Major Movements in Psychology - Psychological Tests

5 important questions on Major Movements in Psychology - Psychological Tests

What role do psychological tests play in the science of psychology?

Research in psychology depends upon the measurement of psychological traits, which can only be accomplished with psychological tests. Nonetheless psychological traits are inherently difficult to assess. Therefore a critical part of psychological research involves the construction of tests that can measure psychological traits in a systematic and reliable way.

How are tests and measurements developed?

  1. First, the construct must be defined. What exactly are you trying to measure?
  2. Then, taking the most typical case of a self-report questionnaire, the items must be selected.
  3. Next, the test must be administered to several samples of people to prove that it is a consistent and reliable measure of the construct it is intended to measure.

Two critical concepts in test construction are reliability and validity.

What does it mean to say a test is valid?

The validity of a test reflects the degree to which it is measuring what is says it is measuring. Validity is often measured by correlatoin with a similar measure of the same construct. Differences across groups can also be used to establish validity.

With convergent validity, measures of similar constructs will rate the same material similarly. Two measures of depression should be positively correlated.

With divergent validity, measures of different constructs will rate the same material differently. A measure of depression should not be well correlated with a measure of happiness.

What criticisms have been leveled at the Rorschach?

The Rorschach was interpreted arbitrarily, according to the whim of the clinician who was administering the test. Claims for the power of the Rorschach were also overblown and poorly supported by empirical research.

Because of that, the Rorschach has been harshly criticized as unscientific. It was further disparages because of its strong ties to psychoanalysis, a discipline also criticized as unscientific. Like the Rorschach, psychoanalysis involves the identification of emotional meaning in ostensibly neutral material.

How did Exner's system give the Rorschach scientific legitimacy?

In 1974, John Exner published the Comprehensive Scoring System for the Rorschach, in which he reworked earlier scoring systems into a comprehensive and systematic approach. He also provided considerable empirical research for his results, showing perfectly respectable reliability and validity.

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