Assumption 7: Testing and Assessment Benefit Society

Tests and measurements are benefiting us as a society. Testing can provide help with job placement, military recruits, and placing children in the wrong schools or programs. Without testing and measuring with job placement, individuals may be placed in the wrong department and the entire organization could potentially be at risk. Testing and assessment also benefits society within the military. Military recruits are to take the ASVAB test which shows their basic skills. They are also required to pass other tests if they wish to be in various occupations within the military. This is extremely beneficial to our society because it ensures our safety and security. Without this process, there would be no way to screen the recruits.

In order for testing and assessment to benefit society it must be a reliable and valid test (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). In a world without tests, children may be placed in higher or lower aptitudes based on the teacher’s bias. For example, children with learning disabilities or mental disorders may continue to be placed in the wrong school or class without the specific tests and assessments. If our society did not have tests, we would have individuals with serious mental conditions untreated. Testing and assessment benefits society in almost every way possible. I cannot imagine a world without testing.

 

Reference:

Cohen, R. J. & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological Testing and Asssessment: An Introduction to Tests and Measurement. (7th ed.). New York: Mc Graw Hill.

How do you define a “fair test?” How do you define a “biased test?” What can be done to eliminate unfair and biased test?

A fair test can be defined as a test in which all aspects are identical. A fair test takes into account what is being measured. There are no specific influences from culture, environments, or any outside factors, strictly statistical information. The questions must be identical and the test-takers must all be on the same level of intelligence. This ensures a fair test and that one person did not have an advantage of another based on their academic skill. A biased test is something completely opposite and typically will go in someone’s favor. This type of testing could lead the administrator to already have a biased opinion of the results based on the specific bias.

A biased test could have lots of distractions on lean more to one side. For example, in order for a test to be fair there are certain elements that need to be adhered by. A great example of a fair test is the test that is given to residents that are on the path for citizenship, this test must be in English only. This is to ensure fairness into passing the test and that everyone is on the same middle ground. One biased part to this test could be offering the test in different languages. This could dramatically skew the mean and the test could be deemed unreliable.

There are many things that can be done to ensure fair and unbiased testing. First, the measurements need to be the same and the questions also need to be identical. The test administrators also need to be aware of the testing subjects. It is imperative the test is more generic than specialized in order to get to the results without bias.

Describe two of the four methods of establishing reliability. How are these methods similar? How are they different?

One method is the test-retest method.  Test/retest administrations occur at two different times with the same test presented to the same group. This method tests the same thing at two different times. The book uses the ruler example; however another example would be giving a group of students a geography/history test at the beginning of a semester and then giving them the same test at the beginning of the next semester, the results should be somewhat similar (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Another method to establish reliability is alternate-forms or parallel-forms. Administrators will give a parallel test (second test) after they have administered the first test. This helps to check for errors amongst the test and deems it reliable or unreliable (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). The methods are similar because each one uses two tests. Each test has the initial test and a follow up or second test. Both methods are looking for the same type of measurements.  However, these two methods also differ because in alternate-forms/parallel-forms, the administrator and test are looking for the average or mean. With test-retest method, the administrators and tests are looking for the same answer as in the first test. Also with this method, there should not be many factors that can skew or differentiate the second test because it is the same method, just at a different place in time. For the alternate-forms/parallel-forms, there are several factors that can contribute for this second test to differ from the first (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).                            

 

 

Reference
Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurements (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

My NEO Personality Inventory

This report compares Julia from the country USA to other women between 21 and 40 years of age. (The name used in this report is either a nickname chosen by the person taking the test, or, if a valid nickname was not chosen, a random nickname generated by the program.)

This report estimates the individual’s level on each of the five broad personality domains of the Five-Factor Model. The description of each one of the five broad domains is followed by a more detailed description of personality according to the six subdomains that comprise each domain.

A note on terminology. Personality traits describe, relative to other people, the frequency or intensity of a person’s feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Possession of a trait is therefore a matter of degree. We might describe two individuals as extraverts, but still see one as more extraverted than the other. This report uses expressions such as “extravert” or “high in extraversion” to describe someone who is likely to be seen by others as relatively extraverted. The computer program that generates this report classifies you as low, average, or high in a trait according to whether your score is approximately in the lowest 30%, middle 40%, or highest 30% of scores obtained by people of your sex and roughly your age. Your numerical scores are reported and graphed as percentile estimates. For example, a score of “60” means that your level on that trait is estimated to be higher than 60% of persons of your sex and age.

Please keep in mind that “low,” “average,” and “high” scores on a personality test are neither absolutely good nor bad. A particular level on any trait will probably be neutral or irrelevant for a great many activities, be helpful for accomplishing some things, and detrimental for accomplishing other things. As with any personality inventory, scores and descriptions can only approximate an individual’s actual personality. High and low score descriptions are usually accurate, but average scores close to the low or high boundaries might misclassify you as only average. On each set of six subdomain scales it is somewhat uncommon but certainly possible to score high in some of the subdomains and low in the others. In such cases more attention should be paid to the subdomain scores than to the broad domain score. Questions about the accuracy of your results are best resolved by showing your report to people who know you well.

John A. Johnson wrote descriptions of the five domains and thirty subdomains. These descriptions are based on an extensive reading of the scientific literature on personality measurement.

Extraversion

Extraversion is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, are full of energy, and often experience positive emotions. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented, individuals who are likely to say “Yes!” or “Let’s go!” to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves.

Introverts lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extraverts. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and disengaged from the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; the introvert simply needs less stimulation than an extravert and prefers to be alone. The independence and reserve of the introvert is sometimes mistaken as unfriendliness or arrogance. In reality, an introvert who scores high on the agreeableness dimension will not seek others out but will be quite pleasant when approached.

Domain/Facet………… Score

EXTRAVERSION……………98

..Friendliness………….96

..Gregariousness………..97

..Assertiveness…………95

..Activity Level………..73

..Excitement-Seeking…….71

..Cheerfulness………….88

Your score on Extraversion is high, indicating you are sociable, outgoing, energetic, and lively. You prefer to be around people much of the time.

Extraversion Facets

  • Friendliness. Friendly people genuinely like other people and openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others. They make friends quickly and it is easy for them to form close, intimate relationships. Low scorers on Friendliness are not necessarily cold and hostile, but they do not reach out to others and are perceived as distant and reserved. Your level of friendliness is high.
  • Gregariousness. Gregarious people find the company of others pleasantly stimulating and rewarding. They enjoy the excitement of crowds. Low scorers tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. They do not necessarily dislike being with people sometimes, but their need for privacy and time to themselves is much greater than for individuals who score high on this scale. Your level of gregariousness is high.
  • Assertiveness. High scorers Assertiveness like to speak out, take charge, and direct the activities of others. They tend to be leaders in groups. Low scorers tend not to talk much and let others control the activities of groups. Your level of assertiveness is high.
  • Activity Level. Active individuals lead fast-paced, busy lives. They move about quickly, energetically, and vigorously, and they are involved in many activities. People who score low on this scale follow a slower and more leisurely, relaxed pace. Your activity level is high.
  • Excitement-Seeking. High scorers on this scale are easily bored without high levels of stimulation. They love bright lights and hustle and bustle. They are likely to take risks and seek thrills. Low scorers are overwhelmed by noise and commotion and are adverse to thrill-seeking. Your level of excitement-seeking is high.
  • Cheerfulness. This scale measures positive mood and feelings, not negative emotions (which are a part of the Neuroticism domain). Persons who score high on this scale typically experience a range of positive feelings, including happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and joy. Low scorers are not as prone to such energetic, high spirits. Your level of positive emotions is high.

Agreeableness

Agreeableness reflects individual differences in concern with cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are therefore considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others’. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others’ well-being, and therefore are unlikely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others’ motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. On the other hand, agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or absolute objective decisions. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics, or soldiers.

Domain/Facet………… Score

AGREEABLENESS…………..74

..Trust………………..90

..Morality……………..58

..Altruism……………..89

..Cooperation…………..54

..Modesty………………30

..Sympathy……………..67

Your high level of Agreeableness indicates a strong interest in others’ needs and well-being. You are pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative.

Agreeableness Facets

  • Trust. A person with high trust assumes that most people are fair, honest, and have good intentions. Persons low in trust see others as selfish, devious, and potentially dangerous. Your level of trust is high.
  • Morality. High scorers on this scale see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank, and sincere. Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People find it relatively easy to relate to the straightforward high-scorers on this scale. They generally find it more difficult to relate to the unstraightforward low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth. Your level of morality is average.
  • Altruism. Altruistic people find helping other people genuinely rewarding. Consequently, they are generally willing to assist those who are in need. Altruistic people find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfillment rather than self-sacrifice. Low scorers on this scale do not particularly like helping those in need. Requests for help feel like an imposition rather than an opportunity for self-fulfillment. Your level of altruism is high.
  • Cooperation. Individuals who score high on this scale dislike confrontations. They are perfectly willing to compromise or to deny their own needs in order to get along with others. Those who score low on this scale are more likely to intimidate others to get their way. Your level of compliance is average.
  • Modesty. High scorers on this scale do not like to claim that they are better than other people. In some cases this attitude may derive from low self-confidence or self-esteem. Nonetheless, some people with high self-esteem find immodesty unseemly. Those who are willing to describe themselves as superior tend to be seen as disagreeably arrogant by other people. Your level of modesty is low.
  • Sympathy. People who score high on this scale are tenderhearted and compassionate. They feel the pain of others vicariously and are easily moved to pity. Low scorers are not affected strongly by human suffering. They pride themselves on making objective judgments based on reason. They are more concerned with truth and impartial justice than with mercy. Your level of tender-mindedness is high.

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Impulses are not inherently bad; occasionally time constraints require a snap decision, and acting on our first impulse can be an effective response. Also, in times of play rather than work, acting spontaneously and impulsively can be fun. Impulsive individuals can be seen by others as colorful, fun-to-be-with, and zany.

Nonetheless, acting on impulse can lead to trouble in a number of ways. Some impulses are antisocial. Uncontrolled antisocial acts not only harm other members of society, but also can result in retribution toward the perpetrator of such impulsive acts. Another problem with impulsive acts is that they often produce immediate rewards but undesirable, long-term consequences. Examples include excessive socializing that leads to being fired from one’s job, hurling an insult that causes the breakup of an important relationship, or using pleasure-inducing drugs that eventually destroy one’s health.

Impulsive behavior, even when not seriously destructive, diminishes a person’s effectiveness in significant ways. Acting impulsively disallows contemplating alternative courses of action, some of which would have been wiser than the impulsive choice. Impulsivity also sidetracks people during projects that require organized sequences of steps or stages. Accomplishments of an impulsive person are therefore small, scattered, and inconsistent.

A hallmark of intelligence, what potentially separates human beings from earlier life forms, is the ability to think about future consequences before acting on an impulse. Intelligent activity involves contemplation of long-range goals, organizing and planning routes to these goals, and persisting toward one’s goals in the face of short-lived impulses to the contrary. The idea that intelligence involves impulse control is nicely captured by the term prudence, an alternative label for the Conscientiousness domain. Prudent means both wise and cautious. Persons who score high on the Conscientiousness scale are, in fact, perceived by others as intelligent.

The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics. Furthermore, extremely conscientious individuals might be regarded as stuffy and boring. Unconscientious people may be criticized for their unreliability, lack of ambition, and failure to stay within the lines, but they will experience many short-lived pleasures and they will never be called stuffy.

Domain/Facet………… Score

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS……….68

..Self-Efficacy…………89

..Orderliness…………..29

..Dutifulness…………..44

..Achievement-Striving…..89

..Self-Discipline……….84

..Cautiousness………….50

Your score on Conscientiousness is high. This means you set clear goals and pursue them with determination. People regard you as reliable and hard-working.

Conscientiousness Facets

  • Self-Efficacy. Self-Efficacy describes confidence in one’s ability to accomplish things. High scorers believe they have the intelligence (common sense), drive, and self-control necessary for achieving success. Low scorers do not feel effective, and may have a sense that they are not in control of their lives. Your level of self-efficacy is high.
  • Orderliness. Persons with high scores on orderliness are well-organized. They like to live according to routines and schedules. They keep lists and make plans. Low scorers tend to be disorganized and scattered. Your level of orderliness is low.
  • Dutifulness. This scale reflects the strength of a person’s sense of duty and obligation. Those who score high on this scale have a strong sense of moral obligation. Low scorers find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining. They are likely to be seen as unreliable or even irresponsible. Your level of dutifulness is average.
  • Achievement-Striving. Individuals who score high on this scale strive hard to achieve excellence. Their drive to be recognized as successful keeps them on track toward their lofty goals. They often have a strong sense of direction in life, but extremely high scores may be too single-minded and obsessed with their work. Low scorers are content to get by with a minimal amount of work, and might be seen by others as lazy. Your level of achievement striving is high.
  • Self-Discipline. Self-discipline-what many people call will-power-refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks-even tasks they want very much to complete. Your level of self-discipline is high.
  • Cautiousness. Cautiousness describes the disposition to think through possibilities before acting. High scorers on the Cautiousness scale take their time when making decisions. Low scorers often say or do first thing that comes to mind without deliberating alternatives and the probable consequences of those alternatives. Your level of cautiousness is average.

Neuroticism

Freud originally used the term neurosis to describe a condition marked by mental distress, emotional suffering, and an inability to cope effectively with the normal demands of life. He suggested that everyone shows some signs of neurosis, but that we differ in our degree of suffering and our specific symptoms of distress. Today neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative feelings. Those who score high on Neuroticism may experience primarily one specific negative feeling such as anxiety, anger, or depression, but are likely to experience several of these emotions. People high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive. They respond emotionally to events that would not affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic’s ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings; frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain.

Domain/Facet………… Score

NEUROTICISM…………….22

..Anxiety………………49

..Anger………………..13

..Depression……………12

..Self-Consciousness…….8

..Immoderation………….62

..Vulnerability…………53

Your score on Neuroticism is low, indicating that you are exceptionally calm, composed and unflappable. You do not react with intense emotions, even to situations that most people would describe as stressful.

Neuroticism Facets

  • Anxiety. The “fight-or-flight” system of the brain of anxious individuals is too easily and too often engaged. Therefore, people who are high in anxiety often feel like something dangerous is about to happen. They may be afraid of specific situations or be just generally fearful. They feel tense, jittery, and nervous. Persons low in Anxiety are generally calm and fearless. Your level of anxiety is average.
  • Anger. Persons who score high in Anger feel enraged when things do not go their way. They are sensitive about being treated fairly and feel resentful and bitter when they feel they are being cheated. This scale measures the tendency to feel angry; whether or not the person expresses annoyance and hostility depends on the individual’s level on Agreeableness. Low scorers do not get angry often or easily. Your level of anger is low.
  • Depression. This scale measures the tendency to feel sad, dejected, and discouraged. High scorers lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. Low scorers tend to be free from these depressive feelings. Your level of depression is low.
  • Self-Consciousness. Self-conscious individuals are sensitive about what others think of them. Their concern about rejection and ridicule cause them to feel shy and uncomfortable abound others. They are easily embarrassed and often feel ashamed. Their fears that others will criticize or make fun of them are exaggerated and unrealistic, but their awkwardness and discomfort may make these fears a self-fulfilling prophecy. Low scorers, in contrast, do not suffer from the mistaken impression that everyone is watching and judging them. They do not feel nervous in social situations. Your level or self-consciousness is low.
  • Immoderation. Immoderate individuals feel strong cravings and urges that they have difficulty resisting. They tend to be oriented toward short-term pleasures and rewards rather than long- term consequences. Low scorers do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find themselves tempted to overindulge. Your level of immoderation is average.
  • Vulnerability. High scorers on Vulnerability experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress. Low scorers feel more poised, confident, and clear-thinking when stressed. Your level of vulnerability is average.

Openness to Experience

Openness to Experience describes a dimension of cognitive style that distinguishes imaginative, creative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. Open people are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more aware of their feelings. They tend to think and act in individualistic and nonconforming ways. Intellectuals typically score high on Openness to Experience; consequently, this factor has also been called Culture or Intellect. Nonetheless, Intellect is probably best regarded as one aspect of openness to experience. Scores on Openness to Experience are only modestly related to years of education and scores on standard intelligent tests.

Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience. Depending on the individual’s specific intellectual abilities, this symbolic cognition may take the form of mathematical, logical, or geometric thinking, artistic and metaphorical use of language, music composition or performance, or one of the many visual or performing arts. People with low scores on openness to experience tend to have narrow, common interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.

Openness is often presented as healthier or more mature by psychologists, who are often themselves open to experience. However, open and closed styles of thinking are useful in different environments. The intellectual style of the open person may serve a professor well, but research has shown that closed thinking is related to superior job performance in police work, sales, and a number of service occupations.

Domain/Facet………… Score

OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE…..63

..Imagination…………..74

..Artistic Interests…….39

..Emotionality………….70

..Adventurousness……….80

..Intellect…………….27

..Liberalism……………59

Your score on Openness to Experience is average, indicating you enjoy tradition but are willing to try new things. Your thinking is neither simple nor complex. To others you appear to be a well-educated person but not an intellectual.

Openness Facets

  • Imagination. To imaginative individuals, the real world is often too plain and ordinary. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world. Low scorers are on this scale are more oriented to facts than fantasy. Your level of imagination is high.
  • Artistic Interests. High scorers on this scale love beauty, both in art and in nature. They become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. They are not necessarily artistically trained nor talented, although many will be. The defining features of this scale are interest in, and appreciation ofnatural and artificial beauty. Low scorers lack aesthetic sensitivity and interest in the arts. Your level of artistic interests is average.
  • Emotionality. Persons high on Emotionality have good access to and awareness of their own feelings. Low scorers are less aware of their feelings and tend not to express their emotions openly. Your level of emotionality is high.
  • Adventurousness. High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Your level of adventurousness is high.
  • Intellect. Intellect and artistic interests are the two most important, central aspects of openness to experience. High scorers on Intellect love to play with ideas. They are open-minded to new and unusual ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. They enjoy riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers. Low scorers on Intellect prefer dealing with either people or things rather than ideas. They regard intellectual exercises as a waste of time. Intellect should not be equated with intelligence. Intellect is an intellectual style, not an intellectual ability, although high scorers on Intellect score slightly higher than low-Intellect individuals on standardized intelligence tests. Your level of intellect is low.

Liberalism. Psychological liberalism refers to a readiness to challenge authority, convention, and traditional values. In its most extreme form, psychological liberalism can even represent outright hostility toward rules, sympathy for law-breakers, and love of ambiguity, chaos, and disorder. Psychological conservatives prefer the security and stability brought by conformity to tradition. Psychological liberalism and conservatism are not identical to political affiliation, but certainly incline individuals toward certain political parties. Your level of liberalism is average

Intro to Personality Theories

Basic Notes and Points in Personality Theories

  • Lay Theories vs. scientific theories
  • Scientific theories all have a hypothesis, testable, falsifiable.
  • Systematic, practical, comprehensive, application, replicate results
  • Lay: Anecdotal evidence, blanket statement, own experience, stereo type
  • Consistent pattern of behavior
  • Psychological viewpoint: different theoretical beliefs, behave, think, feel. Research and theories to back it up along with traits and characteristics,
  • Conversational Viewpoint: Value judgment, subjective, surface perceptions, no facts or study more of an opinion.
  • Behavior is more consistent than not. Best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. More likely to repeat previous behaviors.
  • Personality Characteristics tend to be more consistent than not consistent over time
  • Goals for personality theorists: Observation is that is scientific, theory that is systematic, theory that is testable, theory that is comprehensive. Applications: from theory to practice.
  • Defining Personality: Personality addresses three issues that are difficult to reconcile: Human universals, individual’s differences, and individual uniqueness. Behave, think, and feel.
  • Enduring- consistent across time. Distinctive- features that differentiate people from one another. Contribute to- factors that casually influence and thus at least partly explain, an individual’s tendencies. Feeling, thinking, and behaving- all aspects of persons.  (What causes problems??)
    • STRUCTURE vs. PROCESS
      • STRUCTURE:
        • Stable enduring aspects of personality
        • Qualities that endure from day to day and from year to year
        • The building blocks of personality theory
        • Comparable to concepts such as atoms and molecules in physics.
        • Units of analysis: different theories use different units of analysis to analyze personality structure.
        • Popular units of analysis: Traits/ Types
        • Hierarchy- certain parts are influenced by other parts
      • Growth and Development
        • Genetic determinants
        • Genetic factors contribute strongly to personality and individual differences.
        • Scientific advances enable the personality psychologist to pinpoint specific paths of influence.
        • “Temperament”
        • Culture, social class, family, and peers. (environmental determinants)
      • Internal and External Determinants of behavior
        • Theories differ in the level of Importance given you internal and external determinants
        • Virtually all personality psychologists today acknowledge that is necessary tot consider both external and internal of human action.
        • Skinner- External
        • Freud- internal
        • Each theory will have its own relationship with the awareness of unconsciousness and their own influence of the past, present, and future on behavior.

 

Reference:

PSYCH/504 Class Notes 11/2012 ; University of Phoenix

History of Psychological Assessment

Different historical events on the development of psychological testing have impacted the field of psychology. Each event has had its individual impact to the area of psychological testing. With these findings and impacts, we are now able to evaluate test results using normal distribution and are able to classify data using diverse scales of measurement. Key events have developed the field such as the development of the MMPI and alpha and beta testing. The development and creation of Wundt’s laboratory was one of the most significant events in psychological testing and in the field.

Wilhelm Wundt created the first laboratory created for the use of psychology. When Wundt was a student, he wanted to know and study the human mind. Many of his theories and works were created while he was a student. This was the start to one of the greatest contributions. His background was in physiology and believed that our consciousness could be broken down without sacrificing anything (Boring, 1929). Many of his theories and works were created while he was a student. Wundt wanted to separate psychology from physiology and was able to have an emphasis on measurement and control of the mind. He analyzed the mind and its workings in a way that was more structured (McLeod, 2008).

The Institute for Experimental Psychology was opened in 1879 at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Wundt dedicated this solely to the study of psychology (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). The laboratory was offered to philosophy and psychology German students and all others student second. Most of the laboratories that were created after Wundt have followed the same model. Wundt founded the voluntarism school of psychology and his goals were to record senses and feelings and then analyze them (McLeod, 2008).  He also focused on images, feelings, thoughts and mental functions. One of his studies was based on the reaction times and sensory processes and responsiveness. He purposely set out to create a new science and has since been called the Father of Psychology (McLeod, 2008).  According to a History of Experimental Psychology, “The mind is a creative, dynamic, and volitional force that must be understood through an analysis of its activity in which it processes” (Boring, 1929. p7).  This is what Wundt believed and it helped him create the laboratory.

The creation of the laboratory changed the field forever because it was a recognized lab that the mind was studied. For so many years, many believed that it was a folk-science or mythological. For Wundt to create this lab, meant that psychology was going in the right direction towards becoming a recognized and trustworthy science. His research included many studies in which introspection was used to see how the stimulus made someone think or feel (Blumenthal & Rieber, 1980).

The lab made such a significant impact on the development of psychological testing because many followed in Wundt’s footsteps.  Many followed how he carefully controlled conditions. Eventually, behaviorists followed the same experimental approach as they saw that Wundt was going somewhere. With Wundt creating the lab, he has contributed to the study of experimental psychology and the studies of perceptual processes (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).   The beginning of scientific psychology started with this lab, and accelerated the used of psychology. Some professionals and researchers believe that we are able to test results using the normal distribution and classify data using the scales of measurement because of the lab. Many are unsure if we would be using standard deviation, t-scores, z-scores, and correlations if it were not for Wundt and his laboratory (Serge & Ludovic, August, 1999).

According to the Journal, American Psychologist, “Wundt’s lab and research stimulated interest in the 21st century to study cognitive psychology” (Corwin, 1968, p. 456). Not only did the lab provide the scientific nature the field needed but caused a ripple effect within experimental and cognitive psychology. The Institute for Experimental Psychology has had a significant impact on the field in which the date it was opened is now considered the founding day of psychology. Diverse historical proceedings on the development of psychological testing have impacted the field of psychology. Each event has had its distinct impact to the area of psychological testing. With these findings and impacts, we are now able to evaluate test results using normal distribution and are able to classify data using diverse scales of measurement. The development and creation of Wundt’s laboratory was one of the most significant events in psychological testing and within psychological assessment  (Serge & Ludovic,1999).

References

Blumenthal, A., & Rieber, R. W. (1980). Wilhelm Wundt and the Making of a Scientific Psychology. New York, NY: Columbia Univesity.

Boring, E. (1929). A History of Experimental Psychology. New York, NY: The Century Company.

Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological Testing and Assessment: An Introduction to Tests and Measurement (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Company.

Corwin, B. A. (1968). International Psychological Decade. American Psychologist, 23(6), 456-457. doi:10.1037/h0020801

McLeod, S. A. (2008). Wilhelm Wundt- Father of Psychology. Simply Psychology, 1(1), 1-2.

Serge, N., & Ludovic, F. (August, 1999). Wundt’s laboratory at Leipzig in 1891. History of Psychology, 2(3), 194-203. doi:10.1037/1093-4510.2.3.194

“Are we saying that traits develop over time, or we are born with them?”

This is such a great question that I am sure many have asked. I think that it’s a little bit of both. We are predisposed to our genetics to a certain rate. We also develop socially and culturally through time. I believe that your environment, genetics, biology, social norms, and cultures all are factors to look at. I think each area contributes a certain amount to the overall picture of our traits and personalities. I think that our children are perfect examples to see how they are predisposed to some of our behaviors, but depending on their environments, these traits can change. For example, let’s look at a family that has many addicts including parents and grandparents. The sisters were predisposed to have addictive personalities. One of the sisters was around it and became addicted to things like caffeine, junk food and shopping but no substance abuse. She lives in a health environment and still has the addictive personality. However, she notices it now and is working hard to stop it. Fascinating how some of our traits are en-grained in us and other learned and developed over time.