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Objective Tests of Personality for Practical Use

Hills, John R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Objective Tests, Personality Measures, Response Style (Tests), Self Evaluation (Individuals), Test Validity


Most personality measures, when used for practical purposes, can and are likely to elicit fake responses. A number of possible ways to overcome, reduce, or correct for faking are discussed. These include disguising one type of self-report item (such as temperament) in the garb of another type (such as interest). The forced-choice technique is primarily designed to prevent people from selecting only favorable ways to describe themselves. A third technique is to correct for faking by means of a lie score. These techniques, while helpful, have not been completely successful in solving the problems. A strategy which involves three principal aspects is advocated: (1) objectively-scorable items other than self-reports are the stimulus material; (2) the theoretical structure provided by factor analyses of personality is used as a framework; and (3) the tests are disguised so that they appear to be measures of cognitive characteristics, such as abilities, aptitudes, or achievements. Illustrations of the use of this strategy are given.

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