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Lecture 3

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Anthony Ruocco

Psychological Assessment - Lecture #3 - Jan 22/13 History of Psychological Testing According to Robert J. Gregory: “Students of psychology generally regard historical issues as dull, dry, and pedantic, and sometimes these prejudices are well deserved…” “In reality, the history of psychological testing is a captivating story that has substantial relevance to present-day practices” (p. 41) Historical Timeline  Han Dynasty (2220 B.C.)  Physiognomy and Phrenology (384 B.C./1810)  Charles Darwin and Sir Francis Galton (~1859-1883)  Experimental Psychology and Psychophysical Measurement (~1866-1912)  Intelligence Tests (~1905-1930’s)  Personality and Vocational Tests (1920-1940’s) Rudimentary Forms of Testing in China in 2200 B.C  Emperor had his officials examined every third year for fitness for office - important to select good people  Written exams were introduced in the Han dynasty to test civil law, military affairs, agriculture, revenue and geography Final Form of Chinese Examination System Round 1: Spend one day and night in a small isolated booth composing essays on assigned topics and writing a poem Round 2: Three separate sessions of three days and three nights going through more testing! Round 3: Travel to Peking for a final round of examinations to finally become mandarins eligible for public office - reason for so much writing is because the actual talent in their writing was important whether it was relevant or not in the office criticisms: unnecessarily grueling and failed to validate selection procedures - abolished by royal decree in 1906, is it a valid procedure? probably not- sort of like GRE but used for incremental validity Physiognomy  Physiognomy is based on the notion that we can judge the inner character of people from their outward appearance - some evidence [some validity] that snap judgements of the face can make correct suggests about persons personality 1 Psychological Assessment - Lecture #3 - Jan 22/13 Phrenology -bumps on the skull represent brain area that's better developed  reflects certain traits  Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828)  Brain capacities are localized  When a specific faculty develops, the corresponding brain area enlarges  Causes a “bump” on the skull  Psychograph is used to automatically read these bumps Charles Darwin and Individual Differences  Darwin posited that higher forms of life evolved partially because of differences among individual forms of life within a species  those with the best or most adaptive characteristics survive at the expense of those who are less fit - if every single person is the same there is no point in psychological testing, we are assuming that people are different in so many abilities and traits [individual differences] Sir Francis Galton and James Cattell  Galton (a relative of Darwin's) set out to show that some characteristics made them more fit than others, and he began to experimentally study individual differences in human sensory and motor functioning - ex. dropping a metre stick in front of a person and asking that person to catch it as soon as prof drops it and then measure where she caught it to predict her reaction time  Cattell (1890) coined the term mental test and for example studied individual differences in reaction times - main developers of 'test' and he is the one who came up with the term mental test Experimental Psychology and Psychophysical Measurement  Known as the Brass Instruments Era of testing, which emphasized objective methods -  Used assorted brass instruments to measure sensory thresholds (situations where you might have a sound) and reaction times BUT mistook simple sensory processes for intelligence University of Toronto has a Brass Instrument Psychology Museum! - the instruments displayed in this exhibition represent the earliest research and teaching program in experimental psychology in Canada; hand dynamometer - measure of grip strength (still used now) Cattell Imports Brass Instruments to the United States  Wissler (Cattell’s student) tries to validate brass instrument testing with over 300 students  Found very little correlation between mental test scores and academic performance 2 Psychological Assessment - Lecture #3 - Jan 22/13  This paved the way to Alfred Binet’s more sensible and u
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