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Chapter 1

Psychology 2080A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Psychological Testing, Projective Test, Visual Acuity

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Richard Brown

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CHAPTER 1: Introduction
What a Test is
Test: measurement device or technique used to quantify behavior or aid in
understanding and prediction of behavior
A test measures only a sample of behavior, and error is always associated with a
sampling process
Item: specific stimulus to which a person responds overtly – response can be scored
or evaluated
Items are the specific questions or problems that make up a test
Psychological Test (educational test): a set of items that are designed to measure
characteristics of human beings that pertain to behavior
OVERT behavior individual’s observable activity
COVERT behavior takes place within an individual, cannot be directly
Scales: relate raw scores on test items to some defined theoretical or empirical
Why Use a Test?
Testing is a way of fighting fascism
Fascists treat people as interchangeable
Psychological testing combats fascism by demonstrating the rich variety of
human qualities
Our interest in testing reflects the idea that individual people are important in
their own right
We believe that the things that make individual people different from each
other are interesting and worth knowing about
Empirical research depends upon data collected using tests
Testing is an indicator of our desire to improve the lives of our fellow human
beings, and an aid to that project
Everything psychologists know depends upon knowledge
Knowledge comes from research, which depends upon measurement
of capacities, behaviors, and attitudes, and of changes in those things
in response to intervention
Testing allows us to be more productive as a society
Psychological testing allows us to answer questions such as:
Who can benefit from university education?
Who requires treatment for depression?
Who would be a good candidate for the job of airline pilot?
Which interventions work and which don’t?
Types of Tests

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Individual Tests: those that can only be given to one person at a time
Test Administrator: examiner, person giving test
Group Test: can be administered to more than one person at a time by a single
Ability Tests contain items that can be scored in terms of speed, accuracy, or both
The faster and more accurate your responses, the better your scores are on a
particular characteristic
Achievement – refers to previous learning
Aptitude – refers to the potential for learning or acquiring a specific skill
Intelligence – refers to a person’s general potential to solve problems, adapt
to changing circumstances, think abstractly, and profit from experience
All 3 concepts are encompassed by the term human ability
Personality Tests are tests that measure overt and covert dispositions of individuals
(the tendency that individuals will show a particular behavior or response in any
given situation) – measure typical human behavior
Structured personality tests: provide a statement, usually of the “self-
report” variety, and require the subject to choose between two or more
alternative responses (ex: true or false)
Projective personality tests: either the stimulus (test materials) or the
required response—or both—are ambiguous
Psychological testing refers to all the possible uses, applications, and underlying
concepts of psychological and educational tests
The main use of these tests is to evaluate individual differences, or variations
among individuals
How Test Results are Interpreted
Objective scoring – ex: multiple choice exams, stats exams
Subjective scoring – ex: essay exams
Projective scoring – interpretation of a response to an ambiguous stimulus
examiner is a source of variability in test results
Early Antecedents
Evidence suggests that the Chinese had a relatively sophisticated civil service
testing program more than 4,000 years ago
By the Han Dynasty, use of test batteries (two or more tests used in
conjunction) was quite common
Related to civil law, military affairs, agriculture, revenue, geography,
Ming Dynasty – national multistage testing program involved local and
regional testing centers equipped with special testing booths
British government adopted similar system of testing for its civil service in 1865
French and German governments followed suit
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