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Personality trait

Refers to differences among individuals in a typical tendency to behave, think, or feel in some conceptually related ways, across a variety of relevant situations + across some fairly long period of time.


Structured personality inventories

Are questionnaires that are used for obtaining self- and observer reports of personality

--> "structured" as the individuals being measured are given predetermined options for responding to various items

ex.: answering on yes/no-basis, 1-5 scale etc


Good reliability

Occurs when the average response of items is a good indicator of the element that is coming to those items


Good content validity

Occurs when the items describe a wide array in interests, all of which are related to the element being measured


Unstructured personality inventories/ Projective tests

Are questionnaires that allow individuals to respond in his/her unique way

  •  has incremental validity
  •  contrast to structure personality inventories



Is a defense mechanism by which individuals attribute their personality traits to others

--> concept that originated with Freud


Projective techniques

Involve presenting respondents with an ambiguous stimulus and asking them to disambiguate the stimulus

ex.: Rorschach inkblot


Projective hypothesis

States that respondents project aspects of their personality in the process of disambiguating unstructured test stimuli


Rorschach inkblot test (Projective test)

Contains a series of 10 inkblot patterns that an individual has to describe + interpret

--> designed to look like one thing in one part + something contradictory in another part


Exner Comprehensive System


Refers to a set of instructions that establishes detailed rules for


1. Delivering the inkblot exam

2. Interpreting the responses

--> provides norms


Measure conventionality

Refers to the

a) fitness

  •  adequacy of the object identified, considering its contours + location

b) frequency

  •  how often the particular object was named spontaneously


Criticism on ECS ?

1. Low reliability

2. Validity

  •  it is poorly equipped to identify most psychiatric conditions

3. Excessive false positives

  •  often characterizes normal people as having emotional problems


Thematic apperception test (TAT)

(Projective test)

Is a method that asks respondent to formulate a story based on ambiguous scenes in drawings on 31 cards


What is the purpose of the thematic apperception test (TAT)?

It is supposed to elicit information about a persons view of others, their attitudes towards the self + expectations about relationships


Criticism on Thematic apperception test (TAT)?

1. Low test-retest reliability

  •  there is no standardized administration of this test

2. Over-diagnosis

  •  lacks an effective scoring system


What are the 3 basic strategies/approaches to developing personality inventories ?

1. Empirical strategy

2. Factor-analytic strategy

3. Rational strategy


Empirical strategy

Involves writing down a large number of items that describe a wide variety if actions, thought + feelings on various characteristics


Factor analytic strategy

Involves sorting correlated items together into the same category, while putting uncorrelated items into different ones

  •  each group of correlated items measures different traits
  •  can only be used when you already have the items


Rational strategy

Involves writing down items specifically for the purpose of assessing each trait to be measured

  • conducted rationally in the sense that one tries to produce item that would rationally be considered relevant for the trait



When are the 3 different strategies to developing inventories used ?

What is the goal of research then ?


  •  when generating items for a given scale + guiding the selection of items for final scale

Factor analysis

  •  when making sure that items intended to measure directs traits really belong to those different factors

Empirical approach

  •  for empirical data, such as correlations with observer ratings on a trait


Lexical hypothesis

States that people will want to talk about personality traits that they view as having important consequences in their lives

--> the'll therefore invent some words to describe people who have high/low levels of these important traits


Lexical approach (Strategy)

Using an already existing list of personality-descriptive adjectives that can be found in dictionaries of any language


Big five inventory (BFI)

Refers to a short measure of personality descriptive adjectives

1. Extraversion

2. Agreeableness

3. Conscientiousness

4. Emotional stability

5. Openness to experience


NEO-PI-R (Inventory)

Is a personality inventory that examines a person's Big Five personality traits

  •  longer + revised
  •  Includes Neuroticism instead of emotional stability

=> Lexical approach


Hexaco model of personality


Is a six-dimensional model of human personality that includes

1. Honesty-Humility (H)

2. Emotionality (E)

3. Extraversion (X)

4. Agreeableness (A)

5. Conscientiousness (C)

6. Openness to Experience (O)

  •  full length: 200; half-length: 100
  • differentiated among several languages which is how they came up with (H) => Lexical approach


What did comparisons between the 3 strategies to developing inventories show ?

1. Rationally constructed self-report scales, showed higher correlations with observer reports + in general higher validity

3. Little difference among the three approaches in their usefulness in conducting personality inventories


The Rorschach is a problem solving task that is based on perception.

What was its intention ?

What do the stimuli intend to evoke ?

1. Providing some suggestive + obvious shapes that many people will see/identify

2. Providing perceptual "hooks" that will trigger personalized + unique imagery

  • making the images look like one thing in one part, but look like something else contradictory in another part


Criticism on Rorschach inkblot test ?

1. Lacks standardized procedures + a set of norms

  •  needed because seemingly trivial differences in the way an instrument is administered can affect a persons response
  •  Norms might provide a reference point

2. Poorly equipped to identify most psychiatric conditions


Draw-a-Person test

(Projective test)

Is a projective task that asks the respondent to depict a human being


Why was the MMPI revised ?

1. Language change

2. Different problems to be assessed

3. Differing norms

--> necessary, but attention to failures that can be made