The release date for the MMPI-3 is expected to be in Fall 2020

A new MMPI by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet, right?

Would you like to read a newer blog post related to the MMPI-3? Check this one out too: The FAA won’t be using the MMPI-3; should you? 


The release date for the MMPI-3 is expected to be in Fall 2020. 

A new MMPI by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet, right? So what should the next version, the MMPI-3, look like (more like the MMPI-2 or more like the MMPI-2-RF)?

The University of Minnesota Press gave an MMPI-3 development update this month (updated December 2019) which you can find here: (it is amusing that it provides links to references to the MMPI-2-RF rather than a link to references to the MMPI-2).

It notes that, among other things: “The primary goals for the MMPI-3 have been to enhance the item pool, optimize existing scales, introduce new scales where warranted, and fully update the test norms. As a result, the MMPI-3 will feature a new, nationally representative normative sample for which data were collected in 2017 and 2018 from diverse communities throughout the United States to align with the 2020 U.S. census projections for race and ethnicity. Additionally, for the first time, Spanish language norms will be available for use of the MMPI-3 in the U.S. MMPI-3 development is being led by MMPI-2-RF co-authors Yossef Ben-Porath and Auke Tellegen.”

Perhaps you may not be aware of this, but over the years there has been some conflict between the camps of people who prefer the MMPI-2 vs those who prefer the MMPI-2-RF. There is an article in the National Psychologist that may interest you from 2017: MMPI-3: Revision of MMPI-2 or Marketing Hype? There is a funny extended quote I like from the article: “If the University Press follows through with its plans to release an MMPI-3 based on the controversial methodology underlying the MMPI-2-RF, the reader should be aware that “MMPI-3” is a misnomer and an attempt to capitalize on the MMPI brand by hijacking the name. In essence, any revision of the MMPI-2-RF is just that and should be labeled appropriately as a version of the latter instrument. Eliminating “RF” in its name by calling it an MMPI-3 is a masquerade, for the ostensible purpose of having users discontinue using the MMPI-2 in favor of an MMPI-3 imposter. A more honest title would be the “MMPI-2-RF-Revised (RF-R),” because the methodology underlying the MMPI-2-RF is not remotely similar in construction, scales or interpretation to the MMPI-2. To put the matter simply with a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

It is amusing and telling that if you type it currently doesn’t redirect you to the page for the MMPI-2, it redirects you to the page for the MMPI-2-RF (as of 12/20/2019).

The MMPI-2-RF has received plenty of criticism in the scientific literature (though certainly the MMPI-2 has received some as well). Perhaps I’m a bit cynical in regards to the MMPI-2-RF in part because of presentations I attended at the publication of the MMPI-2-RF; it did appear at times that one of the authors of the MMPI-2-RF often seemed more like a salesman than a scientist in his presentations. However, I should give you a link to some of his words too so why not check out this scientific PDF: Butcher and Williams’s (This Issue)
Critique of the MMPI–2–RF Is Slanted and Misleading and also in the National Psychologist here. Yes, my arguments in this blog post aren’t really scientific but this blog clearly isn’t a venue for scientific discourse (yet I don’t believe  that I personally have attempted to thoroughly attack people that disagree with me as the bulk of my argument). I openly admit that this blog post does in fact fall “well short of expectations for a scholarly critique.”


Anyway- I’m not really trying to take sides. Admittedly I don’t give a long personality test very often given the types of referrals I get. The MMPI-2-RF has been around a while but admittedly I still use the MMPI-2 (all 567 questions) in the rare instance I use a test that broad. I might sometimes use the PAI to mix it up as well (but I next-to-never use the MCMI despite getting some free ones in my  online account when the latest version came out). In relation to the MMPI it is fun to look at Amazon and see that there are 141 results for the quoted search term “MMPI-2” but there are only 20 results for “MMPI-2-RF.” It is my understanding that a lot of people are still using the MMPI-2 rather than the MMPI-2-RF.


I’m not going to do a deep-dive for you into the morass that is the back-and-forth debate in the background of the MMPI-3 or the scientific underpinnings. There has been trouble in paradise for a long time. However, I do want to leave you with the point that when you see the ads for the MMPI-3 and are asked to plunk down the time and money to “upgrade,” be sure you know what exactly it is you’re using and purchasing. Be sure you have the background necessary– especially in a forensic setting– to fully appreciate what the MMPI-3 is and isn’t. Don’t assume that it will simply be revised norms for the MMPI-2.


BTW since I’m wrapping up this particular blog post now with that buyer beware warning, if you want to get an email the next time I write a blog post you can subscribe for that here using a service from Google:



Todd Finnerty, Psy.D.


P.S. Technically the release date estimate noted on this blog is not official or confirmed as of the 12/20/2019 writing.

Update 2/2020: Fall 2020 is official and you can read another MMPI-3 blog post here: