Chapter 12: Objective Personality Tests
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
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
11. First, we distinguish between tests that orient themselves toward either the normal or abnormal
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
52. this approach