Personality: Characteristic patterns of behavior, thought, or emotional experience that exhibit relative consistency across time and situations (This definition is in this chapter, but you should define personality for your students before this chapter.)
These assessments are more important than those made by psychologists, because the consequences of them are more important.
Agreement: Does this judgment agree with other judgments obtained through other techniques or from other judges? Prediction: Can this judgment of personality be used to predict behavior or other life outcomes?
Omnibus inventories: measure a wide range of traits Activity 5-1: Exploration and discussion of personality tests based on the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) Activity 5-2: Implicit Association Test
Alternative for using good and bad instead of me and others
Activity 5-3: Projective test taking and interpretation Activity 5-4: Online TAT with interpretation Try For Yourself 5.1 on p. 147 Definition: a test that presents a person with an ambiguous stimulus and asks him or her to describe what is seen The person may or may not be aware of the inner processes. Draw-A-Person test: nonverbal test of intelligence or emotional problems for children ages 5 to 17 TAT: tell stories about drawings of people and ambiguous events; measures implicit motives and reflects what people want
Class activity: Projective Test Taking and Interpretation
The most valid tests seem to be the TAT and Rorschach (with one of two scoring methods). A psychologist cannot be sure what projective tests mean: Answers may be interpreted differently.
Rorschach: With these scoring systems, there is some evidence of validity; may be good for predicting suicide or commitment to a mental hospital; used by 82% of clinical psychologists (at least occasionally); little evidence of incremental validity beyond easier and cheaper tests such as the MMPI.
People score differently on projective and objective measures: tests of the same attribute might assess different things (implicit, what people want, vs. explicit, how motives will be expressed) Projective and objective measures predict different outcomes: need for achievement predicts math test scores (implicit) vs. volunteer for leadership (explicit) Activity 5-5: Excerpts from “Flowers for Algernon”
Definition of objective test: a personality test that consists of a list of questions to be answered by the subject as true or false or on a numeric scale The questions seem more objective and less open to interpretation than projective tests. Items are still not absolutely objective: they can be interpreted in different ways; And this might not be all bad because how they are interpreted might be influenced by personality Examples from the Big Five Inventory: what does the italicized item mean? I see myself as someone who is sophisticated in art, music, and literature. (openness scale) I see myself as someone who is reserved. (extraversion scale, reversed) The principle of aggregation: the average of answers to several items increases stability and reliability Use the Spearman-Brown formula to calculate reliability if items were added
The rational method definition: write items that seem directly, obviously, and rationally related to what is to be measured The most common form of test construction Items are sometimes based on a theory of the trait and sometimes less systematic: Have students think about what items could be used for a test of relationship quality.
Try For Yourself 5.2 on p. 156: Optimism-Pessimism Test as an example of a rationally constructed test
The factor analytic method definition: Identify which items group together by using the statistical technique of factor analysis.
Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985)
Quality: Some types of items may be overrepresented, and some may be left out or be underrepresented. Factors don’t always make sense: FA identifies traits or items that go together, but the conceptual reason for this is not always clear.
The empirical method definition: Identify items based on how people in pre-identified groups respond. Compare the answers of the different groups: Basic assumption is that certain kinds of people have distinctive ways of answering certain questions. Cross-validation: Determine whether the test can predict behavior, diagnosis, or category membership in a new sample.
Two commonly used empirically constructed tests
Responses are difficult to fake: It doesn’t matter whether people answer truthfully and accurately (because these are B data). Tests are only as good as the criteria by which they are developed and/or cross-validated: The test may not work at another time, in another place, and with different people. PR: People who take the test can be skeptical about whether it really measures what it is supposed to measure. Content validity: The content of the test matches the content of what is trying to be predicted (this is low with the empirical method). Problems with the law: based on asking questions that could lead to discrimination (e.g., of religion, sexual preferences)
Schools and career counselors use vocational interest tests. Clinicians use tests to help with diagnosis and treatment selection. Employers use integrity tests: often related to traits that predict job performance; do not discriminate against women, minorities, and other groups. CIA uses tests to select agents.
Different for honest vs. dishonest people: Honest people have to decide whether to lie about minor offenses to get a high score; dishonest people don’t have this dilemma.
Controlling people: by rewarding correct traits and punishing incorrect traits
Traits are not invented or constructed, they are discovered and their nature and correlates are established empirically. Good way to assess personality: better than interviews, which are also common