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Interrelationships Among Selected Personality, Aptitude, and Achievement Measures at One Law School: A Preliminary Study LSAT

Hills, John R.; Raine, Walter J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Ambiguity, Dogmatism, Grades (Scholastic), Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Law Students, Personality Measures, Personality Traits, Student Motivation


As a preliminary step in a larger study, data from personality tests at one law school have been analyzed. With the exception of the Personality Research Inventory (PRI) and Recognising Ambiguities, all of the test scores are reasonably reliable. Various measures of flexibility which were included in the battery were, in general, not highly intercorrelated, nor did they relate to the criterion of first-year grades. The measures of motivation fared only slightly better. The indication from Fiske's work that Tolerance of Ambiguity as measured on the PRI might be related to intra-individual variability was not supported. Several response set scores were derived from the PRI. The tendency to say "Yes" on the PRI is significantly positively correlated with grades and is negatively correlated with LSAT scores. The multiple correlation relating grades to the combination of LSAT scores and acquiescence ("Yes" answers) is an appreciable .42, quite strikingly better than the simple correlation of .07 between LSAT and grades. The correlation between LSAT scores and tendency to use the "?" response in answering PRI items is .38, but the correlation between this response set and grades is negligible. Two hypotheses were advanced to account for these findings. One hypothesis considers the "Yes" set to reflect docility, and the "?" set to reflect wariness. The other hypothesis borrows from Whyte's conception of the "organization man" (23). The "Yes" man is rewarded by his teachers for his warm and uncritical acceptance of whatever they say. The man who uses the "?" is tentatively called an "intelligent critic" who is not greatly penalized for rejecting the "get-ahead" values. However, his intelligently critical attitude is not rewarded to the extent that his ability warrants.

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