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Psychological testing, meaning, advantages and limitations


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Psychological testing, meaning, advantages and limitations

  1. 1. In this presentation  You could know that what a psychological test is.  Its characteristics.  Advantages and limitations.  Why psychological tests were developed.  How they can be used to assist individuals in our societies to prom better understanding of human behavior and to make decisions.
  2. 2. Why do we need psychological testing?
  3. 3. The need to make decisions about people is not a new ch for the human race. Every day people in our societies are with the task of making decisions that are important and h long-term implications for individuals.
  4. 4. Which university course should I pursue?
  5. 5. Who should I appoint for this important positi in my company?
  6. 6. Does my client have a mental disorder?
  7. 7. Similarly, human beings have always been fascinated by their own and others’ behavior
  8. 8. Why is this seemingly bright student underperforming in class?
  9. 9. Why do I lack confidence in public speaking
  10. 10. Traditionally, we have relied on a number of methods (e.g. tradition supernatural forces, laws or logic) to assist us in these processes For example, in ancien China, astrology and numerology were used to evaluate the compatibility between brides and grooms.
  11. 11. For the profession of psychology, personal judgment and c intuition have been used for a long time to assist psycholo to arrive at a decision or to understand behavior.
  12. 12. For example, psychologists who work in busi organizations have made decisions about hir individuals based on interviewing them.
  13. 13. Similarly, clinicians have used interviews to decide if some is suffering from mental illness or brain injury.
  14. 14. It has been shown repeatedly, however, that human judgment is subjective and fallible. Some of the factors that can influence the outcomes of human judgment include, stereotyping, personal bias, positive and negative halo effect, and errors of central tendency
  15. 15. Given that most decisions relating to professional psychol have significant implication for the person involved or the person who made decision, an error in making the decisio costly and devastating, and may not be reversible.
  16. 16. For example, an erroneous judgment about the mental competency person can lead to the rights of the person being wrongfully remove
  17. 17. As another example, a lot of time and money could be wa if the wrong person was hired for a job
  18. 18. Psychologists consider psychological tests better than per judgment in informing decision making in many situations because of the nature and defining characteristics of these
  19. 19. What is a psychological test?
  20. 20. This seems to be a difficult question to answer when one examines the plethora of published tests in the market and that they can differ in so many respects.
  21. 21. While some psychological tests take only a few minutes complete, others can take hours to administer.
  22. 22. For some psychological tests, a respondent is required to provide o simple yes/no answer, other tests are designed in such a way that a has to navigate and respond in a virtual reality environment.
  23. 23. Some psychological tests can be administered to hundreds of peop one time and scored and interpreted by a computer, but other tests face-to-face administration and individual scoring and interpretation require years of training and experience.
  24. 24. Despite the above wide-ranging differences, all psychological tests are considered to have one th common, that is, they are the tools that psycholog use to collect data about people
  25. 25. More specifically, a psychological test is an objective proc for sampling and quantifying human behaviour to make an inference about a particular psychological construct using standardize stimuli, and methods of administration and sc
  26. 26. In addition, to demonstrate its usefulness, a psychological requires appropriate norms and evidence
  27. 27. A psychological test is a sample of behavior that is used t make inferences about the individual in a significant socia context. The behavior sample may be considered comple itself or, as is more often the case, as a sign of an underly disposition that mediates behaviour.
  28. 28. Take, for example, a psychological test that is used to decide whethe individual will be able to understand instructional material to be used job training. The test for this purpose may consist of sample passage the daily newspaper. The test taker’s task is to read each of the pass and report their meanings. If comprehension of most of the passage accurate, the test taker can be judged to read well enough for the pu of the job. As long as the difficulty level of the passages approximate that of the instructional material, the test provides a basis for inferrin adequate performance in training.
  29. 29. In a clinical setting, a test may provide a sample of the behavior that the client find disturbing. For example, a client may suffer an irrational fear of an object that is n actually dangerous, such as harmless spiders. As a result of the fear, the client ca enter a darkened room or clean out cupboards because of the likelihood of confro a spider. To assess the magnitude of the irrational fear, the tester may ask the cli approach a harmless spider being held in a glass case. The distance from the spi that induces a report of anxiety is taken as an indication of the severity of the clie avoidance behaviour. This can be used to judge the effectiveness of any subseq planned intervention to reduce the problem. After the treatment the client should b to approach the spider more closely that before.
  30. 30. In both of these cases, the sample of behavior is complete in itself, it assesses directly what the tester wants to know; namely, compreh common passages of English text or avoiding an object of a phobia
  31. 31. The samples could be used, however, the basis for indirect inferences, by arguing that each in its own way reflect an underlying disposition that is responsible for the individual’s behavio Thus, the comprehension test might be used to infer the individual’s level of general mental ability or intelligence and the avoidance test may be used to infer the individual’s level of neuroticis that is, the likelihood that they will suffe an anxiety disorder. In these cases, the content of the particular sample is incidental and can be replaced by a different sample that is also thought for the test of verbal comprehension as a sign of general mental ability, or a se of questions about episodes of anxiety and depression may be substituted for the avoidance test as a sign of the individual’s level of neuroticism. Such substitution would make no sense if the tests were being used as a sample rather than a sigh.
  32. 32. The distinction between tests as samples of behavior or as sig underlying disposition rests on theoretical differences about th causes of human behavior. We draw attention to the distinction for two reasons. First, it is important for the tester to be aware whether any particular test is being used principally as a samp behavior or as a sign of an underlying disposition we say ‘princ ’ because the distinction when probed is not hard and fast
  33. 33. The other reason for making the distinction is that tests used in these two ways are interpreted differently. Where the test is a sample, interpretation of test performance is usually in terms of what has been called ‘criterion referencing’; where the test is used as a sign, what is termed a ‘norm referencing’ strategy is usually adopted.
  34. 34. In the case of former, what is effective behavior in the situation in qu can be specified reasonably objectively and the individual’s perform is judged against this standard or criterion.
  35. 35. Thus, a person might be expected to understand most, if not all, of what th read in a newspaper if they are to deal with instructional manuals on the jo person free of a spider phobia can be expected to come close to a harmle spider, but perhaps not touch it. In the case of norm referencing, on the ot hand, the performance of the individual is related to the performance of a of individuals similar to the test taker in important respects (e.g. gender, educational level and cultural background) How well or badly a person ha performed is thus assessed against what the average person can do, or w norm is. Many psychological tests are thought of as signs of underlying dispositions and as such are norm referenced.
  36. 36. The second characteristics of a psycholo test, similar to other scientific measurem instruments, is that it is an objective procedure. It uses the same standardize material administration instructions, time and scoring procedures for all test takers This ensures that there is no bias, uninte or otherwise, in collecting the information and that meaningful comparisons can be made between individuals who are administered the same psychological tes Unless two people are treated in the sam way (e.g. same instruction, same order o questions and same time limits), it is not possible to attribute any differences in th performance to differences between them The difference in performance could just well be due to the difference in the ways they were tested. To ensure uniformity o test stimuli and procedures, the manual accompanies a psychological test usuall includes detailed and clear instructions
  37. 37. The objective nature of psychological tests is one the main advanta they have over other methods for assisting us to understand human behavior and make decisions about it, not the least because it minim errors of judgment relating to personal bias or subjectivity.
  38. 38. Third, unlike subjective human judgment, the result of a psychologic is summarized quantitatively in terms of a score or scores. Again, th characteristic is similar to that of other scientific measurement instru that use numbers to represent the extent of variables such as weigh temperature and velocity.
  39. 39. The quantification of psychological test results allow human behavior to be described more precisely an be communicated more clearly. For example, the u an IQ score allows psychologists to provide a more fine-grained description of a person’s intellectual ab
  40. 40. Fourth, a psychological test provides an objective referenc point for evaluating the behavior it measures.
  41. 41. Criterion-Referenced Test In the case of a criterion-referenced test, a standard of performance is determined in advance by some empirical method, and the test taker’s performance is compared with this standard in determining whether the or fail. It may be, for example , the judgment of experts that determines the standard, but it is open to all to see what the standard is that is bein set. It is not the personal viewpoint of the person collecting the informa
  42. 42. Norm-Referenced Test In the same way, in a norm-referenced test the performance of a representative group of people on the test is used in preparing the t norms and these are used in scoring the test. The individual’s perfo is thus referred to that of the norming group, a reference point that i an individual’s judgment.
  43. 43. In both cases, the psychological te allows the comparison between th individual in question and some so of standard performance.
  44. 44. Fifth, possible the most important defining characteristics of a psychological test is that it must meet a number of criteria to be a us information-gathering device. The criteria relate to its quality as mea device; for example, how accurate and reproducible are the scores obtained with it how well does it measure what it intends to measure
  45. 45. Psychometric Properties These criteria are referred to as psychometric properties. They are evaluated in the course of test construction and again subsequently are reported or made available to test users. This is in fact a proces quality control to ensure that the test is operating in the way the auth claim it does. By showing that the psychometric properties of a psychological test have reached a required standard, we can have confidence in using the results obtained from the test.
  46. 46. Although it is important to know that psychological tests have a num advantages, it is also necessary to be aware of the limitations of tes knowing limitations can lead to an over-reliance on, or misunderstan the psychological test results obtained.
  47. 47. The first of these limitations, as mentioned earlier, is that psychological tests are o As such, they do not and cannot take decisions for test users. Decision making is responsibility of the person who commissioned the use of the test and to who the results are made available. the person may be the psychologist who administered but the two roles should not be confused. The test provides a way of gathering inf and , if well chosen, will provide accurate and pertinent information, but the use o information, including a bad decision, is in the hands of the decision maker. Not b aware of this limitation can lead the test user and the person involved to be depen the test results and accept them passively. Instead, psychological test results sho used as a source of data, along with other sources of data such as personal histo current circumstances, to assist the test user or the individual to arrive at or make informed decision.
  48. 48. Second, psychological tests are often used in an attempt to capture effects of hypothetical constructs. As in other scientific disciplines, psychology employs constructs that are not directly observable, rath their effects can only be inferred. As such, we need to be aware tha sometimes a gap exists between what the psychologist intends to m using a psychological test and what a test actually measures
  49. 49. For example, although IQ tests were developed to measure intellige we need to be aware that the value of these tests in telling us about person’s intelligence depends very much on our understanding of th construct of intelligence and the type(s) of behaviors included in any particular test. Not being aware of this issue can lead to the develop of unwarranted faith in psychological tests and total acceptance of t test results without being aware of their limitations.
  50. 50. Third, because of continual development or refinement of psychological theories, development of technology and passage of time, psychological tests can become obsolete. They may no longer be suitable for use because the theory that their co was based on has been shown to be wrong or because the content of the items is appropriate because of social or cultural change. In the early part of the twentieth century, for example, church attendance in Western countries was very much high is now and a reasonable level of Bible knowledge could be assumed. A test item draw on this fact. Although useful then it is might now be far too esoteric to be of m use today. According to the Australian Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association, tests should be revised or updated regularly and norm samples should be kept current.
  51. 51. Finally, although it may not be the intention of a test developer, som a psychological test can disadvantage a subgroup of test takers bec of their cultural experience or language background. A vocabulary te that usefully discriminates levels of verbal ability among children fro white, English-speaking, middle class homes may be of no use for t purpose with children with a different sub-cultural experience or thos do not have English as their first language. Test are not universally applicable and to treat them as such may do an injustice to some.
  52. 52. For better understanding you can produce your answe Q: What are some of the ways that psychological tests have been used to assist individuals in promoting understanding and making decisions? Q: What are the five defining characteristics of psychological test? Q: The advantages of a psychological test outweigh its limitations. Discuss. Q: Some questionnaires (e.g. Am I moody individual? H your marital relationship?) in popular magazines look lik but are not psychological tests, Why are they not.