Chapter 4 Psychological Assessment and
• Psychological assessment is the systematic gathering and evaluation of information
pertaining to an individual with suspected abnormal behaviour
Reliability and Validity
• Test-retest reliability: the degree to which a test yields the same results when it is
given more than once to the same person
o The problem with test-retest reliability is that a person may get better results on
the second try because they are familiar with the test. To fix this, experimenters
may slightly change the test (ex. wording questions differently on a survey). This
is called alternate-form reliability
• Internal consistency: the degree of reliability within a test (i.e. to what extent do
different parts of the same test yield the same results?).
o One way to test internal consistency is split-half reliability, which is evaluated
by comparing responses on odd-numbered test items with responses on even-
numbered test items.
o Another method called coefficient alpha is calculated by averaging the
intercorrelations of all items on a given test
• Face validity: the user of a test believes at the items on that test resemble the
characteristics associated with the concept being tested for.
o EX. Suppose you’re testing for assertiveness and there are questions like “how
would you react if someone overcharged you in a store? When someone cuts in
front of you in a line?” These behaviours are often related to assertiveness.
• Content validity: a test’s content includes a representative sample of all behaviours
thought to be related to the topic that the test is designed to measure.
o EX. If a test measuring depression only focuses on sadness and doesn’t focus
on topics like lack of energy or negative self-perception, it does not have good
content validity. • Criterion validity: a test has good criterion validity if it gives higher scores to people
who are already known to have good skills in the behaviour being tested
o EX. a test measuring artistic ability should give a higher score to recognized
artists and a lower score to people who have never taken art classes before.
• Construct validity: refers to the importance of a test within a specific theoretical
framework and can only be understood in the context of that framework.
Clinical vs. Actuarial Prediction
• How can you interpret results from tests? People who take the clinical approach prefer
to draw on all available data guided by intuition honed with professional experience.
• Those who take the actuarial approach argue that a more objective standard is needed
– they use scientifically validated measures to evaluate data.
• The actuarial approach is more efficient in terms of making predictions about relapse,
dangerousness, improvement in therapy, etc.
Brain Imaging Techniques
Computerized Axial Magnetic Resonance Imaging Positron Emission
Tomography (CAT): a (MRI): a non-invasive technique Tomography (PET): radiation
narrow band of x-rays is that uses magnetic fields and is generated by
projected through the head radio waves to create a injected/inhaled radioisotopes.
onto scintillation crystals at computer-generated image of Radiation is given off and
different angles, creating a the brain. It is capable of detected by the PET
2D cross-sectional image of discriminating very small equipment. This allows the
the brain. differences in water measurement of a variety of
concentration in the brain. biological activities in a living
Bender Visual-Motor Halstead-Reitan Test: consists of 6 subtests:
Gestalt Test: the test
1. Category test: several images are shown on a screen, and
contains 9 cards with lines the examinee is asked to choose which images represent
and shapes drawn on them. A
patient is asked first to copy certain categories (ex. shape, size, location, and colour).
them onto another card, and This measures abstract thinking
then to draw them from 2. Rhythm test: examinee listens to 30 pairs of rhythmic
memory. Certain errors (rotation of figures, beats, and is asked to choose which pairs are the same
perseveration, fragmentation, and which are different. This measures concentration and
oversimplification, inability to attention
copy angles, and reversals)
3. Tactual performance test: examinee fits blocks of various
indicate neurological shapes in their corresponding spaces on a board while
blindfolded. They then draw the board from memory. This
tests visual memory.
4. Tapping test: examinee taps rapidly on a lever
5. Grip strength test: examine grips a dynamometer, which
measures grip strength. This helps in locating brain
6. Auditory test: examine has to identify aurally transmitted
Unstructured interviews: the Structured interviews: the Semi-structured interviews:
interviewer as no script. It is interviewer has a the interviewer has leeway
free-flowing and allows the predetermined set of about what questions they
interviewer to concentrate on questions to ask the patient. It ask, but they follow a
a patient’s unique style. is more reliable, but doesn’t guideline about which
allow interviewers to form a categories of questions to
bond with the patient. cover.
Assessment of Intelligence Stanford-Binet intelligence scale: assess 5 Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS):
kinds of ability: fluid reasoning, knowledge, measures diverse aspects of intelligence and
visual-spatial processing, quantitative consists of 10 core subtests and 5
reasoning, and working memory. If produces supplementary subtests: 4 verbal
separate scores for each of these functions as comprehension tests, 3 working memory tests,
well as a global IQ score that summarizes the 5 perceptual reasoning tests, and 3 processing
child’s ability. speed tests.
Projective tests: the patient Rorshach Inkblot test: the patient looks at a blot of ink and
is presented with an tells the clinician what picture they see. Initially, clinicians use
ambiguous stimulus and will their own approach to interpret the results, but the exner
project their unconscious system has been developed to increase validity and reliability
motives, needs, drives, of the inkblot tests by standardizing the scoring of responses to
feelings, defences, and the inkblots.
personality characteristics on
Thematic Apperception test: the patient is shown cards with
that stimulus. There are two ambiguous pictures of social interactions and is asked to make
projective tests we use: the
Rorschach Inkblot test, and up a story about what is happening in the picture. Clinicians
assume that the patients identify with the protagonist in the
the TAT. story and project their needs and conflicts onto the events they
Personality inventories: a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI):
range of instruments have contains 567 questions grouped into 10 content scales plus
also been developed that use additional scales. Each item is a statement, and the patient has
scientifically accepted to answer “true”, “false”, or “cannot say.” It is multiphasic
procedures such as because it assesses many aspects of personality. It focuses
standardization, establishment mostly on Axis I disorders in the DSM IV. This assessment
of norms, clinical and control includes the L (lie) scale, the F (infrequency) scale, and the K
groups, and statistically (defensiveness) scale to account for people answering
validated methods of dishonestly on the questionnaire.
interpretation. Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI): consists of 175
self-reported true-false items that yield scores for 24 clinical
scales. It focuses on Axis II disorders.
Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI): a self-
administered, objective inventory of adult personality. It
consists of 344 items that use a 4-point Likert scale (instead of
true-false items) that can assess symptoms that range from
mild to severe. BEHAVIOURAL AND COGNITIVE