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Psychological tests play a crucial role in learning and understanding human behavior. In a psychological context, the term test refers to any standardized procedure for measuring sensitivity, mental ability, and personality of an individual (Kline, 2000). Psychological tests are objective in nature, as they seek to identify strengths and weaknesses in an individual. Psychologists use these tests to gather information and determine the performance of an individual at a specific time represented by the period of data collection (Kline, 2000).
Assumptions and questions
The first assumption is that every test is independent and used to examine a specific element (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012). Test validity is important because it helps in getting the right results. The second assumption applied in psychological tests is that test results and an individual’s demeanor are constant variables. This assumption believes that as along as the variable tested does not change, the results of the test and behavior of an individual remain the same even if the test happens another time (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012).
Another major assumption is that people involved in psychological test have a similar understanding of the elements involved. This means that they are likely to give similar or closely related responses. Psychological tests also use the assumption that people will always provide correct information about their lives (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012).
People involved in these tests have greater personal awareness and psychologists should assume that all the information they provide is accurate. The most fundamental question asked in these tests is whether people are sincere when explaining their feelings about something or someone (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012).
Categories of tests, their major uses, and users
Psychological tests belong to four major categories, namely clinical interviews, intellectual functioning tests, personality tests, and behavioral tests (Kline, 2000). Clinical interviews are short tests conducted by a clinician in an office. Practitioners use this test to examine mental health patients. Intellectual functioning tests are used to assess the rational aptitude of an individual.
They are done through intelligence test, which have Wechsler and Stanford-Binet scales, as well as neuropsychological assessment (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012). The tests can take up to two days. They are used to test people suffering from various forms of brain damage. Personality tests play a crucial role in establishing elements that define an individual.
There are two types of personality tests, namely objective and projective tests (Kline, 2000). Objective tests use a true or false approach, while projective tests assess an individual’s optical ability to differentiate things. Behavioral tests help to establish the cause of an individual’s demeanor through observation. This test helps in assessing people with various forms of addictions. Psychologists can track their behavior patterns and help them to change (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012).
Reliability and validity
Reliability refers to the quality of test data remaining stable and dependable throughout the study. It uses a constant number that serves as a measure of the value tested (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012). Reliability is tested using test-retest, split-half, and alternate form approaches. Validity refers to the ability of a psychological test being effective (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2012).
Validity can be examined either internally or externally. Internal validity refers to the ability of a psychological test to examine the right elements in an individual, while external validity refers to the possibility of using the results of a single test on the parent population (Kline, 2000).
Their effect on the field of psychological testing
The concepts of reliability and validity influence the field of psychological testing. Reliability ensures that the information used to make analysis is correct, remains constant, and represents the right element of the test. Validity influences psychological tests in that the results of an individual can be used to determine the results of a larger population (Kline, 2000).
Psychological tests play a crucial role in understanding human behavior. Effective psychological tests should be standardized, objective, valid, and reliable. It is important to take into consideration all the major assumptions and fundamental questions when conducting a psychological test.
Kaplan, R., & Saccuzzo, D. (2012). Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues. New York: Cengage Learning.
Kline, P. (2000). The Handbook of Psychological Testing. New Jersey: Psychology Press.