Personality Assessment 1: Personality Testing and Its Consequences

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Personality Assessment I: Personality Testing and its Consequences

"If something exists, it exists in some quantity, and it it exists in some quantity, it can be measured." - Edward Lee Thorndike

Objectives:

* Discuss the nature of personality assessment
* Discuss whether personality tests provide S or B data
* Discuss projective and and objective tests
* Discuss the methods of objective test construction
* Discuss the purpose and potential problems of personality testing The Nature of Personality Assessment

* More than just measuring traits.
* Personality: characteristic patters of behavior, thought, or emotional experience that exhibit relative consistency across time and situations *
* Also measures motives, intentions, goals, strategies, and how people perceive and construct the world. * Not restricted to psychologists
*
* How did you decide whom to have as a roommate?
* How did you decide which free-time activities to do? * More important than those made by psychologists
* Most important to know: degree to which the judgment or test is right or wrong *
* Test: validity
* Judgment: accuracy
* Two basic criteria
*
* Agreement
* Prediction
Personality Test

* Used by psychologists (experimental and clinical), corporations, and the military * Omnibus inventories: measures a wide range of traits
* Some tests are designed to measure one trait
* Most tests provide S data
* Some test provide B data
*
* Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
* Implicit Association Tests (IAT)
*
* Theory: people who implicitly, or nonconsciously, know they have a certain trait will respond faster when the trait is paired with “me” (i.eere better predicted by the IAT. shy) * Aspects of shyness that participants consciously controlled could be predicted by “S” data scores. However, more spontaneous indicators of shyness (body tension, facial expressions) * Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998

*
* Used IAT to measure shyness
* Also gathered self-reports of shyness and videotaped social interaction * Aspects of shyness that were under participant’s control could be predicted by S data * More spontaneous indicators of shyness were better predicted by the IAT * Intelligence

* Conclusion: Although people’s awareness of their own shyness is only partially conscious, their deeper, underlying knowledge can be not only measured, but also used to predict behavior Personality Tests: Projective Tests

* Definition: a test that presents a person with an ambiguous stimulus and asks him or her to describe what is seen * Answers are thought to reveal inner psychological states or motivations of which the person may be unaware. * Rorschach inkblot test, Draw-A-Person test, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) * Disadvantages

*
* Expensive and time-consuming
* A psychologist cannot be sure about they they mean
* Other less expensive tests work as well or better
* Advantages
*
* Good tool for breaking the ice with a client
* Some skilled clinicians may be able to use them to get information not captured in other types of tests * Provide B Data
* Used by many clinical psychologists
* Validity evidence is scarce
* Most valid tests seem to be the TAT and Rorschach (with one of two scoring methods) Personality Tests: Objective Tests

* Definition: a personality test that consists of a list of questions to be answered by the subject as true or false or on a numeric scale * Validity and the subjectivity of test items
*
* Items are still no absolutely objective; they can be interpreted in different ways. * Why so many items?
*
* The principle of aggregation: The average of...
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