Psychological testing is a standardized measurement of various aspects of human behavior, such as intelligence or personality. Unlike, for example, testing in school, psychological testing is related to psychological theories or scientifically established psychological knowledge. Group test occurs, but usually each person is tested individually.
To prepare a decent research paper on the topic you have to know that psychological testing is used in various fields. Within psychiatry psychological testing is used as an aid to set the diagnosis of mental disorders. Psychological testing is also used in recruitment, for example, to determine someone’s suitability for an employment or enrollment. This type of testing is even used within psychological research.
There are two ways to structure psychological testing. Testing can be ipsative or normative. An ipsative testing is self-regulating, meaning that the test results are compared against the tester itself. With such a testing, the tester can obtain characteristics but he can not compare the two test results with each other.
A normative psychological testing is always designed with a certain target group, or population, in mind. An individual’s performance on the test is always in relation to this population, at an appropriate scale such as NS-points (also known as IQ) or stanine. In the process called standardization the testing is on a representative sample of this population. From this standardization group’s mean and variance received information forms a function from raw score to the desired scale.
In the standardization, there is also an attempt to find out the test reliability and validity, that is, how reliable measuring instrument are and how well it measures what it intends to measure.
To ensure reliability, that is, measurement accuracy during the test, there is a standardized test procedure. Among other things, the instructions that are given to the test subject are always the same and the environment in which the testing is performed is similar (no external disturbances).
Psychological tests can be categorized in two main ways: what the test measures and how it measures it.
Lee Cronbach suggested a classification into what psychological testing measures in categories maximum performance tests and typical performance tests.
The maximum performance tests measure what an individual can perform best. This category includes tests designed to measure an individual’s aptitude, such as intelligence test and knowledge test. A typical performance test is designed to measure how an individual usually reacts in a given situation. This category includes personality tests and tests that measure attitudes, habits and interests.
Personality tests are often divided into two types, which have to do with how the test works. Structured personality tests are often based on psychological theory grounds, and are shaped like inventory of standardized questions. Projective tests are based on psychodynamic theory, and differs from other psychological tests by that they are based on the interpretation.
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