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Chapter 12

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David Goldstein

Chapter 12: Objective Personality Tests Introduction 1. Objective Personality tests are tests of personality that can be stored in a simple, clerical-like manner (ex. by counting responses to a mc or tf items) 2. The nature of the response format is a defining characteristic for these tests and they also have a second characteristic: the nature of the test items stems. 3. An objective personality test is often called an inventory and some sources prefer the use of the term structured term rather than objective. Uses of Objective Personality Tests 4. Four primary uses of these kinds of tests. 5. (1) clinical psychologists use them to provide a standardized assessment of personality traits and characteristics. 6. We can include forensic use as a subcategory under clinical use. Forensic use refers to any use related to legal proceedings. 7. (2) can be used for counseling purposes. 8. (3) sometimes used for personnel selection. 9. (4) used widely for research about the human personality: (a) the tests are used for basic research about the nature and structure of personality itself (b) there is an enormous amount of research related to the clinical application of these tests (c) personality tests are employed in a diverse array of studies to determine how personality characteristics relate to other variables. A Functional Classification of Objective Personality Tests 10. The system of classification that we use is a functional one, emphasizing distinctions that arise in practice. 11. First, we distinguish between tests that orient themselves toward either the normal or abnormal personality. 12. Along the top we distinguish between those tests that attempt to provide very broad coverage (comprehensive inventories) and those that have a narrow focus (specific domain). Comprehensive Inventories: Common Characteristics 13. Share certain common characteristics beyond the fact that they attempt to be relatively comprehensive and use a selected-response format. 14. (1) The comprehensive inventories tend to have a large number of items, usually at least 200 and ranging up to 600 items. 16. (2) Because the item stems are short and responses are mc, examinees typically complete these inventories in 30-60 min. Do not have time limits but are encouraged to finish quickly. 17. (3) Tests in this category yield many scores. A typical entry reports 15 to 20 scores. None of these inventories combines all its subscores into a single, total score. 18. (4) these tests have many applications: used in many different contexts, for a variety of different purposes. 19. (5) make a deliberate effort to provide well-defined, nationally representative norm groups. 20. (6) the provision of narrative reports. Specific Domain Tests: Common Characteristics 21. The characteristics of the specific domain tests are the opposite of those for the comprehensive tests but there are some exceptions to this generalization. 22. (1) They have relatively few items (less than 30 items) but have excellent internal consistency 23. (2) can be completed quickly, often requiring 10-15 min 24. (3) usually have few scores, often only one score. And the different scores on a specific domain test, because they are closely related, may be summed into a total score. 25. (4) usually have very targeted audiences and uses. 26. (5) have very limited norm groups. Some may have no norms and others may use "convenience norms" 27. (6) the scoring and the score reports tend to be very simple. 28. A comprehensive is used when we do not know what the problem is and need to investigate many possibilities. 29. The comprehensive test provides more information but requires more time. The specific domain test is short and simple, yet it offers a narrower band of information. The Special Problems of Response Sets and Faking 30. A response set is a person's tendency, either conscious or unconscious, to respond to items in a certain way, independent of the person's true feeling about the item. 31. response distortion: a person's true feelings are distorted in some way by the response set 32. impression management: a person tries to create a certain impression by the responses given 33. common response styles are the tendency to respond in socially desirable ways, to agree with statements, or to disagree with statements. 34. Socially desirable responses are responses generally approved by society 35. The tendency to agree, also known as the acquiescence or yea-sayer tendency means the respondent may agree with almost any statement, whereas the tendency to disagree (the nay-sayer tendency) means the respondent is inclined to disagree with almost any statement. 36. Faking is a deliberate attempt to create a favorable or unfavorable impression (dissimulation) 37. A person can be faking good or faking bad (malingering) Strategies for Dealing with Response Sets and Faking 38. Most of these strategies fall into four main categories. 39. (1) includes references to extreme empirical frequencies for normal groups. That way if no one in the group said that they like everyone and the person answering answer true we know they may be faking good. 40. Conclusions about faking are not based on responses to just one or two items. An inventory may contain a dozen or more such items, yielding a score for suspected faking. 41. (2) determines response consistency to similar items. We can tell whether the person is a yea-sayer, nay-sayer or just answering at random. 42. (3) deals with the yea-saying and nay-saying response tendencies by balancing the directionality of items. That way in order for the answer to count as friendly sometimes one must respond T and sometimes F. 43. (4) devised mainly to deal with the social desirability variable, requires examinees to choose between statements matched on social desirability. 44. Since the pairs are matched on social desirability, examinees' choices should be determined by their status on conscientiousness, sociability, and personal control rather than by a tendency to respond in a socially desirable (or undesirable) direction. 45. After we have determined a score for a response tendency or faking, there are two main methods for using this information. 46. (1) the response tendency score, may lead to adjustments in scores for the personality traits that are of primary interest. 47. (2) the score for a response tendency may lead to invalidating all the other scores, or at least, raising serious questions about the validity of the other scores. 48. Scores for consistency and various response tendencies are often called validity indexes (refer to whether the examinee's responses are suspect, not whether the test is measuring what it purports to measure. Major Approaches to Personality Test Development 49. There have been four principal methods employed in developing objective personality tests. Content Method 50. The content method, also known as the logical or rational method, develops tests items and scales based on simple, straightforward understanding of what we want to measure. 51. Ex. If we want to measure hypochondriasis, then we ask questions about fear of germs, thoughts about illness, etc. 52. this approach
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