Chat with us, powered by LiveChat After reading Chapter 3 on how personality is measured, how objective do you think you were in taking the self-report personality assessment? Why is objectivity significant in this type of ass | Wridemy

After reading Chapter 3 on how personality is measured, how objective do you think you were in taking the self-report personality assessment? Why is objectivity significant in this type of ass

After reading Chapter 3 on how personality is measured, how objective do you think you were in taking the self-report personality assessment? Why is objectivity significant in this type of ass

DISCUSSION 7 – MEASURING PERSONALITY

Due Sunday, November 13, 2022, 11:59 PM 

Time remaining: 2 days 

After reading Chapter 3 on how personality is measured, how objective do you think you were in taking the self-report personality assessment? Why is objectivity significant in this type of assessment? What implications do self-report inventories have on the validity of personality assessments? 

Be sure to respond in less than 350 words and use APA references as necessary. 

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101

How Is Personality Assessed?

In the previous chapters, we talked about the nature of personality, covering broad themes in personality research. This included different theories dealing with its structure, its causes, and its development through-

out the life span. The research reviewed above spans more than a century, and thousands of studies have been carried out to address questions concerning the nature of personality. The large amount of empirical evidence is impressive, and consid- erable progress appears to have been made in this fi eld. While we have laid out empirical fi ndings regarding the discovery of the basic structure of personality, the biological causes of it, and the change and development of it, very little discussion has been devoted to how these discoveries have actually been made. Are we to take these claims for granted? Should we even

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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take them seriously? After all, personality is an abstract and unobservable concept; in essence, one could argue that it is not something that is subject to measurement, or even worse, that it is an illusory construct. So how do we know that we can measure this construct of personality? How do we know that we have? And, how do we know that we have accurately done so?

These are very important and very loaded questions, because they challenge the very foundations of personal- ity psychology and psychometric testing as a whole. What’s more, psychological tests, such as personality inventories, are used extensively in a variety of settings, from selection of applicants to university and organizational positions to psychiatric diagnosis. Accordingly, people’s careers and even lives can be changed (and this is not an overstatement) as a result of psychometric test results. Given this, it is clearly an imperative task of psychologists in this fi eld to provide satisfactory answers to such issues. It is their job to estab- lish that personality is measurable, to establish that they have measured personality, and importantly, to establish that they have accurately done so. So, how can psychologists convinc- ingly address these concerns?

To establish credibility, personality research must fi rst demonstrate scientifi cally acceptable methodology. The scien- tifi c method is recognized to be the best method for obtain- ing valuable knowledge about any phenomenon (Kline, 1988). Accordingly, researchers have to establish some basic criteria, or standards, which personality measurement needs to sat- isfy for its claims to be considered scientifi cally acceptable. Given that personality psychology as a discipline has scientifi c objectives, several steps have been taken by psychologists to ensure that these standards are indeed satisfi ed. These include both theoretical and statistical steps, and we will discuss these throughout this chapter; however, before we embark on that, we want to ask the fi rst basic question: Can personality actu- ally be measured?

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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CAN PERSONALITY BE MEASURED

AND HOW?

It is not uncommon, when we talk to people outside academia about our research and the methods of personality assessment, to be confronted with a bewildered look. Even if some don’t disclose it, there generally seems to be a question mark about the way this is done, or the accuracy or validity of this research. It seems to many an unfeasible prospect. How could one pos- sibly “measure” a person’s personality? People are complex, dynamic, and one could say, chaotic. Many are diffi cult to read, understand, or predict. Some are worried about how others will perceive them and try hard to manage their impressions. Others are simply deceptive. With all its complexities, its dynamic and chaotic nature, there is always a sense of skepticism about attempts to quantify personality, just as with things like love or art. You often hear people say that love is not something you can describe and/or put numbers on—“It is just something you feel.” The same seems to apply to the measurement of personal- ity, at least in the mind of laypeople, but is this mainly wishful thinking?

Unlike laypeople, psychologists believe you can measure personality using reliable scientifi c tools. After all, if some- thing exists, it should be subject to study. If it varies in detect- able ways, it should be quantifi able. Therefore, the only thing needed is to fi nd a valid way (or ways) of doing so. This is not a commentary of faith but is derived from our understanding of the scientifi c method. For instance, we would all agree that not all people are exactly the same; some people are taller, some are heavier, and some are stronger. We would also agree that people differ more than in just a physical sense; that is, they differ in the way they think, feel, and behave. Some people are friendlier, some are more aggressive, and others more assertive. When we compare people, we often say they have more or less of an attribute (e.g., friendliness, aggression, determination,

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etc.). These differences are differences in degree. If we acknowl- edge therefore that some people differ in psychological aspects in terms of degree, there is no reason as to why these aspects should not be quantifi able. All we need is to assign numbers to these degrees or variations.

Strictly speaking then, the skepticism about the prospect of measuring personality isn’t justifi ed. Indeed, the whole fi eld of psychometrics (literally meaning mind measurement) is dedicated to measuring differences between people in various psychological concepts (or constructs), including personality. Accordingly, within this fi eld (and psychology in general), the question is not really whether personality can be measured, but rather, whether it can be accurately done. So, are personality psychologists able to measure personality well? Are they able to really capture a person’s character?

The answer to this question is “yes!” (with a big exclama- tion mark). We will review evidence for this claim below, but fi rst, we should clarify a few points. First, there is no magic in personality assessment. Personality psychologists are not mind readers or telepathists. They cannot look at your palm or fore- head and tell you who you are. Personality assessment is not standard or simple. It is not like measuring height with a tape measure. Personality assessment combines a variety of theories and methods, including common sense, probability theory, and statistical testing. The methods are often not much differ- ent from what anyone put with the task of assessing personality would eventually discover and try.

To clarify this point, suppose for instance that you (and perhaps a few of your friends) were given the task of devising a way of assessing the personality of, say, the richest person in the world (who at the time this book is being written is, according to Forbes rankings, Carlos Slim; Forbes.com, 2011). How would you go about doing it? In fact, if you have a minute, you may actually want to try this exercise. So, the question is as follows: How you would have measured the personality of the richest man in the world? What methods would you use?

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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Regardless of whether you actually attempted this task or not, it is safe to say that you would eventually have had a num- ber of ideas, or options, in front of you as methods. Indeed, there are several ways you could do this. One way, of course, is simply to talk to them and fi nd out as much as you could about their personality. Another way could be to ask them questions simply by using a questionnaire. You may, however, be skeptical. They may distort their story, either to self-enhance, or because they are simply delusional. So, you might decide to interview other people who know this person well and get their views of what he/she is like. Finally, you may decide that it would be useful to observe how this person behaves in a variety of situa- tions. For instance, you could put them in various scenarios or role plays and see how they react; or put them in experimental conditions. You could, alternatively, observe their day-to-day behavior, and so on.

FOUR TYPES OF DATA

One problem (but this is also an advantage) is that there are lots of ways you could get information, or “data,” about a per- son, and personality psychologists have divided the numerous data sources into a few categories. These data categories are (a) life record data (L-data), (b) observer data (O-data), (c) test data (T-data), and (d) self-report data (S-data). An easy way to remember these categories, or types of data, is by the acronym LOTS. Below, we briefl y describe each of these categories.

L-data basically deal with a person’s life history or bio- graphical information. It involves collecting data from the indi- vidual’s natural, or everyday-life, behaviors, measuring their characteristic behavior patterns in the real world. Rather than asking a person about their past tendencies, L-data often con- sist of actual (objective) records. This can be obtained by look- ing at past school/college grades, criminal records, educational

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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attainments, and so on. It is based on the idea that past behav- ior is the best predictor of future behavior.

O-data consist of obtaining evaluations and information from relevant others or observers. Observers can include par- ents, friends, colleagues, teachers, and so on. There are a variety of ways in which observers can provide information. A com- mon way is to provide ratings through questionnaires similar to (or the same as) those used in self-reports. The benefi t of this method is that one can obtain data from different observers who see and interact with the subject in different contexts. For instance, in organizational settings, 360 multisource feedback is a common way to obtain O-data. This involves obtaining ratings from subordinates, peers, bosses, and customers (in addition to self-ratings). Other observational methods include observing participants as they go along their daily lives. This is similar to anthropological research, where people are observed in their natural environments. The observer is usually someone who is trained to make systematic observations. They attempt to obtain as much data as possible, which are then scored on a predefi ned set of criteria.

T-data are based on objective tests. They consist of stan- dard stimulation situations in which the individual is unaware of what is being measured (Cattell & Kline, 1977). It basi- cally involves examining participants’ reactions to standard- ized experimental situations (often created in a lab), where a person’s behavior can be objectively observed and measured. One example of such tests (called the Fidgetometer) involves instructing examinees to sit on a chair that is wired up to detect any movements. In this scenario, the person being examined often does not know that their movement is being measured. Even if they did, they would not know that personality traits are inferred from moving more or less (let alone which particular personality trait).

Finally, S-data involve responses based on introspection by the individual about his or her own behavior and feelings. Here, the information about the individual is obtained by the

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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individual. This can take several forms, most common of which are self-report questionnaires and interviews (but there are others such as, for instance, written-essay form). The methods employed in S-data are the most convenient form of gathering information. This is particularly the case today, with the advent of the Internet, where surveys posted online give simple and quick access to a vast number of people.

There are also several methods that do not easily fi t into the LOTS categories. For instance, some research employs diary methods, where participants are required to report specifi c events, or specifi c behaviors at specifi c times, or feelings and thoughts. Thus, participants in such studies are asked to keep diaries of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, over a set time period. This can sometimes be a highly useful method because it can provide data that may otherwise be diffi cult to obtain. Indeed, this was brilliantly demonstrated by studies conducted by Fleeson and Gallagher (2009), discussed in Chapter 1, which provided clear information about behavior variation across sit- uations and time.

There are many other methods available, of course, to assess someone’s personality. As you review these options, however, you are also likely to be recognizing that there are shortcomings of each. For instance, life records (L-data) are not always easy to obtain and can be biased, or even inaccurate. Asking peo- ple direct questions either through interviews or self-reports (S-data) may be subject to impression management or socially desirable answers (i.e., lying). Asking others (O-data) may seem to remedy the latter concern, but others may not actually know the person very well. In any case, it certainly cannot eliminate the possibility that they are also distorting their ratings (e.g., because they are best friends with the person being rated). Observational methods may be subject to common cognitive biases in human observers. Finally, experiments may not gen- eralize to the outside world.

As you can see, none of these measures are perfect. Each individual data source, and methods within it, has its own fl aw.

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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However, despite this, it is also easy to see the benefi ts of each method. Clearly, the information gathered from these sources will not be totally useless. It will surely tell you something about the personality of a person. In addition, there is nothing to say that a researcher needs to be confi ned to one data source. In principle, they can combine as many of these methods as they wish. Indeed, it is desirable, and advisable, that multiple sources are used when obtaining information about people. In this way, one can be more confi dent about one’s conclusions, particularly if the different methods end up providing very similar profi les of the same person, if they paint a similar picture.

Nevertheless, it is not always easy to expose people to hours or days of research. Personality psychologists have there- fore often had to resort to fewer, and commonly, single sources of data. A critical task for a researcher therefore is to determine which assessment method to choose. In order to do this, of course, the researcher must know which assessment method assesses personality most accurately. There are several scien- tifi c methods to establish this and researchers today generally agree on which tests are most accurate. Nevertheless, not all well-established methods are suitable for all researchers. That is, there is no universal agreement. One major reason for this is that judging which method is best is not always a question of research data, but also a matter of theoretical perspective. Thus, psychologists may employ different assessment methods because their research often rests on different theoretical ideas about what personality is, what its underlying causes are, and how it is expressed. As mentioned before, a psychoanalyst would rarely employ self-reports simply because the theory asserts that many of the causes of a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behav- ior are not available to the person on a conscious level.

While there are different schools of thought, however, today the most commonly used source of data in personality psychol- ogy is self-reports. This may strike you as surprising. After all, self-reports, on the surface, appear to have several limitations (some of which already have been mentioned). Before you are

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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tempted to draw any conclusions, however, let us remind you that scientifi c research on personality testing spans almost 100 years (even if efforts to assess personality have an even longer history that predates psychology; Boyle, 2008). Accordingly, the methods found today have gone through nearly a century’s research and scientifi c evaluation. Therefore, the current incli- nation of researchers to use self-report does not refl ect personal preferences, but rather years of empirical data.

For you to better understand the current status of personal- ity assessment, it is perhaps useful to look at its evolution—that is, the different phases and stages it has passed to arrive at its current position.

A BRIEF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF

PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT

Interestingly, the earliest personality measures were in the form of questionnaires not unlike those found in psychologi- cal research and practice today. However, as with intelligence measurement, the impetus for the development of personality tests came from the world of practical affairs. Indeed, a major reason for this was the success of early standardized intelligence tests. Alfred Binet had successfully introduced tests of intelli- gence (in 1904), which were used to classify children according to their ability, fi rst in France and later in United States. During World War I, adjusted adult versions of these tests were soon brought into the U.S. Army, to aid in the selection of recruits (in terms of their cognitive ability) for military service. Soon after, however, a need was also recognized for tests that would identify recruits that were prone to psychological instability. To ensure army recruits were also emotionally healthy, therefore, the fi rst standardized personality test was devised. It consisted of questions that dealt with various symptoms or problem areas (for instance, with whether a person had frequent daydreams,

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Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Ahmetoglu, G. (2012). Personality 101. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from claflin on 2018-05-22 11:12:40.

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or wet their beds, etc.), on which “yes–no” responses could be made (Woodworth, 1919).

The measures were a success in the army. As a result, they quickly spurred interest in the application of personality assess- ment in other domains also. The most noteworthy of these was within clinical practices, where some researchers aspired to design a test that would provide an “objective” basis for psy- chiatric diagnosis. That is, they wanted to develop a test with items (i.e., test questions) that could distinguish between groups known to have different psychiatric disorders, as well as patients from people in general. The best-known test of this sort was the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI; Hathaway & McKinley, 1940), which appeared in 1940. Similar to the tests used in the army, the MMPI was a self-report inventory consist- ing of true–false statements. The achievement and popularity of the MMPI were enormous and still remain today (in fact, with its revised version [MMPI-2], the MMPI is thought to be the most widely used personality inventory in history; Boyle et al., 2008).

Given the practical usefulness of the MMPI, similar tests with nonclinical populations soon followed. The aim of researchers again was to distinguish between groups, but this time between nonclinical personality characteristics. One of the best known of these was the California Psychological Inventory (CPI, Gough, 1957). As with the MMPI, the CPI was designed with practical purposes in mind. Specifi cally, it was aimed at high school and college students. The CPI tested for various personality traits such as dominance, sociability, toler- ance, and so on and was useful for categorizing people into dif- ferent groups, for instance, dominant versus submissive pupils. As with the MMPI, the CPI was (and still is) a highly popular inventory in applied settings (even if the academic community has largely dismissed the test on empirical grounds). This is one reason as to why it has long been known as “the sane man’s MMPI” (Thorndike, 1959).

An interesting historical observation is that around the time these self-report measures were being constructed, other

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