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Lecture 4

PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Discriminant, Social Desirability Bias, Hypochondriasis

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Connie Boudens

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PSYB30 - Lecture 4 - February 6th, 2013
Personality Assessment
Exam is Monday February 25th, 5-7 pm, 3 separate rooms, check Portal for details
Personality Assessment: it's the process of evaluating personality or individual differences
through 3 means
1) Tests
2) Interviews
3) Observations
It involves use of systematic standardized procedures for observing, measuring, recording
behaviours and personality features.
What Makes a Good Personality Test?
Reliability: the test you use is going to give the same results irrelevant of the number of times
the test is done and the number of people it's done to
1) Time
- Test-retest (ex. neuroticism; two tests should have strong correspondence)
2) Items
- Chronbach's Alpha (>.70; .70 would be the minimum you would look for)
- Across individual items on a test
- Variance of a correlation
3) Raters
- Interrater reliability
- Subjective component (Observational research)
(E.g. Asking raters to rate aggression on scale of 1-10. If your observational data are clear and
raters are well trained, there should be strong correspondence in between the raters)
Four Types:
1) Construct Validity: Tests are closely aligned with your construct
Things you can't measure directly, must infer about it such as personality
(E.g. Self Confidence; tests must tap into what this construct means)
2) Face Validity: does it seem to be about that particular construct
(E.g. Measure of Depression - you should ask questions about the person's mood, sleeping
patterns, etc.)
(E.g. Baxter Retching Faces (BARF nausea scale) used for kids that can't read, this has high
face validity)
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3) Criterion - how effective the test is of the criteria of something
(E.g. criteria of a college exam)
(E.g. position including conscientiousness and extroversion jewellery person; anyone who
scores high on this is a good jewellery person)
*Of Special Concern in Test Development
1) Convergent Validity: Convergent validity refers to the degree to which scores on a test
correlate with (or are related to) scores on other tests that are designed to assess the same
construct. For example, if scores on a specific form a aggressiveness test are similar to people's
scores on other aggressiveness tests, then convergent validity is high (there is a positively
correlation between the scores from similar tests of aggressiveness).
2) Discriminant Validity: the degree to which scores on a test do not correlate with scores from
other tests that are not designed to assess the same construct. For example, if discriminant
validity is high, scores on a test designed to assess aggressiveness should not be positively
correlated with scores from tests designed to assess intelligence
Types of Personality Assessments
1) Dream Analysis
- Freud
- Psychodynamic Approach
- Dreams represent unconscious desires
- ("Royal Road" to Unconscious) - to reduce anxiety, ego disguises the true (latent) content of
dreams using symbols (manifest content). Manifest content is analyzed to discover represented
2) Interviews
- F2F meeting to get information about personality, personal history
a) Unstructured: informal conversation
b) Structured: follows prearranged plan; series of planned questions
*Biases in interviews; structured interviews minimizes such a bias
Potential Biases
a) Confirmation bias: making inference at the outset & asking questions to confirm it
b) Halo effect: generalizes based on predominant features, may be unrelated to personality
(E.g. generalizing people who are attractive)
c) Social Desirability: faking good (giving answers that they think are more socially acceptable);
dissimulation, faking bad
3) Observations
- Assessing behaviours through direct surveillance
- selecting observers
a) Professional personality assessors
b) People who actually know the target
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