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History of Psychological Testing

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haley hanlon

on 11 April 2014

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Transcript of History of Psychological Testing

1800 A.D
1890 A.D
Present Day
(2014 & On)

Circa 2000 B.C
History of Psychological Testing
Beginning of Psychological Testing
2200 B.C - Chinese introduced written tests to help fill civil service positions.
Called the imperial examination system
The test evaluated the best candidates for the position based on a multitude of tests.

"The Brass Instruments Era"
Early 1800's
In Europe, in the
, psychologists departed from subjectivity and focused on objectivity (experimental)
The use of "brass instruments" to measure reaction times, sensory thresholds, etc. became popular.
Mistook sensory processes for intelligence.
In 1838, Jean Etienne Esquirol was first to combine precise clinical descriptions with the statistical analysis of mental illnesses
Wundt & Galton, Mid-Late 1800's
Willhelm Wundt -
Studied & measured mental processes to formulate general laws of behavior (thought meter)
Obtained consistent results for each person from trial to trial, but found differences between people.
Some viewed these differences as error, but others saw them as important basis for mental tests.
Developed the first experimental laboratory in 1879.
Francis Galton -
1st to note importance of individual differences
Created the first tests of mental ability, first questionnaire and first tests to measure association between ideas.
Created several statistical procedures to help him analyze his data, including techniques still in use today.
James Cattell
"Psychology cannot attain the certainty and exactness of the physical sciences, unless it rests on a foundation of experiment and measurement. A step in this direction could be made by applying a series of mental tests and measurements to a large number of individuals ... The scientific and practical value of such tests would be much increased should a uniform system be adopted, so that determinations made at different times and places could be compared and combined.
" -
James Cattell, 1890

Influenced movement toward a practical, test-oriented study of mental processes and was concerned with human abilities.
Studied simple mental processes.
Coined the term "mental testing"
Mental tests were proven unreliable
Alfred Binet
Creation of the first intelligence test with the help of Theodore Simon (1905, revised in 1908)
Much of his research focused on mentally retarded children compared to "mainstream" children.

Binet- Simon Scale
30 items in order of difficulty
Measured memory, judgment, & reasoning
Differences in younger &older children - scores increased with age (mental age)
Scores correlated with school grades (test distinguished MR from normal children
Lewis Terman

Created the revised Stanford-Binet (
Based on 1000
kids, 3-13
Projective Personality Testing
1920 - 1940:
factor analysis, projective tests, and personality inventories first appear.

Projective Techniques:
– Rorschach Inkblot Test— Herman Rorchach (
– Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)- Henry Murray

Objective Personality Testing
The emergence of new approaches of personality testing (more objective)
University of Minnesota Press created Minnesota Multiphasic Personality inventory (MMPI; 1943) and revised in 1989 (MMPI-2)
A version for adolescents was produced in 1992 (MMPI-A)
Meaning of the test results were established by empirical research.
Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
(1946) The 16PF - Personality test that measures source traits of human personality. Integrated into psychology over several decades.
What is Psychological Testing?
Helps to understand the cause of symptoms and
abnormal behavior.

When might somebody be psychologically assessed?
Children with problems in school (learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, memory problems)
Employee with problems at work (anger management, interpersonal skills)
Somebody who experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Somebody having problems in their personal relationships (assessing personality traits)

Administering tests will allow psychologists to understand the nature and cause of the problem and to develop a treatment plan for the diagnosis.
Tests & Assessments
Allow psychologists to comprehensively arrive at a diagnosis
Four primary types of testing
Clinical Interview
Assessment of Intellectual Functioning (IQ)
Personality Assessment
Behavioral Assessment
May also gather school/medical records, require a medical evaluation and record observational data.
Reveals the core components of client's personality, including their strengths and weaknesses.
Testing is not "one size fits all"
Testing can only pinpoint "present functioning"
IQ Testing
Intelligence Tests
= Stanford Binet and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV)

WAIS-IV Divided into four scales
Verbal Comprehension
Perceptual Reasoning
Working Memory
Processing Speed

Neuropsychological Assessment

Determines cognitive strengths and deficits
Given to those who have suffered some sort of brain damage.
The Clinical Interview
1-2 hours in length
Common technique
Allows psychologist to see how client thinks & reasons and how they interact with others.
Client may be asked to recall various stages of their life.
May also include interviews with close friends/family.
Allows psychologist to form initial clinical impressions.
Personality Assessment
Objective Tests (Unambiguous)
: 567 True/False Test that helps to measure dysfunction in personality.
Used to diagnose simple personality disorder.
Measures people with healthier personalities. Uses 16 basic personality traits.

Projective Tests (Ambiguous)
Rorschach Ink Blot Test:
Most common scoring system is the Exner System
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
= Used to try to find a common theme in client's responses. Responses may be a result of subconscious reflections.
Behavioral Assessment
Process of tracking and measuring actual behavior by naturalistic observation.

May be done in school, work, hospital or inpatient setting.
Negative and positive behaviors are observed as well as their respective reinforcements.
Self-monitoring: keeping a mood journal.
Inventories & Checklists such as the Beck Depression Inventory.

The Future of Psychological Testing
Today, many of the same methods used but there is a lot more computerized (non-direct assessing

In the future, we could expect more science based testing such as
neuropsychological tests and
brain imagining (MRI, fMRI)
Full transcript