List the purpose and characteristics of psychological tests

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  • Psychological Disorders
  • Chapter 13 - Pearson
  • R. M. Tolles

List the purpose and characteristics of psychological tests

  • Purpose of Psychological Tests
  • Used to help people make important decisions
  • Examples: GRE, SATS, ASVAB, and Medical Entrance Exams
  • Test assess abilities, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors
  • Behavior-rating scales – used to measure behavior in places as classrooms and hospitals
  • Self-reports – measuring a persons attitudes and behavior
  • Characteristics of Psychological Tests
  • For a psychological test to be useful and reasonably accurate, it has to be:
  • Standardized – one that is administered and scored the same way every time
  • Reliability and Validity – consistency and honesty
  • Validity Scales – involves questions that if answered in a certain way led the Psychologist know that the test taker is not answering the test questions honestly
  • Norms for Scoring – establishing standards of performance
  • Norms – established standards of performance
  • Norm Groups – group of test takers similar in characteristics
  • Achievement Tests
  • Most tests people take throughout school are achievement tests
  • Achievement Tests – measure people's skills and the knowledge they have in specific academic areas.
  • Intelligence and motivation play a role in achievement as well as learning
  • Narrow range of skills
  • Aptitude Tests
  • Intelligence tests – measure overall learning in ability
  • Generally used to determine specific abilities related to application, such as careers

Vocational Interest Inventories – help people determine whether their interests are similar to those of people in various lines of work

  • Kuder Preference Test – forced choice test format. Scores show interest
  • Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory – not as obvious or direct, it includes many different kinds of items
  • Evaluation of Interest Inventories:
    • Interest in an area does not necessarily mean that one had the ability or aptitude to succeed.

Personality Tests

  • Personality Tests
  • There are two kinds of personality tests: objective tests and projective tests
  • Objective Tests – present test takers with a standardized group of test items in the from of a questionaire. Example: MMPI, and the CPI
  • Projective Tests – no clearly specified answers. Open-ended question format. Example: Rorschach Inkblots
  • Thematic Apperception Tests – these type of tests invite a variety of interpretations.

Taking Tests

  • Taking Tests
  • Tips – Gather information, Practice, Be test wise
  • Multiple Choice Tests – (book)‏
  • True-False Questions – (book)‏
  • Short-Answer Questions – (book)‏
  • Essay Tests – (Book)‏
  • Test Anxiety

Module: 31 Psychological Disorders

  • Psychological Disorder
    • a “harmful dysfunction” in which behavior is judged to be:
      • atypical--not enough in itself
      • disturbing--varies with time and culture
      • maladaptive--harmful
      • unjustifiable--sometimes there’s a good reason

Historical Perspective

  • Perceived Causes
    • movements of sun or moon
      • lunacy--full moon
    • evil spirits
  • Ancient Treatments
    • exorcism, caged like animals, beaten, burned, castrated, mutilated, blood replaced with animal’s blood

Psychological Disorders

  • Medical Model
    • concept that diseases have physical causes
    • can be diagnosed, treated, and in most cases, cured
    • assumes that these “mental” illnesses can be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms and cured through therapy, which may include treatment in a psychiatric hospital

Psychological Disorders

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Perspective
    • assumes that biological, sociocultural, and psychological factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders

Psychological Disorders--Etiology

  • DSM-IV
    • American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition)
    • a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders
    • presently distributed as DSM-IV-TR (text revision)

Psychological Disorders- Etiology

  • Neurotic Disorder (term seldom used now)
    • usually distressing but that allows one to think rationally and function socially
  • Psychotic Disorder
    • person loses contact with reality
    • experiences irrational ideas and distorted perceptions

Module 32

  • Anxiety Disorders
    • distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • person is tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal

Anxiety Disorders

  • Panic Disorder
    • marked by a minutes-long episode of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensation

Anxiety Disorders

  • Phobia
    • persistent, irrational fear of a specific object or situation
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)

Anxiety Disorders

  • PET Scan of brain of person with Obsessive/ Compulsive disorder
  • High metabolic activity (red) in frontal lobe areas involved with directing attention

Mood Disorders

  • Mood Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
    • a mood disorder in which a person, for no apparent reason, experiences two or more weeks of depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most activities

Mood Disorders

  • Manic Episode
    • a mood disorder marked by a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state
  • Bipolar Disorder
    • a mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania
    • formerly called manic-depressive disorder

Mood Disorders-Bipolar

  • Depressed state
  • Manic state
  • Depressed state

Mood Disorders-Depression

  • Altering any one component of the chemistry-cognition-mood circuit can alter the others

Mood Disorders-Depression

  • The vicious cycle of depression can be broken at any point

Dissociative Disorders

  • Dissociative Disorders
    • conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
    • rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities
    • formerly called multiple personality disorder


  • Schizophrenia
    • literal translation “split mind”
    • a group of severe disorders characterized by:
      • disorganized and delusional thinking
      • disturbed perceptions
      • inappropriate emotions and actions


  • Delusions
    • false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders
  • Hallucinations
    • sensory experiences without sensory stimulation

Personality Disorders

  • Personality Disorders
    • disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning
    • usually without anxiety, depression, or delusions

Personality Disorders

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
    • disorder in which the person (usually man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members
    • may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist

Mood Disorders-Depression

  • Boys who were later convicted of a crime showed relatively low arousal

Personality Disorders

  • PET scans illustrate reduced activation in a murderer’s frontal cortex
  • Normal
  • Murderer

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