Introduction to Psychological Testing

September 12th, 2011

Introduction to Psychological Testing Paper

In psychology, tests and measurements are extremely important. In psychology, tests must be deigned to be valid and reliable. In order for a test or measurement to be accurate, one must specifying the problem, observe the event, form a hypothesis and test the theory and or hypothesis. Afterwards, one must formulate his or her theory and then test the theory that which created. In order to do so, the psychologist must determine the why and what behind the test (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2006). In order to understand this method, one must define the word “test” in a more definitive way versus what all individuals consider to be the meaning. Test can be defined as a way to measure reliability, performance, and or quality prior to put the idea into practice or releasing the specifics mainstream (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2006 p.40).

There are several different types of tests for many different reasons. However, in psychology, the tests are in many different categories and are used in countless ways. According to the book, Psychological Testing. A Practical Introduction,  there are five major categories of testing. Mental ability, achievement, personality, interests and attitudes, and neuropsychological tests (Hogan, 2007).  Mental ability tests can measure one’s cognitive abilities in all ways. An example of a mental ability test is the SAT test that students take to test his or her accomplishments for college life (Hogan, 2007).  Most state and similar standardized tests would be considered part of this category.

Achievement tests are geared toward a specific topic or area in which one has a particular skill set. Examples of an achievement test range anywhere from a drivers license test to a real estate agent obtaining his or her license to sell homes. Personality tests are typically tests that are not as valid or reliable depending on the test. Most people are familiar with the DISC assessment and the Myers Briggs approach.  Personality tests can be objective depending on the mood one is in when he or she takes the test. These tests are used to find if one has depression, how well he or she works with others, how one can perceive to be under stress, and or what type he or she is.

When taking or developing a test, one must determine if the test being measured or administered is reliable and or can be valid. When creating a test, many conduct case studies in which they cannot assume that his or her findings can appear or relate to all subjects. For example, testing 30 people of the same gender and race and applying that result to an entire county. This would be unreliable and not valid. Some tests can help provide an in-depth understanding of a certain measurement and or situation. These advantages and disadvantages are used for research to develop the next set of testing.

In regards to being reliable and valid, many people say that they do not believe personality tests because the state of mind he or she was in when they decided to take the test. A reason people can feel this way is the state of emotion of when the test was taken. For example, one could take the DISC assessment which many employers use, on a stressful day. His or her results could show that they are a dominant personality, on a more relaxed day, he or she could result in the complete opposite of being intuitive and compliant. This is just one perfect example of how important reliability and validity are in the field of psychology.

Not all data can be considered reliable, but at least it is consistent. If one has a reliable set of measurements, the test can be repeated. Validity on the other hand means that the measurement is legitimate and it can provide  what it is suppose to be providing.  The concepts of reliability and validity are constantly affecting the field of psychology. Different types of testing that can be used in the field are anything from single subject, group administered, attitude and personality scales. Certain tests that can be used in the field are achievement, mental ability, attitude and personality, and neuropsychological tests. Techniques of scientific research are constantly being revamped and the field of psychology is ever evolving (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2006).


Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological Testing. A Practical Introduction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Kosslyn, S. M., & Rosenberg, R. (2006). Psychology in Context (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Peasron Education Inc.


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