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Morphological assessments: From the head to the body

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  1. Morphological assessments: From the head to the body • Phrenology (Gall, early 1800s) – skull shape = personality • Sheldon’s body types (1950) • Based on photographs of all incoming freshmen at Ivy league schools in the 1930s • Endomorph – jolly/happy, lazy • Mesomorph – dominant, athletic • Ectomorph – smart, shy • Body type and criminality (Lombroso)

  2. Current Assessment Clinical settings: • Psychodynamic methods: word association, TAT, Rorschach, etc. • MMPI - developed in 1940 using an empirical approach, revised in 1989 (MMPI-2) and has 567 T/F items • Most widely used inventory in clinical settings • items generally lack face validity (not obvious) • validity scales (lie, defensiveness, infrequency) • Assesses m/f, Si, Hs, Pa, etc. (psychopathology= personality)

  3. Assessment - continued Non-clinical settings • NEO-PI – developed for use in the non-clinical population • Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to new experience, Agreeableness, & Conscientiousness • What does it mean to be neurotic? • Consequences of having internal control beliefs on health and happiness (old age home studies)

  4. Intelligence - what is it? • Cognitive abilities such as memory, vocabulary, reasoning, general knowledge, speed of responding, etc. • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III) • Verbal and Performance IQ • Mean IQ = 100, SD = 15 • Like all IQ measures, it is considered to be culturally biased (no such thing as a culture free test)

  5. Alternatives to traditional intelligence • Gould: Intelligence does not = IQ; does not reflect innate skills, nor is intelligence unchangeable (video) • Broader definitions of intelligence: Gardner’s multiple intelligences (e.g.., abilities in music, art, language, social skills, coordination, etc.) • Creativity - a way to assess alternative forms of intelligence (flexibility in how one thinks about a problem- allows for novel responses and divergent thinking – example items for the consequences test)

  6. Stunted intellectual development Associated with several developmental disorders including • Autism: extremely low IQ, minimal verbalizations, isolative, repetitious (rocking) and sometimes self-damaging (head banging) behavior (Overall: 1 in 10,000) • More common in males, but females are more severe cases Savant syndrome • Very rare (only 1% of all autistic individuals: Overall: 1 in a million) • An extraordinary ability (either in absolute or relative to daily functioning), severe cognitive deficits, over attention Stimulus over-selectivity – over attention to only one aspect of a stimulus (can explain both autism and savant syndrome)

  7. Biases and heuristics in judgment • General rules we apply in reasoning to be efficient (can result in erroneous conclusions when improperly applied) • What percentage of crimes are considered violent crimes? • The availability heuristic • Who is most likely to be a quiet individual who likes classical music and cognac? The chair of the UNC music dept or a taxi driver? • The representative heuristic (ignores base rates) • What is your chance of getting AIDS in the next two years? What is the chance of someone of the same age/gender as you getting AIDS in the next 2 years? • Overconfidence bias

  8. Biases and heuristics in judgment – cont. • What are the next three numbers (2,4,6, _,_,_)? • Confirmation bias • The odds of winning at black jack are 50%. Assuming you have just lost 10 hands in a row, what are your odds of winning the next one? • Gambler’s fallacy (luck will change) – in reality, these are random and unrelated events. Luck doesn’t change. • All-star team vs. a regular team, who should win? • Fallacy of composition (the whole is = sum of its parts) • Buying beef with 25% fat or 75% fat free? • Framing effects – context provides information that results in different conclusions