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Psychological Assessment Projective Personality Tests Projective Tests: Essential Features Individuals must impose their own structure which is meaningful Stimulus material is unstructured Indirect (disguised) method Freedom of response Interpretation is broad Projective Tests

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psychological assessment

Psychological Assessment

Projective Personality Tests

projective tests essential features
Projective Tests: Essential Features
  • Individuals must impose their own structure which is meaningful
  • Stimulus material is unstructured
  • Indirect (disguised) method
  • Freedom of response
  • Interpretation is broad
projective tests
Projective Tests
  • Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • Thematic Apperception Test
rorschach inkblot test
Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922)
  • Nicknamed “Kleck” or inkblot
  • Talented art student who decided to study science
  • Dream convinced him of relationship between perception and unconscious
  • 1921 published Psychodiagnostik
  • Died in 1922




rorschach historical
Rorschach: Historical

5 Scoring Systems

  • Adopted by 5 American psychologists with very different theoretical backgrounds
  • Shared common features (same blots were used, response phase followed by inquiry)
  • 5 different systems of administration, scoring and interpretation emerged
  • Two most popular (Beck, Klopf)
rorschach validity and reliability
Rorschach: Validity and Reliability

Poor psychometric reputation:

  • Lack of standardized rules for administration and scoring
  • Poor inter-rater reliability
  • Lack of adequate norms
  • Unknown or weak validity
rorschach contemporary use
Rorschach: Contemporary Use
  • John Exner
  • Established Rorschach Research Foundation in 1986
  • Integrated five scoring and interpretation systems
  • Established empirical support for new system
  • Provide a center for training
contemporary use administration
Association Phase

What might this be?

Present all the cards

Record response verbatim

Note location of response

Inquiry Phase

I want you to help me see what you saw. I’m going to read what you said, and then I want you to show me where on the blot you saw it and what there is there that makes it look like that so that I can see it too. I’d like to see it just like you did, so help me now.

Contemporary Use: Administration
rorschach inkblot test12
Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • A psychometrically sound test?
  • An in-class exercise
contemporary use scoring
Contemporary Use: Scoring

Exner scoring system: The Structural Summary


  • Location (W, D, Dd)
  • Use of white space (S)


  • Form (good, poor, bad quality)
  • Movement (active and passive)
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Shading
rorschach inkblot test16
Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • A psychometrically sound test?
  • Particularly useful in assessing thought processes
thematic apperception test tat
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • Developed by Henry Murray and colleagues at Harvard Psychological Clinic
  • 31 TAT cards depicting people in a variety of ambiguous situations (one blank card)
  • Examinee is asked to create a story about each picture
tat administration
TAT: Administration
  • Now I want you to make up a story about each of these pictures. Tell me who the people are, what they are doing, what they are thinking or feeling, what led up to the scene, and how it will turn out.
tat scoring interpretation
TAT: Scoring/Interpretation
  • Content analysis of themes that emerge from the stories
tat psychometric critique
TAT: Psychometric Critique
  • Selection of cards is not standardized
  • Lack of norms
  • Clinicians rely on qualitative impressions
thematic apperception test
Thematic Apperception Test

Used to assess:

  • Locus of problems
  • Nature of needs
  • Quality of interpersonal relationships
psychological assessment cont

Psychological Assessment cont.

Objective Personality Testing

what is personality
What is Personality?
    • characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling,and acting
    • emerges in informal, familiar situations in which we feel unconstrained
  • principle of aggregation –
    • personality is the sum of the best descriptors and predictors of our actions over time in a number of situations
objective personality tests
Objective Personality Tests

Material Covered

  • 4 major approaches to test construction
  • Examples of test based on first three test construction procedures
  • Use of personality tests in modern clinical practice
characteristics objective personality tests
Characteristics Objective Personality Tests
  • Standard set of questions
    • Standardization as a concept: given to large #'s of people--yield norms to which an individual's scores can be compared
    • Norms are defined as a set of scores from a large group of people who have completed the measure.
  • Fixed response options
objective personality tests advantages
Objective Personality Tests: Advantages
  • Individual or groups (economical)
  • Administration is simple/objective
  • Scoring is simple/objective
  • Interpretation of results requires less interpretative skill than projective tests
  • Apparent increased objectivity and reliability
objective personality tests disadvantages
Objective Personality Tests: Disadvantages
  • Items limited to behavior
  • Single overall score
  • Transparent meaning of items
  • Forced choice approach
test construction approaches
Test Construction Approaches
  • Logical or content validation
  • Empirical Criterion Keying (MMPI)
  • Factor Analysis (NEO Personality Inventory)
  • Construct Validity (Combines all of the above)
approaches to test construction content validation
Approaches to Test Construction: Content Validation
  • Defining all aspects of the construct
  • Consulting experts about the constructs
  • Having expert judges assess each potential item
  • Perform psychometric analyses of items
content validation an example
Content Validation: An Example

Goal: Construct a test designed to measure attitudes toward school

Answer true or false

  • I enjoy getting up in the morning for school
  • I like my teacher(s)
  • I enjoy seeing my friends at school
  • I enjoy the subjects I learn about at school
content validation advantages and disadvantages

Face validity with test takers


Easy to fake good or bad

Content Validation: Advantages and Disadvantages
content validation the mooney problem checklist
Content Validation: The Mooney Problem Checklist

Assesses emotional functioning in the following areas:

  • Home and family
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Courtship and marriage
  • Morals an religion
  • School/occupation
  • Economic security
  • social skills and recreation
  • Health and physical development
approaches to test construction empirical keying
Approaches to Test Construction: Empirical Keying
  • Create test items to measure one or more traits
  • Administer test items to a “criterion” and “control” group
  • Select items that distinguish between these two groups
  • Content of the item is not considered important
empirical keying minnesota multiphasic inventory mmpi
Empirical Keying: Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory (MMPI)
  • Developed in 1930’s
  • Starke Hathaway Ph.D. & J. Charnley McKinley, MD.
  • Needed test to identify diagnosis
  • Developed an item pool
  • Identified a group of patients and nonpatients
  • Resulting scale of 550 items (true/false/cannot say)
mmpi validity scales
MMPI: Validity Scales

? (Cannot say)

  • Unanswered items

L (Lie)

  • Faking good

F (Infrequency)

  • Faking bad

K (Defensiveness)

  • Defensiveness in admitting to problems
interpreting mmpi
Interpreting MMPI
  • Validity Scales
  • Single scales
  • Profile analysis
mmpi shortcomings
MMPI: Shortcomings
  • Unrepresentative normative sample
  • Language of items was outdated (including sexist language)
  • Inadequately addressed difficulties such as suicide or drug use
mmpi revision
MMPI: Revision
  • Assembled team of MMPI experts
  • Rewrote some items
  • Added new items
  • Administered new item pool (n=704) to a standardization sample (representative)
  • Retained 567 items from the item pool
continued problems
Continued problems
  • failure of some items to reliably discriminate between groups
  • dimensions based on pre-conceived theory about structure of personality,
  • scales correlate highly and thus provide redundant information
  • they are highly influenced by state at the time of taking, and the test and re-test stability may therefore be lower than desired (a problem for many/most trait measures)
mmpi 2 content scales




Health Concerns

Bizarre Thoughts



Antisocial Practices

Type A

Low Self-Esteem

Social Discomfort

Family Problems

Work Interference

Negative Treatment Indicators

MMPI-2 Content Scales
Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI):
  • more useful than the MMPI-2 for diagnosis
  • The purpose of the MCMI is to help the clinician make a diagnosis of personality disorder.
    • These disorders are pervasive and stable patterns of maladaptive behavior that are deeply ingrained and influence the individual's thinking, feeling, and acting in a wide range of situations.
  • The MCMI is primarily used for clinical populations; it is not intended for normal subjects.
approaches to test construction factor analysis internal consistency
Approaches to Test Construction: Factor Analysis (Internal Consistency)
  • Correlational technique used to determine whether a group of items are correlated with one another
revised neo personality inventory neo pi r
Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)
  • Based on five factor model of personality (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness)
  • Name derived from initials of the first three traits
  • Assesses all five traits
  • Emphasizes assessment of normal personality style rather than psychopathology
  • Parallel forms
The Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP)
  • a factor-analytically derived instrument designed to assess traits important in personality disorders
  • 15 scales:
    • 12 trait scales assess specific or primary traits and
    • 3 temperament scales measure more general affective traits.
  • 5 validity scales plus an overall validity index
  • items to assess the personality disorder criteria in the DSM
  • follows the three-factor model of personality
    • Neuroticism/Negative Emotionality, Extraversion/Positive Emotionality, and Disinhibition vs. Constraint.
approaches to test construction construct validity
Approaches to Test Construction: Construct Validity
  • Combines aspects of content validity, empirical criterion keying and factor analytic approaches in developing assessment devises (Clark and Watson, 1995)
the place of personality assessment in contemporary clinical psychology
The Place of Personality Assessment in Contemporary Clinical Psychology


Why do we use these tests?

psychological assessment purpose textbook response
Psychological Assessment: Purpose (Textbook Response)
  • Classification (diagnosis)
  • Description
  • Prediction
  • Results from psychological testing assists in making a diagnosis
  • Critics of psych testing- tests are not reliable or valid diagnostic instruments
  • Defenders: test information is used in conjunction with other clinical data

Testing provides a time efficient means of developing a broader understanding of the patient.

Dependent Depressed Client

Narcissistic Depressed



Test findings can be used to make predictions about behavior

  • Whether client will benefit from psychotherapy
  • What type of psychotherapy would be best
  • Suicidal risk
  • Risk for violence
the place of personality assessment in contemporary clinical psychology55
The Place of Personality Assessment in Contemporary Clinical Psychology


Why do we use these tests?

psychological assessment purpose typical referral question
Psychological Assessment: Purpose: Typical Referral Question
  • Please evaluate for organic brain damage (patient has history of polysubstance abuse) and evaluate for psychotic thinking
tests administered
Evidence of Organic Damage

Weschler Memory Scale

Trail Making Test

Rey-Osterieth Complex Figure Test

Benton Test of Visual Memory

Evidence of Psychotic Thought



Beck Depression Inventory

Tests Administered
interpretation of results
Interpretation of Results
  • Normal performance on tests of memory, concentration and attention
  • Personality testing suggested the primary etiological role of emotional turmoil.
  • Presence of both acute distress and chronic characterological problems.
  • Acute distress: severe depression and a risk for suicide
  • Reality testing in the normal range
  • Significant ego regression when faced with affective arousal was noted.
projective and objective personality tests incremental validity
Projective and Objective Personality Tests: Incremental Validity
  • Degree to which assessment increases prediction based on base rates (prevalence) or other sources
incremental validity current findings
Incremental Validity: Current Findings
  • Tentative support for the incremental validity of the MMPI-2 scales in prediction of personality disorder, aggression, and differentiation between depressed patients and substance abuse patients
  • NEO-PI-R: personality disorder, maternal responsiveness to infants and violence
  • Rorschach: thought disorder but not other scores
  • TAT: not adequately investigated
objective tests summary
Objective Tests: Summary

Material Covered

  • 4 major approaches to test construction
  • Examples of test based on first three test construction procedures
  • Use of personality tests in modern clinical practice