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Chapter 17

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PSYC 3250
Deborah Powell

Chapter 17 – Personality Testing Development of personality testing o First attempt to measure personality via use of test accorded to Fernald o Next milestone occurred during WWI  Need to select personnel for military led to development of instruments designed to predict whether a new recruit would make a good adjustment in the military  Attempted to measure one facet of personality o Appearance of multi-scaled tests (e.g. anxiety, assertiveness, home adjustment, general health etc). o Early scales quiet unsophisticated and obtrusive o During 1930s and 1940s = two new developments: empirically (mathematically based selection) derived methods of testing and projective tests (work of Murray- inkblot test) Objective measures of personality o Tests of personality  objective or projective depending on structure and clarity of task required o Objective tests = highly structured, clear, unambiguous test items objectively scored o Projective tests = unstructured, ambiguous items that encourage examinees to project their personality into tasks utilizing hidden wishes, attitudes, and needs in responding to stimuli presented (controversy over classification system) Four instruments illustrating key developments in personality testing o California Psychological Inventory (CPI)  Developed and published by Harrison Gough in 1957  Designed to measure normal personality variables in adolescents and adults  Revised several times and reduced amounts of items  Despite the revisions – purpose of the test remained same – to allow user to classify people into specific groups on basis of their interpersonal behaviour and to predict how they will function in specific situations  Grouped into 20 scales designed to measure attributes of personality involved in interpersonal behaviour and social interaction  General scheme of the test followed was to select 2 groups of people who differed with respect to a particular psychological trait and have them compete the inventory (low vs. high in social dominance)  Administration and scoring = quick and easy  Can be administered individually or in a group setting – usually in less than an hour  Current edition – provides both gender specific norms for use in most clinical situations and combined sex norms for use in employment application  Number of features included enhancing validity and interpretability of the test = three times the size of the original norm sample, more detailed reporting and updated computer based scoring system  Most appropriate for evaluating individual’s behaviour and attitude toward interpersonal situations (according to Gough)  Research on the CPI = established that it is extremely useful in predicting underachievement in academic settings and potential delinquency  CPI also predicts job performance in number of careers and in school internal control and interpersonal effectiveness = major portion of variance on CPI  Criticized – for its psychometric shortcomings – however sufficient interpretive experience can predict behaviour in many social context  Better researched and more frequently used measures of normal personality o Personality Research Form (PRF)  Developed and published by Douglas Jackson in 1967  Sophisticated attempt to measure dimensions of normal personality  Based on variables of personality originally defined by Henry Murray and colleagues  Jackson selected 20 personality variables but believed 14 were most important so he created a shorter version of PRF to assess these personality attributes  Test contains 22 scales (pg 404 contains a list of all of them)  Designed scales to be bipolar in nature – low scores on any scale signifies not just absence of the trait but presence of its opposite  Jackson had two goals in mind for the PRF:  Wanted a useful tool for personality research  Develop a measure of personality dimensions assumed to be of importance in such environments as schools, guidance clinics and industry  Good reliability  Stable over time by test-retest reliability data as evidence  Valid test  Correlated with other personality and interest tests and shown positive relationships with conceptually similar variables and low to zero order relationships with unrelated variables  New test – well constructed, good psychometric characteristics and offers promise of being one of the more useful measures of important dimensions of the normal personality o Sixteen personality factor questionnaire (16PF)  Developed by Raymond Cattell; first published in 1949  Believed that test should measure most fundamental dimensions of personality and compromise all characteristics and attributes found in adults  Surveyed all the words that described personal characteristics  Due to limitation of factor analysis at the time, forced to categorize the words into 45 groups then factor analyze into 15 factors labelled A through O  Greatest amount of variance = A and each subsequent letter was less important and assigned a lower alphabet letter  Some were dropped from consideration as they proved not to be found in adults but children and adolescents – missing D, J and K from the original list  In the end = factor analytic methods containing 16 factors generally independent of one another  Test has undergone four revisions – first to make interpretation easier, five second order factors representing broader (more global) aspects of personality and scales to measure social desirability, acquiescence and check for random responding  Scoring and administration of 16PF = little special training  Each item response is assigned a unit weight of 0,1 or 2 points except items on scale B (0 or 1 – correct or incorrect); summations of the item weights produce 16 raw scores that when compared to norm tables translate into standard scores known as STENS (area transformation scores on a standard ten base)  13 out of 16 PF scales do NOT show significant gender differences and so combined sex norms are used for profiling them – three do show gender differences: Warmth, Dominance and Sensitivity)  Recap: bipolar so both low and high scores have meaning  This test continues to be a leader among published personality tests  Reliability and validity = demonstrated in numerous studies  Used in variety of research and clinical settings (e.g. vocational psychologists; personnel selection and placement data about employees’ management styles and future career development)  Shown to have utility to measure worker’s leadership potential, decision making ability and personal initiative o Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS)  Developed by Allen Edwards and first published in 1954  Represented a novel attempt to reduce the effects of social desirability in personality assessment  Began by operationally defining 15 latent personality needs outlined earlier by Murray and his associates  Each need (out of the 15) is paired with the other 14 needs twice on the test  Scoring = summation of the number of times a need is chosen out of 28 possible pairs  Raw scores converted to percentile equivalents with use of various norm tables representing both college and general adult populations  Another scale – a measure of consistency provides a check on random responding – consists of 15 repeated items  9 out of 15 items is usually answered consistently  Lower scores are indicative of potential interpretive problems  Includes items such as: achievement, deference, order, exhibition, autonomy, affiliation, intraception, succorance, dominance, abasement, nurturance, change, endurance, heterosexuality, aggression and consistency (pg. 409)  Unfortunately, the weaknesses of EPPS outweigh its advantages  Effects of social desirability on the test have not been eliminated or even controlled as Edwards has contended  Doubtful that EPPS measures any latent needs but provides a picture of how clients see themselves when tested  Since publication = not much support in validity  Questions raised about stability of scores  Use of forced choice, ipsative test format may reduce the overall validity of the test  It does not fulfill the requirements of well validated and psychometrically sound instrument even though it is widely used in guidance centers, vocational counselling, school settings and employment situations o Projective measures of personality  All share in common the utilization of ambiguous stimuli or tasks designed to provide a wide range of response from examinees  Intended to be depth oriented and focused on the unconscious, covert characteristics of personality
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