harrison G. Gough in 1957 and has since been a widely used tool for assessing normal-range human behavior. The CPI is based on the empirical tradition of personality research, meaning that its development involves extensive observation and data collection to ensure its validity and reliability.

The CPI's construction began with a large pool of personality-related statements. These were then tested on a sample population, and the statements that showed the most significant correlations with certain behaviors were included in the final inventory. This rigorous methodology ensured that the CPI could accurately predict an individual's behavior based on their responses.

Over the years, the CPI has been subject to numerous studies and revisions to refine its accuracy and applicability further. Research has consistently shown that the CPI is a reliable measure of personality traits and can effectively predict an individual's behavior in various contexts.

One of the most notable pieces of evidence supporting the CPI's use is its ability to identify potential leaders. Studies have found a strong correlation between high CPI scale scores and effective leadership. This has made the CPI a valuable tool in organizational settings where identifying and developing leadership potential is crucial.

Moreover, the CPI has proven to be a valuable tool in personal development. By providing individuals with insights into their strengths and weaknesses, the CPI can guide the development of personalized improvement plans. This application of the CPI is supported by research showing that self-awareness is critical to personal growth and development.

Why use Carepatron as your California Psychological Inventory app?

Choosing Carepatron as your platform for conducting the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) can significantly enhance your assessment process. Here's why:

Streamlined User Experience

Carepatron’s CPI app is designed to provide a seamless and intuitive user experience. Its clear layout and easy navigation remove potential barriers, making completing the CPI straightforward, even for first-time users.

Instantaneous Results Interpretation

With Carepatron, you don't have to wait to interpret the CPI results. The software's real-time scoring capability instantly generates a comprehensive report once the CPI is completed, enabling immediate analysis and decision-making.

Visual Insights with Data Graphs

Carepatron takes data interpretation a step further with its advanced data visualization tools. These tools convert raw CPI results into meaningful graphs and charts, making it easier for users to understand the nuances of their personality traits and behaviors.

Uncompromised Data Security

Understanding the sensitivity of personality assessment data, Carepatron employs robust security measures. The platform ensures your data is encrypted, stored securely, and handled with utmost confidentiality.

Comprehensive Assessment Solution

Carepatron isn’t just limited to the CPI. It supports various psychological inventories and assessments, making it a one-stop solution for all your psychological assessment needs.

Responsive Customer Assistance

Technical glitches can often disrupt an otherwise smooth experience. With Carepatron, you can access prompt and efficient customer support, ensuring any issues you encounter while using the CPI app are quickly resolved.

Electronic Health Records Software


  1. California Psychological Inventory | psychology. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. Groth-Marnat, G., & Mullard, M. J. (2010). California Psychological Inventory. The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, 1–3.
  3. Jones, C. J., & Peskin, H. (2017). California Psychological Inventory (CPI). In California Psychological Inventory.
Who uses the California Psychological Inventory?
Who uses the California Psychological Inventory?

Commonly asked questions

Who uses the California Psychological Inventory?

Various individuals and organizations use the California Psychological Inventory. This includes businesses for hiring and team building purposes, psychologists for personality assessment, career counselors for guiding individuals, and individuals themselves for personal development.

When do you use the California Psychological Inventory?

The California Psychological Inventory is used when there's a need to understand an individual's personality traits and behaviors. This can be during hiring, personal development programs, team-building exercises, career counseling sessions, and leadership development initiatives.

How is the California Psychological Inventory used?

The California Psychological Inventory is a self-report inventory where individuals respond to statements about their behaviors, attitudes, and preferences. The responses are then scored and interpreted to provide insights into an individual's personality and predicted behavior.

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