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Personality Assessment

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  1. Personality Assessment • Personality Definition: an individual’s unique constellation of psychological states and traits • Traits: Guilford (1959), “An distinguishable, relatively enduring way in which one individual varies from another.” • States: transitory exhibition of some personality trait • Types:constellation of traits & states that is similar in pattern to one identified category of personality taxonomy, e.g., Type A, personality profiles

  2. Basic Characteristics of Personality Assessment Methods • Personality v. IQ & Achievement tests • Typical v. maximum performance tests • Stability of constructs of interest • Degree of inference in assessment methods • Behavioral v. “traditional” v. projective • Interpretation approaches • Clinical v. actuarial

  3. Methods of Developing Assessment Methods • Logic/Reason • Face validity, content-oriented approach • E.g., DSM questionnaires • Theory • Questions reflect theory about personality & human behavior • E.g., Self-Directed Search, EPPS

  4. Methods of Developing Assessment Methods (cont.) • Data Reduction methods • Factor analysis to place items to scales • E.g., Cattell & 16PF, Children’s Personality Questionnaire, NEO PI-R (Big 5, Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness) • Empirical Criterion Keying • Can items/scales distinguish among groups? • E.g., MMPI

  5. MMPI Overview • Psychiatric patients v. visitors • 567 true-false items • 10 clinical scales that could differentiate the groups • “validity” scales • Several “research”/content scales developed over the years

  6. MMPA-2 • Items rewritten • Eliminated “objectionable” wording • Added items • Drug abuse, Type A, attitudes toward work • 3 new validity scales • New content scales, clinical scales the same • Larger & more representative normative sample

  7. Projective Assessment • Psychodynamic origination • Projective hypothesis • When confronted with ambiguous stimuli subjects will create structure which reveals information about their personalities, needs, drives, etc.

  8. Projectives (cont.) • Defining characteristics • Lack of stimulus structure • Multiplicity of responses permitted • Absence of right or wrong answers • Assumptions • Because they are ambiguous, they elicit more meaningful information; • They are less susceptible to faking • Reveal more unconscious aspects of personality

  9. Examples of projectives • Rorschach • 10 ink blots • Exner comprehensive scoring system • Free association and inquiry phases • What are characteristics of response? • E.g., location, popular responses, perseveration

  10. Storytelling/Apperception tests • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) • Murray’s Needs-Press theory • What’s happening in the picture? What events led up to the scene? What will happen next? What are the people’s thoughts, feelings, etc. • Hero, Needs, press, outcomes, themes • Children’s Apperception Test, Robert’s Apperception Test • Modifications for individuals of differing ethnic backgrouns

  11. Projective drawings • Overall appraisal + “sign” approach • Draw a Person • House-Tree-Person • Kinetic Family Drawing

  12. Evaluation of Projectives • Are they tests? • Can they be held to psychometric standards? • Assumptions have not really held up. • Can be influenced by situational variables. Stimuli not as ambiguous as assumed. • Psychometrics not been demonstrated despite years of study.