Quotes XXX

CARRY ON PSYCHO-TESTING!
Quotations about
psychological assessment and testing

PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING IS SOMETIMES DISMISSED AS BANAL BY PSYCHOLOGISTS; BUT EQUALLY OFTEN IT IS DEEMED CONTROVERSIAL BECAUSE OF THE ASSUMPTIONS THAT IT IS READILY THOUGHT TO EMBED. IN FACT, PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING IS A LARGELY A-THEORETICAL BUSINESS; BUT ITS VERY EMPIRICISM ALLOWS EVALUATION OF AT LEAST THE WILDER CRITICISMS OF TESTING. CERTAINLY, LIKE ANY OTHER METHOD OF ASSESSING PEOPLE, TESTING HAS ITS DANGERS-BUT WHAT METHOD DOES NOT?

T
hough it is sometimes genuinely 'controversial,' the study of personality and individual differences (see Quotes XXIX) may be granted academic legitimacy by sceptics in view of recent advances and agreements in psychometry (see Quotes III), psychogenetics (V), the psychology of information processing (IX), psychodynamics (XVIII) and neuropsychology (XIX). Moreover, there are spirited defences today of the general validity and theoretical adequacy of tests and of the approaches to human nature that they involve (see Quotes I, II, III, VII, VIII-XI); and of the testing of minority groups (see Quotes XXI-XXIV). However, the 'applied' use of psychological 'tests' in selection, classification, guidance, evaluation and policy development needs a distinct endorsement of its own.
There are three special problems.
1. Just like other psychologists, testers sometimes have pretensions that are over-optimistic and paternalistic. In the aftermath of the success of IQ-type tests of general mental ability (g), psychologists involved in vocational guidance, occupational selection, marriage guidance and education long hoped to find short, user-friendly, non-cognitive or at least non-g-loaded tests that would prove similarly predictive and thus useful in individual guidance. Yet few such tests emerged as success stories from a generation of hope that 'differential aptitudes', personality questionnaires and projective tests would provide an alternative to behaviourism. Thus erupted the post-1970 cry was that there must be 'interaction effects' whereby prediction could be achieved from considering personality and situation in combination (P x S). However, reliable phenotypic interaction effects in their turn proved few and far between; and, anyway, many personality tests already had interaction effects built in to them (see Quotes I). (A question like 'Would you rather be a professor or a politician?' implicitly invites respondents to consider which contexts and comrades would more likely interact multiplicatively with their own potentials to yield success for them in the chosen career.) Today the question is whether the predictive power of self-report measures will improve with the achievement of consensus on the Big Five-or-Six psychometric dimensions of personality (see Quotes III, VII and XXV).
2. Anxieties recur about the possible use of tests by the State to determine individual access to valued facilities. Once some treatment or educational programme-such as spare-part surgery for the elderly, or grammar school education for children-is held to be desirable (whether for itself or actually for its correlates), there will be suspicions about tests that identify some people as more able than others to benefit from such State-funded awards.
3. It may be suspected that employers use tests as indirect ways of discriminating against minority groups-e.g. merely claiming to require particular levels of intelligence or spatial-mechanical abilities while in fact wanting to hire or promote only non-Blacks or men. [The modern liberal State must justify its decisions by reference to people's immediately evident needs and rights. By contrast, the discipline for private sector employers is that they risk the future profits of their firms if they foolishly discriminate against perfectly useful potential employees. However, many firms have State-dependent organizations as their customers and may thus be cross-questioned for more immediate, 'rights'-respecting justifications of their hiring decisions.]
Such criticisms should be tempered by an appreciation of what are the alternatives to testing. Notoriously, free-ranging interviews (including 'clinical' appraisals by psychologists) have often turned out to be far less impartial and valid than psychometric tests (e.g. H.J.Eysenck, letter to The Spectator, 5 ii 1993). By comparison with interviews, empirically selected tests are cost-effective; and formal testing allows public scrutiny and research into whether tests enable a serious degree of prediction. Testing will often counter the nepotistic, chauvinistic and antiquated biases of employers-as did public exam results when these were first used by the British Army in 1856. There is little point in ignoring tests and allowing free rein to unvalidated interviewing, guesswork, pudendal preference, personal prejudice and ideological opinionation-unless one is and can admit to being a sex-crazed, fully tenured, office-holding ideologue.
Today, reflecting concern with minority issues, Equal Opportunity legislation in the USA provides encouragement to test users to undertake research on their tests. (The chief arguments about such validation exercises concern whether their costs should be borne by employers themselves or by local and national authorities.) In some contrast, the generally more dirigiste countries of Europe allow employers to select employees by graphological and interview procedures that have failed every public test to which they have been submitted. The chief concern of professional psychologists themselves will presumably be to encourage objective appraisal-continuously up-dated by wide research (however funded). Aspirants to the latest fashions of putative explanation in psychology can be relied upon to urge the need for 'deeper understandings' of how individuals come by their own trait levels on tests; but such ceaseless exhortations are no substitute for tests themselves. What are really the explanatory failures of psychology as a whole should only increase use of psychometric tests which meanwhile provide some objective indication of how, when and whether psychologists can pursue utopian and legitimist values in their responses to human nature.
Interviewing itself can no more be legally controlled than can an employer's ultimate right to make hiring decisions. Yet it would in fact be quite easy to encourage employers to collect objective evidence about test validity (both for minority applicants and others). Simply, their employees could be reimbursed for research participation from the substantial State funds given in per caput fees and overheads to universities to provide psychology students with research opportunities. For the West's many psychology students, there could be few more manageable, useful and career-developing research projects than helping local employers to examine, evaluate and extend their selection procedures. If university psychology students could pay to adult testees the research costs to which their own university fees officially entitle them, the resulting surge of psychometric
testing could provide the empirical breakthrough for occupational psychology. At least, such a breakthrough was what happened for medicine when doctors first started keeping case notes in the mid-nineteenth-century. The twentieth century has seen psychologists lose the role in State education that was once won for them by Cyril Burt. (This occurred because psychologists of around 1960 preferred to believe in a behaviourist utopia-for-all that did not require education to be ceaselessly adapted to the abilities of individual children.) It is now time for psychologists to establish themselves properly in a sector of the economy that expressly acknowledges human difference and aims to make the best of individuals as they actually are. Almost certainly, employers would be pleasantly surprised by psychology; and psychology students would be pleasantly surprised by tests.








For more coverage of the pros and cons of
intelligence testing, see:
BRAND, C.R. (1996) The g Factor.
Chichester : Wiley DePublisher.

"The nature and measurement of intelligence is a political hot potato. But Brand in this extremely readable, wide-ranging and up-to-date
book is not afraid to slaughter the shibboleths of modern "educationalists". This short book provides a great deal for thought
and debate."
Professor Adrian Furnham, University College London.
The book was first issued, in February, but then withdrawn, in April, by the 'publisher' because it was deemed to have infringed modern canons of
'political correctness.'
It received a perfectly favourable review in Nature (May 2, 1996, p. 33).

For a Summary of the book, NewsLetters concerning the
de-publication affair, details of how to see the book for scholarly purposes, and others' comments and reviews,
see the Internet URL sites:
http://laboratory.psy.ed.ac.uk/DOCS/crb/internet.html
http://www.webcom.com/zurcher/thegfactor/index.html

For Chris Brand's 'Get Real About Race!'-his popular exposition of his views on race and education in the Black
hip-hop music magazine 'downlow' (Autumn, 1996)-see:
http://www.bhs.mq.edu.au/~tbates/intelligence/Brand_downlow.html



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INDEX to QUOTES XXX
Page

(i) Testing: a little history 6

(ii) Doubts about testing 10

(iii) The advantages of testing-with examples 15

(iv) Alternatives to testing? 22

(v) Advice to testers 24

Epilogue



(For fuller coverage of issues concerning personality testing in general, see Quotes I - III and VII; and for intelligence testing see Quotes VIII - XI. For 'individualization of training and treatment' to suit individual needs and abilities, see Quotes XX and XXIX.)

{QUOTES XXX is the last Section of the quotations that largely make up Personality, Biology and Society-aimed at illustrating the state of differential psychology today, with the emphasis on continuing controversies. However, there is also an Appendix explaining the key technique of factor analysis which was first developed by those giants of the London School, Charles Spearman and Cyril Burt.}

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Testing: a little history.


"Testing was first originated in ancient China. [After] 500BC, Confucius raised the question of individual differences and individual-oriented education. The Civil Service Examination System developed in early 7th century."
Hou-can ZHANG (Beijing Normal University), 1989,
to 24th International Congress of Psychology, Sydney (S665).

"....it was [the German Enlightenment philosopher] Christian Thomasius (1692) who devised and applied the first scales for rating psychological variables. Thomasius's rating scales were an integral part of his overall theory of personality, which posited four major dimensions-sensuousness, acquisitiveness, social ambition, and rational love. Each dimension-they can perhaps best be translated as "inclinations" (Latin: passiones)-was assessed for a given individual by judges utilizing a 60-point scale.... The 60-point scale may have been adopted from analogy with mechanical clocks, which were then widely disseminated throughout Europe."
P.McREYNOLDS & K.LUDWIG, 1987, 'On the history of rating
scales'. Personality & Individual Differences 8.

"Ratings have a long history. A form of rating scale was devised by the philosopher and utopian reformer Robert Owen as early as 1825. Children in the New Harmony Colony in Indiana were rated on ten 100-point scales, such as 'courage', 'imagination', or 'excitability'. The scale didn't use paper and pencil, but was made of brass, with sliding brass pointers-a very early example of 'brass instrument' psychology."
Mark COOK, 1984, in M.Cook, Issues in Person Perception. London : Methuen.
(Owen, the Welsh social and educational reformer, had gone to Indiana after falling out with his partners at New Lanark, Scotland. All his 'co-operative communities', including New Harmony, were unsuccessful.)

"To conduct education properly it is necessary to know the physical and mental constitution of the being [who is] to be educated and....the world in which he is to be an actor."
George COMBE, 1840, Moral Philosophy, or the Duties of Man.
Edinburgh : Maclachlan & Stewart.

"It is possible, by accurate, patient and continued observation of actions, to discover the true dispositions and capacities which individuals possess."
George COMBE (Scottish phrenologist and educator), 1853.

"Out of 1,972 failures in the Civil Service examinations, 1,866 candidates were plucked for spelling. That is, eighteen out of every nineteen who failed, failed in Spelling."
Dr MORELL (Inspector for Schools in England), 1877.

"The first psychological tests were devised by Galton in 1882 in his investigation of individual differences; they were developed and christened 'mental tests' by J.M.Cattell in 1890 in his efforts to determine the intelligence of college students; and used by Ebbinghaus with school children in Breslau in 1897."
L.S.HEARNSHAW, 1987, The Shaping of Modern Psychology. London : Routledge.

"Psychology has achieved a position which will enable it to substantially help win the war and shorten the necessary period of conflict."
Robert M YERKES, 1917 (on learning that the U.S. Army had decided, on the basis of exploratory studies, to introduce mass IQ testing of all new recruits). Quoted by D.J.Kevles, Journal of American History 55.

"The British Press refers to mental tests as though they were new things invented by Americans."
P.B.BALLARD, 1920, Mental Tests. London : Hodder & Stoughton.

"It is the duty of the community, first, to ascertain what is the mental level of each individual child; then to give him the education most appropriate to his level; and lastly, before it leaves him, to guide him into the career for which his measure of intelligence has marked him out."
BURT, C., 1923, Presidential Address to Section J of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

"[In a testee's responses to Rorschach ink-blots] the use of Form represents objectivity, a disciplined recognition of fact. The affective (i.e. emotional) life of the individual is revealed primarily through Color: the person with an outgoing emotional disposition piles up a considerable Color score. To use both Form and Color indicates integration of objective and emotional tendencies. To give numerous Form-Color responses (Form being the primary determinant, and Color the secondary) indicates control, but control with some appreciation of affective realities; to give numerous Color-Form responses, Color being dominant, is likely to mean loss of control through dominating affect. A person with a rich inner life typically has a high Human Movement score. A richly intuitive, subtle, responsive person, the very gifted or artistic, typically gives many responses of both Color and Human Movement."
MURPHY, G., 1947, Personality: a Biosocial Approach to Origins
and Structure.
New York : Harper & Brothers.

"By the prescience of the founder setting what was then, so far as I know, a wholly unique precedent, the Rhodes scholar is selected without any form of written examination {and without the involvement of psychologists}. ....They have statistics in the United States, comparing the past university careers of a hundred Rhodes scholars with a hundred possessing the highest intelligence quotient (I apologize for the detestable but fashionable phrase), and the comparison is markedly in favour of the Rhodes scholars."
Lord Elton, 1948, in a House of Lords debate about the selection procedures followed by the Civil Service Selection Board. Quoted by C.P.BLACKER, 1952, Eugenics: Galton and After. London : Duckworth.

"The choice of whether or not to measure IQ has been taken from the profession of psychology. Such decisions are being made in the courtroom, and in local authority education committees."
C.S.McLOUGHLIN & T.H.KOH, 1982,
Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 35.

"Over half [of British forensic psychologists, as surveyed] stated that they were generally 'extensively' cross-examined on their evidence in court. Fifty (28%) had been asked to disclose detailed information about psychological tests beyond the overall test findings."
G.H.GUDJONSSON, 1985, Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 38.

"....last week the [American] Supreme Court held, for the first time ever, that federal judges may set goals and timetables requiring employers guilty of past discrimination to hire or promote specific numbers of minorities, even if the jobs go to people who are not themselves the proven victims of bias."
F.TRIPPETT, 1986, Time, 14 vii.

"....last month, Georgia became the first State to require school districts to use kindergarteners' scores on "readiness tests" in deciding whether to promote them to first grade. Virginia already uses them to let children into kindergarten."
Edward B. FISKE, 1988, New York Times (Education Life, Section 12), 10 iv.

"Masters of Fox Hounds are....rather peculiar people, according to a study done by Professor Hans Eysenck in 1971. Their social attitudes are pretty fierce, and very strongly influenced by their hunting ethos. They are in favour of the death penalty, in favour of flogging in prison, and in favour of war rather than foreign occupation. They also believe in contradictory things.... They like Jews, because Jews have made good fox-hunters, but haven't much time for "coloureds" of any description, since they are seldom seen on the field. They think "family life" is the most important social duty, but see nothing wrong with adultery."
Mary KENNY, 1989, Sunday Telegraph, 29 i.

"We believe that the robustness of the 5-factor model [of personality] provides a meaningful framework for formulating and testing hypotheses relating individual differences in personality to a wide range of criteria in personnel psychology, especially in the subfields of personnel selection, performance appraisal, and training and development."
M.R.BARRICK & M.K.MOUNT, 1991, Personnel Psychology 44.

"I like the [interview] question for over-40-year-olds in Britain: "At what age did you first travel abroad?" It is a potentially high-yield question because it can pick up a lot: the wealth of the parents; the extent to which they were internationally minded; the first exposure to "foreigners" etc.... My own favourite question is one with high yield and I have a pet theory for why it works. The question is pretty simple: ["How do you like to be complimented?"].... A favourite compliment reveals what one values and also what one is not quite certain about."
Adrian FURNHAM (Reader in Psychology, U.C.L.) 1992, 'A really good question'.

"I....anticipate more extensive use [in assessment] of the 5 basic dimensions of character and personality that have evolved empirically from a line of enquiry first suggested by Galton [and McKeen Cattell, 1890, 'Mental tests and measurements', Mind] a century ago. Such dimensions were studied 50 years ago by G.W.Allport and recently were reviewed, improved and further extended by Goldberg (1990, J. Person. 59), preferably after the more meticulous testing of their theoretical underpinnings as suggested by Eysenck (1991, 'Dimensions of personality', Person. & Indiv. Diffs. 12)."
J.D.MATARAZZO, 1992, 'Psychological testing and assessment in the 21st century.' American Psychologist 47.

"Percept-genetic methods expose....unconscious processes of perception by the serial presentation of a stimulus, first below the threshold of perception and then at gradually decreasing speeds in a tachistoscope.... Distortions and changes in [testees'] descriptions of the stimuli through the series of presentations are held to reflect the inner conflicts and experiences of the individual which affect perception.... In the Defence Mechanism Test [U.Kragh, 1985], in each card there is a hero figure, an attribute of the hero and a threat figure, a hideous face in the periphery of the picture.... in distortions to the percept during the series of presentations we can see how the subjects deal with threats....
The D.M.T. scores [are]:
Repression. The hero or the threat figure is....not human.
Isolation. The [figures] are separated or isolated; one [is] not seen.
Denial. The threat is emphatically denied.
Reaction-formation. The threat is turned into its opposite (e.g. smiling)
Identification with the aggressor. The hero becomes the aggressor.
Turning against the self. The hero or his attribute is damaged or worthless; the attribute becomes a threat to the hero....
[Studies] show that the D.M.T. could be valid, but this is a long way from showing that it is."
Paul KLINE, 1993, A Handbook of Psychological Testing. London : Routledge.

"....the Supreme Court has proved itself to be malleable to the logic of racial preferences.... so far [US] courts have shown themselves willing to impose on both the private and public sector an imaginative array of remedial regulations including numerical quotas, one-for-one promotion ratios, score adjustments on tests, abandonment of tests, and alternate hiring and promotion procedures.... private companies....have proved generally invertebrate in resisting government pressures."
Dinesh D'SOUZA, 1995, The End of Racism. New York : Free Press.



Doubts about testers and testing


"It is....difficult to place the mental-tester-statistician within the field of psychology as we have attempted to outline it. One is tempted to believe, at times, that this type of person is not working in the field of psychology at all."
William Moulton MARSTON, 1928, Emotions of Normal People.
London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.

"....it is difficult in the face of [our] summary [of the validity of personality tests] to advocate with a clear conscience the use of personality measures in most situations as a basis of making employment decisions about people."
R.M.GUION & R.F.GOTTILER, 1965, Personnel Psychology 18.

"We now understand how supervisory and other social skills work, what the most effective skills are, and how they can be trained."
Michael ARGYLE, 1972, The Social Psychology of Work. London : Allen Lane.

"At present there seems to be little justification for Eysenck's suggestions that psychiatrists, educationalists or parole boards should base their recommendations for treatment, teaching or probation on measures of Extraversion, Neuroticism or Psychoticism. The questionnaires which Eysenck has developed may continue to be useful tools for personality investigations; but their practical value in relation to groups or individuals remains to be demonstrated."
D.PECK & D.WHITLOW, 1975, Approaches to Personality.
London : Methuen.

"It is unfortunate but true that most (American) employers can no longer successfully plan, implement, and defend a valid selection procedure without the services of an industrial psychologist and a lawyer."
F.J.LANDY & D.A.TRUMBO, 1980, The Psychology of
Work Behavior
. Homewood, Illinois : Dorsey.

"Several public speeches by the present leaders [of Iran]....have specifically identified psychology as one of the 'instruments of Western Imperialism', and as one of the 'tools of the CIA used to advance colonialism'."
C.AGAHI & C.SPENCER, 1982, Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 35.

"Savaged in the USA by equal opportunity legislation with its demand that tests be job-related, the personality test is in its death-throes as a 'scientific' selection tool."
R.J.STONE, 1985, Human Resource Management Australia, xi.

"....these secrets [of how to obtain a higher score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T.), revealed in Cracking the System] undermine the pretension that the S.A.T. measures anything important." M.KINSLEY, 1986, The Times, 20 ix.

"Psychologists may be guilty of using test evidence as a legitimator of professional authenticity."
M.A.PORTEOUS, 1986, International Review of Applied Psychology 35.

"Marx hoped that one day the state would simply wither away, no longer needed and hardly missed. In my personal millennial vision, I imagine the apparatus of intelligence testing as eventually becoming unnecessary, its waning unmourned. An hour-long standardized test may at certain points in history have served as a reasonable way of indicating who should be performing better at school, or who is capable of military service; but as we come to understand the variety of roles and the variety of ways in which scholastic or military accomplishment can come about, we need far more differentiated and far more sensitive ways of assessing what individuals are capable of accomplishing. In place of standardized tests, I hope that we can develop environments (or even societies) in which individuals' natural and acquired strengths would become manifest: environments in which their daily solutions of problems or fashioning of products would indicate clearly which vocational and avocational roles most suit them."
Howard GARDNER, 1986, in R.J.Sternberg & D.K.Detterman,
What is Intelligence? Norwood, New Jersey : Ablex.

"There may....be a psychological analogue of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle which leads a subject to treat all [psychometric] testing situations as special cases, thus rendering important private rules inapplicable."
George AINSLIE, 1986, in J.Elster,
The Multiple Self. Cambridge University Press.

"Pre-contest instructions which emphasize immediate effort rather than stable ability characteristics produce better performance in competitive sports [Grove & Pargman, 1987, J. Sports Psychol.]."
Psychology News 2, 1, p.18.

"[I gradually realised] the truth of the analytic proposition most clearly articulated by Jacques Lacan (1951) that once you had started on the path of objectifying the psychological attributes of the individual before you, whether by a W.A.I.S. or an M.M.P.I. or even a Rorschach, there was no way that you could enter into the sort of dialogue that allowed that person to articulate his or her own subjective position. And that in the absence of such a dialogue there was no way that the individual could begin to overcome that alienation of his or her desire which from the psychoanalytic point of view is at the root of the suffering that had brought them to you."
Carmac GALLAGHER, 1987, Irish Journal of Psychology 8.

"Nobody would deny the importance of objective recording of behaviour; but, in my experience, this is the aspect of the behavioural approach which teachers find irksome."
K.WHELDALL, 1987, Journal of Child Psychol. & Psychiatry 28.

"In New York State, the legislature decreed in 1987 that Scholastic Aptitude Test scores could no longer be the sole basis for awarding state scholarship prizes. The new arrangement required that high school grades be used along with SATs. This legislature imposed this requirement in the wake of a lawsuit complaining that the SAT must be biased because men had been outscoring women.... The suit was brought by a coalition of feminist and anti-testing activists...."
Daniel SELIGMAN, 1992, A Question of Intelligence:
the IQ Debate in America.
New York : Carol (Birch Lane).

"J.Potter and Margaret Wetherell [in Discourse in Social Psychology: beyond Attitudes and Behaviour] rehearse the reasons why it is a mistake to think that a person has attitudes in the same way that she or he might have rheumatism or a big nose. The idea is to move us away from methods whose assumptions are uncritically mentalist. Questionnaires, for example, are to be distrusted because they are very obviously a long way removed from the interactional, dynamic battle-ground of the normal exchange of opinions.... You might hear someone say "black people are a cheerful bunch" and, on the face of it, take it to be a "pro- attitude"; but what does it mean to classify people according to their "blackness", why did the speaker use the term "bunch", and what did the speaker say next -"that's why they don't mind a bit of unemployment"?"
Charles ANTAKI, 1988, Times Higher Educational Supplement, 8 i.

"Industrial and vocational psychology were promoted by industrialists like Mond (of I.C.I) to legitimise the stratification between managers and workers in industry, to improve efficiency, to cut down in hours lost in sickness and fatigue. Particularly after the economic crisis of 1931, social hygienists attempted to provide the techniques which might permit careful discrimination between individuals.... Out of tune with the post-war situation of full employment and anti-eugenicism in the Nazi aftermath, social hygiene appeared to have spent its force by the late 1940's. But [there is a question of whether] we may not be seeing the resurrection of the social hygienist in the programmes of the New Right."
Janet THOMAS, 1988, The Sociological Review 36.

"....the intelligence testing movement at the beginning of this century was not simply like Nazism in its racialist aspects-it was its ideological progenitor."
J.RUST & Susan GOLOMBOK, 1989, Modern Psychometrics.
London : Routledge.

"Assume 30 test scales, a single criterion [of job performance to be predicted], and a sample of 50. Ignoring sign, the expected value (by chance)....of the largest correlation is .34.... ....when population correlations are all zero, the expected value of the multiple correlation coefficient between 30 predictors and one criterion on a sample of subjects is .77.... We see precious little evidence that even the best [self-report] personality tests predict job performance."
S.BLINKHORN & C.JOHNSON, 1990, 'The insignificance
of personality testing.' Nature 348, pp. 671-2.

"Given my wish to seduce Chloe, it was essential that I find out more about her.... ....I blundered with heavy-handed, interview-like questions; What do you like to read? ('Joyce, Henry James, Cosmo if there's time'), Do you like your job? ('All jobs are pretty crappy, don't you think?').... Behind such clumsy questions (with every one I asked, I seemed to get further from knowing her), there was an impatient attempt to get to the most direct question of all, 'Who are you?' (and hence 'Who should I be?'). But such a direct approach was naturally doomed to failure, and the more bluntly I pursued it, the more my subject escaped through the net, letting me know what newspaper she read and music she liked, but not thereby enlightening me as to 'who' she was- a reminder, if ever one needed it, of the 'I''s capacity to elude itself."
Alain de Botton, 1993, Essays in Love. London : Macmillan.

"Although anatomically detailed dolls are becoming the most commonly used tool in the validation of sexual abuse allegations, their use is not without significant problems....The current lack of an empirically based psychometric foundation does not support the use of the dolls in validation interviews, nor the admissibility of doll-based evidence in legal proceedings."
Linda J. SKINNER & K. K. BERRY, 1993, Law & Human Behavior 17.

"Exponents [of psychometric testing] invariably stress....that....tests can be misleading unless expertly supervised: "They won't work unless you pay me to be there." And are they really sure that the tests can't be sabotaged by bogus responses?"
Richard STANLEY, 1995, The Times (Education), 24 viii.







"....it will be found that every worker, however much he may be disposed to deprecate the use of tests, is really working with some scheme of his own."
M. HAMBLIN SMITH, 1922, The Psychology of the Criminal.

"Tests do not create [social] problems, they merely quantify them."
H.J.EYSENCK, 1979.

"....it is safe to say that substantially different validities [of tests] for majority and minority samples are probably a lot less common than we [American psychometricians of the 1970's] thought."
F.J.LANDY & D.A.TRUMBO, 1980, The Psychology of Work Behavior.
Homewood, Illinois : Dorsey.

"We found little support for the claim that test information is especially likely to have a detrimental effect in the expectancy process in the case of children from low socio-economic backgrounds.... teachers' ratings of pupils are more often raised than lowered when they have access to test information."
T.KELLAGHAN et al., 1982, The Effects of
Standardized Testing
. London : Kluwer-Nijhoff.

"....political perspective and a host of other demographic and background variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and childhood family income are poor predictors of expert opinion about testing.... Despite the fact that [our] data indicate our sample is slightly left-of-center politically, these experts hold generally favorable attitudes towards testing."
M.SNYDERMAN & S.ROTHMAN, 1986, Public Interest 83.

"Social policies will be most effective if we base them on objective knowledge of reality."
Bernard D. DAVIS, 1986 Storm over Biology: Essays on Science, Sentiment, and Public Policy. Buffalo, NY : Prometheus Books.

"....despite the decline in interest among academics, the practical application of psychometric measures is flourishing."
Clive FLETCHER, 1987, Journal of Occupational Psychology 60.

"Assessment [of ability], it seems [according to Anti-Racist Science Teaching], is merely an "oppressive, class-based, racist labelling system". By explaining success and failure in examinations in terms of the abilities of the children rather than the iniquities of the system, [ability-testing] encourages competition, perpetuates a racist society, and distracts pupils from the issue which ought to obsess them-the common struggle of working-class children, whether black or white, against capitalist oppression. Unfortunately, Anti-Racist Science Teaching tells us nothing about the day-to-day educational experiences of West Indian and Asian children."
Adrian WOOLDRIDGE, 1987, Times Literary Supplement, 4-10 xii.

"My requirement as a test user is that any measure of intelligence should have construct validity, content validity and, most important, predictive validity. "Intelligence in the broadest non-scientific sense", [a concept preferred by Dr M.J.A.Howe, a critic of the use of conventional intelligence tests in graduate selection], has none of these qualities, so I see no point in allowing that red herring into the discussion."
D.C.DUNCAN, 1988, The Psychologist 1.

"Even if we refuse to measure differences in mental ability, they will still be spotted and recognized, because nothing will stop people from observing and judging one another. What will be lost, however, is any accuracy and impartiality in these assessments. We shall also fail to recognize potential that is not always shown in early performance."
V.SEREBRIAKOFF, 1988, A Guide to Intelligence and
Personality Testing
. Carnforth, Lancashire : Parthenon.

"....the figure of .15 [for the typical validity of personality measures] quoted in the British Psychological Society Steering Committee document Guidance for the [Test] User is nonsense, and professionally damaging nonsense at that!"
John D. HANDYSIDE, 1990, The Psychologist 3.


The advantages of testing-with examples


"The idea, naive though it might seem, that honest accounts by ordinary persons of their ideas and feelings about sex might contribute to discovering 'the truth' about the subject....represented a democratisation of knowledge, and a move away from religious or medical prescription."
R.PORTER & L.HALL, 1995, The Facts of Life: the Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain, 1650-1950. Yale University Press.

"We have, each one of us, an essential inner nature that is instinctoid, intrinsic, given, "natural", i.e. with an appreciable hereditary component.... Authentic selfhood can be defined in part as being able to hear [the] impulse-voices within oneself, i.e. to know what one really wants or doesn't want, what one is fit for and what one is not fit for."
Abraham MASLOW, 1968, Towards a Psychology of Being.
New York : Van Nostrand.

"There is no shortage of tasks to be undertaken by measurement-oriented differential psychologists. Society urgently needs the psychologists' tools both to administer a socialized economy which adequately caters for and capitalizes upon diversity, and to assess the effect...."
John RAVEN (researcher with Scottish Council for Research in Education), 1979.

"Brogden (1949, Psychometrika 14) developed and set out a utility equation which is regarded as a landmark work on utility analysis (i.e. on quantifying the cost benefits of selection procedures):
Savings per employee per year = (r x SDy x Z) - (C/P)
where r is the validity of the test or selection procedure (r being a correlation);
SDy is the standard deviation of employee productivity....;
Z is the quality of the employee-the standard score on the test or selection procedure;
C is the cost of selection per applicant; and
P is the proportion of applicants selected....
Schmidt and Hunter (1981 Amer.Psychologist), using rational estimates, showed that an employer with 5000 workers might save annually $18 million by using psychological tests. Large employers such as the U.S. government could save up to $16 billion. Of course, since not every company by definition can employ the best workers gains for companies are unlikely to be as large as this. However it is clear that by using valid tests there are considerable savings."
Paul KLINE, 1993, A Handbook of Psychological Testing. London : Routledge.

"Inspection Time procedures [involving brief tachistoscopic presentations] seem to allow repeated testing of subjects which may be helpful in making assessments of clinical progress, and of the effects of progressive diseases, normal ageing, and alcoholism in senior personnel in positions of responsibility. In view of the national drinking spree upon which Britain has lately embarked, the latter considerations have some social importance in times of high unemployment amongst young people."
C.R.BRAND & I.J.DEARY, 1982, in H.J.Eysenck,
A Model for Intelligence. New York : Springer.

"The early testers believed that tests would open doors to disadvantaged people, not close them. And that, by and large, is what tests have done, enabling millions of people from poor or deprived backgrounds to develop their abilities better than the circumstances of birth would otherwise have allowed." R.HERRNSTEIN, 1983, New Scientist, 28 vi.

"There can be no doubt that psychometrics is the most powerful psychological tool to be contributed to society so far, particularly in its capacity to predict academic performance and its use in personnel selection and evaluation."
A.GALE, 1983.

"Recent studies have shown that ability tests are valid across all jobs in predicting job proficiency.... if cognitive ability tests are combined with psychomotor ability tests, then the average validity is .53.... for entry-level jobs, predictors other than ability have validity so much lower that substitution would mean massive economic loss."
J.E. & R.F.HUNTER, 1984, Psychological Bulletin 96.

"Bentler & Newcomb's (1978) longitudinal study predicted that, after several years of marriage, those marriages still intact would have initially shown greater 'similarity of partners on personality traits....' than those who separated. Their data supported this hypothesis. At the time of their marriage, couples still married after four years had a positive correlation of +.19 on Extraversion, while those divorced had a negative correlation of -.25, the difference being significant."
P.F.MOFFITT et al., 1985, Personality & Individual Differences 6.

"Judgments about whether a situation [e.g. an opposite-sex instructor 'commenting on your clothes' or 'looking you up and down, or at your breast or crotch'] is sexually harassing were not related strongly to the [three] personality dimensions used here.... [However, with a correlation of .32] extraverts saw the situations as less sexually harassing than did introverts."
D.LESTER, et al., 1986, Psychological Reports 59.

"Of particular importance for the national economy is the fact that increases in productivity due to improved personnel selection [via intelligence tests] average several thousand dollars per worker per year employed in the jobs studied to date [e.g. F.L.Schmidt et al., 1986, Personnel Psychol.]. Cumulatively, this has the potential for increasing national productivity by some $80 billion per year. Even increases of lesser magnitude have obvious implications for the nation's economic health and competitiveness in the world market. Benefits also accrue to individual workers when they are employed in jobs appropriate to their abilities, because better job performance and fewer failures on the job can be expected to enhance self-esteem."
J.HAWK, 1986, Journal of Vocational Behavior 29.

"A sizeable literature on social interaction suggests that people matched in cognitive style [i.e. in Hy Witkin's 'field independence versus field-dependence'] are more likely than mismatched people to develop interpersonal attraction - in the context of psychotherapy, as well as in other forms of social inter-play (Oltman, 1980). Thus, college room-mates who had similar cognitive styles were more satisfied with the arrangement than those who were dissimilar in style. More patients treated by therapists who differed from them in cognitive style dropped out of therapy by the end of two months, compared to patients treated by therapists who shared their cognitive style."
Sheldon J. KORCHIN, 1986, in M.Bertini et al.,
Field Dependence in Psychological Theory, Research and
Application
. Hillsdale, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum.

"Companies are becoming more and more conscious that it is very costly nowadays to make a selection mistake. There is a lot of evidence around to show that using psychometric techniques helps to avoid these mistakes being made."
Mr Euan WOODWARD (Scottish regional manager, PA
International, the management recruitment company), 1987.
Interviewed by A.Laing, Glasgow Herald, x, No.227.

"It appears that job requirement estimates [e.g. for mechanical ability] derived from [E.J.McCormich's] Position Analysis Questionnaire....are related to the mean ability levels of incumbents [as judged by the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery]. This is an exciting finding because it suggests the capability to estimate ability requirements by using job elements which are common to many jobs.... one could synthesize jobs which would correspond to given ability levels, and which would meet constraints imposed by technology, manpower costs, personnel availability and the purpose of the job."
R.C.CARTER & R.J.BIERSNER, 1987, Journal of Occupational Psychology 60.

"The mind is like the body. You can build up an awful lot of strength and fitness simply by hard work. But when it comes to being the best, to being Sebastian Coe or Daley Thompson, that is something you have to be born with. There's nothing wrong with working on improving your weaknesses. But, ultimately, the best thing is to work out what you were born to excel at, and then make sure that you are working in the right area."
Peter SAVILLE (one of the UK's top management consultants; Director of Saville & Holdsworth Ltd), 1988, Sunday Telegraph (Color Supplement), 29 v.

"....we report data showing: (a) that extraversion correlates .51 with teaching effectiveness [as judged by university students]; (b) that this relationship is mediated by specific classroom behaviours [i.e. extraverted instructors speak in a dramatic, expressive, modulated way; they smile, laugh and tell jokes while teaching; and they exhibit more facial gestures and maintain more eye-contact with students]; and....(d) that training on specific classroom behaviours improves teaching effectiveness."
J.P.RUSHTON, et al., 1987, Person. & Indiv. Differences 8.

"One of the tragic facts to emerge from Project Talent, a survey conducted on 450,000 secondary students throughout the United States, was that parents are not at all good at spotting talents in their own children. Only 17 per cent of the parents of highly gifted children desired a higher level of education for their own children. Even worse, 18 per cent of the parents, as a whole, set their ambitions for the education of their children at very low levels or had no ambition for them at all. The failure of parents to stimulate gifted children leads to an enormous waste of talent.... Tests save time, money, unfairness, unhappiness and mistakes."
V.SEREBRIAKOFF, 1988, A Guide to Intelligence and
Personality Testing
. Carnforth, Lancashire : Parthenon.

"M.R.Lee (1986, B.A. Thesis, University College Cork), using Cattell's 16PF, found seven of the sixteen personality factors to account for over thirty per cent of the variance in programming ability. The dominant personality characteristic [of successful programmers] was conscientiousness.... The successful programmer also tends to be assertive, independent-minded and individualistic."
Deirdre M FITZGERALD, 1988, B.A. Thesis in Psychology,
Dept Psychology, University College Cork.

"Styles of loving were correlated with neuroticism and extraversion scores. The manic style of love [involving intense emotion, excitement and preoccupation] was significantly associated [r = .58] with neuroticism; while ludic [competitive, conquest-oriented, uncommitted] and erotic [beauty-based, physical, sensual, perfection-venerating] love were associated [each at r = .31] with extraversion."
D.LESTER & J.PHILBRICK, 1988, Personality & Individual Differences 9.

"[Our] results are in accordance with previous studies....[in finding] that high sensation-seekers tolerate and prefer high intensity and/or complexity in music and stimulation in general....and that, for instance, high sensation-seeking females [report] a preference for activities centred around alcohol, sexually explicit materials and rock music.... The size of the significant correlations [7 out of 16 r's were significant] appear to suggest that personality-in this case sensation-seeking- accounts for between ten and fifteen per cent of the variance when it comes to art preferences."
A.FURNHAM & Melinda BUNYAN, 1988, European Journal of Personality 2.

"[I have conducted] a two-year descriptive research study on the therapeutic effects of psychological testing with bilingual Hispanic children in the U.S..... Several key pathways of impact were identified, including the re-framing function of assessment, where dysfunctional behaviors are re-identified with a positive, developmental conceptualization; a boundary re-drawing function, where the tester can introduce disempowered family members and cut-off historical and cultural factors; and a therapeutic function of testing as intense, dyadic attention."
R.RUTH (Arlington Mental Health Center, Virginia), 1988,
to 24th Internat. Congress of Psychology, Sydney, (F706).

"In many situations the economic benefits of decisions based on testing are very substantial, and surprising even to those who favor their use."
Douglas N. JACKSON (University of Western Ontario), 1988,
to 24th Internat. Congress of Psychology, Sydney, (S668).

"(In recent research) Scale L, Suspiciousness, of [Cattell's] Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire predicts coronary death in the Duke Longitudinal Study."
P.T.COSTA & R.R.McCRAE, 1989, in A.Siegman & T.M.Dembroski,
In Search of Coronary-Prone Behaviour. Hillsdale, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum.

"External locus of control is associated with a higher incidence of romantic feeling than is internal control. People of low self-esteem fall in love less often but more intensely than people of high self-esteem...."
G.D.WILSON, 1989, Person. & Indiv. Diffs. 10. (Reviewing
R.J.Sternberg & M.L.Barnes, The Psychology of Love.)

"Marital dissatisfaction in a sample of married couples was associated with one's own neuroticism score, and with one's partner's extraversion score."
D.LESTER et al., 1989, Personality & Individual Differences 10.

"Research at Dundee University by Dr Philip Seymour showed [different] children learn to read in different ways. Some identify words by looking at individual letters, and others learn by recognizing words as a whole. Dr Seymour said the best assistance in the classroom clearly depended on finding out the way a child wanted to learn."
Douglas BROOM (education reporter), 1989, The Times, 9 ix.

"The personality characteristics of 41 professional prostitutes in Brussels [were examined by M.M.P.I.].... In some contrast to prior research findings, the prostitute group was significantly more deviant on several indicators of psychopathology [especially of psychoticism].... An appreciable number of women in this profession are in need of psychological treatment."
Dirk De SCHAMPHELEIRE, 1990, Journal of Personality Assessment 54.

"Subjects were 181 applicants who participated in a personnel selection procedure carried out by a Dutch staffing organisation. ....personality traits had several significant and hypothesized longitudinal effects on the job experience criteria....For example, Sensation-Seeking predicted job strain and propensity to leave, especially in highly structured and not very autonomous jobs."
P.TH. van den BERG & J.A.FEIJ, 1993,
European Journal of Personality 7.

"A survey was....carried out of 178 senior full-time drama students [ages 18-42] at six London colleges: 9.6% reported stage fright to be a severe problem, while 36.7% considered it to be a moderate problem. Levels of stage fright were higher in women than in men, but were not associated with age or years of acting experience. Stage fright was positively correlated with neuroticism and negatively associated with extraversion."
A.STEPTOE et al., 1995, British Journal of Psychology 86.

"Twenty-three male bodyguards (mean = 30.35 years, s.d. = 2.91) from the Autonomous Province of Catalunya were administered....the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Ss volunteered and answered the battery anonymously during a summer course. Three subjects were disregarded from the statistical analysis due to high scores on the L scale. In their EPQ scores, the Ss showed high scores on E and low scores on N, P and L."
G.I.FREIXANET et al., 1995, from the abstract of an address to International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, meeting in Warsaw.

"....about 60% of the working population is above the intelligence level (IQ 100) required for adequate performance as a bank teller. If a bank hired randomly, the odds of successful performance would be 1.5:1 [from 60:40]. If the bank selected applicants based on a test with a predictive validity of only .30 (and hired half the applicants), the odds of success would rise to over 2:1 (69:31). Switching to a test with a validity of .45 [many g-type tests are available] would raise the odds to 3:1 (74:26)..... a predictive validity of .4 means that using the selection battery can achieve up to 40% of the gains that would be possible by using a perfectly valid test (predictive validity of 1.0)."
Linda S. GOTTFREDSON (University of Delaware),
1995, 'Why g matters.'

"Scores on intelligence tests predict various measures of job performance: supervisor ratings, work samples, etc. Such correlations, which typically lie between r=.30 and r=.50, are partly restricted by the limited reliability of those measures themselves. They become higher when r is statistically corrected for this unreliability: in one survey of relevant studies (Hunter, 1983), the mean of the corrected correlations was .54."
Extract from Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns - Report of a Task Force established by the Board of the Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association, 1995. Washington, DC : APA Science Directorate.









"No significant correlations were found between mysticism and the scales of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (E.P.Q.), nor could mysticism be predicted by multiple regression, either by the E.P.Q. scales with sex and age, or by the E.P.Q. scales controlling for sex and age."
D.CAIRD, 1987, British Journal of Social Psychology 26.

"National external testing would destroy the child-centred curriculum and distort primary education. [According to an education office of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation,] "It is totally inappropriate in predicting later academic or life attainments." He urged delegates [to the union's annual congress] to continue to assess pupils' progress at class level. The child's teacher was in the best position to evaluate the child's learning potential and achievement."
The Irish Times, 30 iii 1989.

"In the Barrick and Mount (1991, Personnel Psychology) study, described as demonstrating that measures of conscientiousness are "systematically related" to (occupational) performance and are "valid predictors of performance, the reported estimated true correlations ranged from .20 to .23 (M = .22) across five occupational groups! In the Schmidt, Ones and Hunter (1992) review of the literature, these were described as "moderate" correlations.... Turning to the issue of incremental validity (for Big 5 assessments) over cognitive measures, reference is made to the McHenry et al. (1990, Personnel Psychology) study of the prediction of performance on nine Army jobs... The incremental validity of adding Temperament/Personality measures to General Cognitive Ability measures ranged from .02 to .21.... [and] the personality measures did not show incremental validities over the measures of cognitive ability for the measures of core job proficiency."
Lawrence A. PERVIN, 1994, Psychological Inquiry 5.







Alternatives to testing?


"Despite the fact that we worked with some of the best astrologers in the country, recommended by the advising astrologers for their expertise in astrology and in their ability to use the California Psychological Inventory (C.P.I.), despite the fact that every reasonable suggestion made by the advising astrologers was worked into the experiment, despite the fact that the astrologers approved the design and predicted 50% as the 'minimum' effect they would expect to see, astrology failed to perform at a level better than chance."
S.CARLSON, 1985, Nature, 5 xii.

"[Some French] company directors resort to esoteric consultancy groups which offer astrological solutions to problems. The horoscopes of employees are compared to ensure that there will be no friction among staff members. Asked why a company's managerial staff was not working as smoothly as it should, Daniele Rousseau, an astrologer who is often consulted on such matters, said 'Your only difficulty is a lack of Leos.'"
Robin SMYTH, 1989, The Guardian, c. 1 vi.

"....the image of graduate interviewer decision-making which emerges from [our] study is not an encouraging one. Interviewers were prone to several errors in information-processing, the combined effect of which is almost certainly to reduce the predictive validity of outcome assessments.... perceptual links between candidate behaviour, especially non-verbal behaviours [looking and smiling], and interviewer impressions of personality constitute the chain of reasoning underlying interviewer impression formation."
N.ANDERSON & V.SHACKLETON, 1990,
Journal of Occupational Psychology 63.

"'I know [astrology is] questionable', said a 40-something female acquaintance-a city executive. 'But we're all into it now. It's what joining the Social Democratic Party was ten years ago.'.... During the 1930's there was a horoscope column in the People by Edward Lyndo called 'What the Stars Foretell'. Not much, as it turned out, since one morning in 1939 Lyndo told his readers: 'There will be no war.' Two hours later Chamberlain was on the radio, bringing us the bad news."
Petronella WYATT, 1993, 'Signs of the times'. The Spectator, 6 iii.

"According to Professor Lievens of the University of Ghent, not one [test of the accuracy of graphology] has shown a statistically significant correlation between a given handwriting quirk and a particular temperamental characteristic. In fact, the correlation coefficient is not merely too small to be statistically significant, it is actually zero. Professional graphologists do not attempt to deny those results. They try to explain them away instead: 'The problem is that the tests were done by psychologists,' says Renna Nezos, 'and they hate us because they think we're a threat. They also used fraudulent graphologists....' Reliable or not, graphology is growing. Further integration with Europe will mean more British firms will copy their continental counterparts and start treating a graphological analysis as an integral part of the selection process. But those of you with terrible handwriting should not despair. You can always enlist in a course of graphotherapy. According to the graphologists, it works."
Alasdair PALMER, 1993, The Spectator, 2 x.

"An astrology that can be taken seriously by sceptics and believers alike is rare. Building on the foundations laid by French statistician, Michel Gauquelin, the writers Professor Peter Roberts and Helen Greengrass have produced such a book [The Astrology of Time Twins, Pentland Press].... The Time Twins Project analysed the lives of 17 people, all born on 14 November 1948.... [However,] the gods seem to have deserted Roberts and Greengrass. Looking at [the time twins'] wide variety of professions, preferences, lifestyles and hobbies, you would have thought they had taken a random sample from a cross-section of the (general) population."
Daniel CAUTE, 1994, The Spectator, 10 ix.

"....many interviews include dubious psychological booby-traps, such as the interviewee being made uncomfortable simply to test this assertiveness. Strategic seating arrangements are common: it's up to you to drag your chair closer to your interviewer when faced with conducting the discussion from 20 feet away. A meeting with a finance house involved my being grilled by interviewers on either side of me. What was achieved, apart from giving me Wimbledon neck? Perhaps it was a test of my reaction to pressure but it betrayed more about the interviewers than it revealed about me."
Richard STANLEY, 1995, The Times (Education), 24 viii.

"....most references are pretty worthless, and virtually all are deeply suspect. Sure, everyone knows that referees chosen or nominated by the candidates are likely to be biased. But that's not the only danger. Put yourself in the referrer's shoes, especially if the worker in question is yours, and a complete dud. What a temptation to craft a positive recommendation in the hope that someone else will inherit your problem!"
Adrian FURNHAM, 1995, The Asian Wall Street Journal, 1 xi.

"Numerous empirical studies have shown that astrology is humbug-the Gauquelin effects are irrelevant to conventional astrology, may be interpretable as merely the effects of being born at different times of the year, and may in any event be artefacts-but the studies were pointless anyway, because the theory is self-evidently ridiculous. Mars is associated with aggression because it is red, but we now know that this is not because of the presence of blood but rather of iron-rich clay of the type we have used on earth for building red-brick universities; Venus represents love and beauty because it looks soft and pale, but we now know that its white mist is made of sulphuric acid; the 12 astrological constellations are associated with personal qualities by virtue of their supposed resemblance to a ram, a bull, twins, and so on, but we now know that they would look quite different from another angle; and anyway they cannot have their claimed effects in far northern latitudes because some of the constellations never even rise there."
Andrew M. COLMAN, 1996, The Psychologist 9, viii.




Advice to testers


"The most fundamental wisdom consists in knowing the difference between what one can and what one cannot do."
Stoic maxim.

"Tests....can be but the beginning, never the end, of the examination of the child. To take a young mind as it is, and delicately, one by one, to sound its notes and stops, to detect the smaller discords and appreciate the subtler harmonies , is more of an art than a science."
Cyril BURT, 1921.

"It is one of the prevailing weaknesses of psychology that idiosyncratic devices for measuring personality dimensions are constantly being produced and used for no better reason than their novelty."
H.J.EYSENCK, 1975.

"[In a study of eighty children in Melbourne] there was a clear tendency for parents to over-estimate their children's empathy levels.... it was concluded that parents tend to look at their children through rose-coloured glasses."
R.H.COOK & A.D.KNOWLES 1988, to 24th International
Congress of Psychology, in Sydney, (F316).

"....the answers to the widely used technique of requiring 20 answers to the question 'Who are you?' depend on the imagined situation in which the answers are given."
M.SKINNER, 1987, British Psychological Society 78.

"St Paul counselled the Thessalonians to "test everything" and to "hold on to the good". To accept both these advices, and not just the first, is probably the beginning of psychometric wisdom."
C.R.BRAND, 1987, Times Higher Educational Supplement, 13 ii.

"There is....considerable evidence that personality traits are related to various occupational behaviours. For instance, in a recent extensive meta-analytic review of personality measures of job performance, Tett et al. (1991) concluded "contrary to conclusions of certain past reviewers, the present findings provide some grounds for optimism concerning the use of personality measures in employee selection.""
A.FURNHAM, 1992, Personality At Work: the Role of Individual Differences in the Workplace. London : Routledge.

"....cognitive abilities and their tests do indeed have very substantial relevance for....real-life behaviors, contrary to the widespread impression that was apparently created by an essay published by David McClelland (1973, Amer. Psychologist 28). As summarized by Barrett and Depinet, 1991, Amer. Psychologist 46), McClelland's claims were:
that grades in school do not predict occupational success or other important life outcomes;
that intelligence and aptitude tests do not predict occupational success;
that tests and academic performance predict job performance (if at all) only because of an underlying relationship with social status;
that tests are unfair to minorities; and
that "competencies" would be better able to predict important behaviors than would more traditional tests.
Barret & Depinet found only very limited support in the research literature for these claims; indeed, most of the research findings surveyed tended to support quite their opposite."
J.B.CARROLL, 1993, Human Cognitive Abilities. Cambridge University Press.

"....recent findings demonstrate quite clearly that some personality measures can provide substantial incremental validities over cognitive measures for the prediction of a variety of job-related criteria (McHenry et al., 1990, 'Project A validity results', Personnel Psychology 43)."
L.R.GOLDBERG, 1993, American Psychologist 48.



A cautionary tale

"A senior manager at Guy's Hospital, London, has resigned after it was reported that he had served a jail sentence for acting as a surgeon although he had never been medically qualified. He had carried out 26 operations, including an abortion and a vasectomy. Guy's Hospital's interview procedure for appointing managers includes two interviews and psychological testing."
'Headlines', British Medical Journal, 15 viii 1992.





Epilogue


"'Young people in business have a duty to themselves to know themselves [says Chris Salmon, managing director of Resource Maximisation International]. No young person can afford to risk being rejected because of weaknesses they were not aware of."
Excel Magazine, iv 1988.


"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan.
The proper study of mankind is Man."
Alexander POPE.






FINIS

(Compiled by Christopher Brand, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh.)



For more coverage of the pros and cons of
intelligence testing, see:
BRAND, C.R. (1996) The g Factor.
Chichester : Wiley DePublisher.

"The nature and measurement of intelligence is a political hot potato. But Brand in this extremely readable, wide-ranging and up-to-date
book is not afraid to slaughter the shibboleths of modern "educationalists". This short book provides a great deal for thought
and debate."
Professor Adrian Furnham, University College London.
The book was first issued, in February, but then withdrawn, in April, by the 'publisher' because it was deemed to have infringed modern canons of
'political correctness.'
It received a perfectly favourable review in Nature (May 2, 1996, p. 33).

For a Summary of the book, NewsLetters concerning the
de-publication affair, details of how to see the book for scholarly purposes, and others' comments and reviews,
see the Internet URL sites:
http://laboratory.psy.ed.ac.uk/DOCS/crb/internet.html
http://www.webcom.com/zurcher/thegfactor/index.html

For Chris Brand's 'Get Real About Race!'-his popular exposition of his views on race and education in the Black
hip-hop music magazine 'downlow' (Autumn, 1996)-see:
http://www.bhs.mq.edu.au/~tbates/intelligence/Brand_downlow.html




A reminder of what is available in other Sections of 'P, B & S.'
Summary Index
for PERSONALITY, BIOLOGY
& SOCIETY

(This resource manual of quotations about individual and group differences, compiled by
Mr C. R. Brand, is kept on the Internet and in Edinburgh University Psychology Department Library.)
Pages of Introduction
3 - 11 Full Index, indicating key questions in each Section.
12 - 14 Preface. - Why quotations? - Explanations and apologies.
15 - 51 Introduction: Questions, Arguments and Agreements in the study of Personality.
-
Some history, and a discussion of 'realism vs 'idealism.'
52 - 57 Introductory Quotes about the study of personality.
Sections
General problems
1 'Situational' vs 'personological' approaches to human variation.
2 'Nomothetic' vs 'idiographic', 'subjective' and relativistic approaches.
3 Personality dimensions-by factor analysis and otherwise.
4 'Superstructure' and 'infrastructure.' - The 'mind/body problem'.
5 Nature versus Nurture? - Or Nature via Nurture?
6 The role of consciousness in personality and 'multiple personality'.
7 The 'folk psychology' of personality components.
Intelligence
8 The measurement of intelligence. - Does g exist?
9 The bases of intelligence. - What is the psychology of g?
10 The developmental origins of g differences. - The nature and nurture of g.
11 The importance of intelligence. - The psychotelics of g.
12 Piagetianism: Kant's last stand?
13 Cognitivism: 'The Emperor's New Mind?'
Propensities
14 Neurosis, emotion and Neuroticism.
15 Psychosis, psychopathy and Psychoticism.
16 Crime and criminality.
17 Genius and creativity.
Popular proposals - psychoanalytic, phrenological and prophylactic
18 Psychoanalysis: 'Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire'?
19 Hemispherology: a twentieth-century phrenology?
20 Psycho-social Engineering: therapy, training or transformation?
Group differences
21 Age and ageing-especially, the role of g in 'life-span development'.
22 Psychological sex differences. - Do they exist? Must they exist?
23 Social class. - Does it matter any longer?
24 Racial and ethnic differences. - Their role in 'lifestyles' and cultural attainments.
Ideological issues
25 The psychology of politics and ideological extremism.
26 The politics of psychologists and allied co-workers.
27 Equality and Community: the 'utopian' package of political aims.
28 Freedom and Responsibility: the 'legitimist' package of political aims.
Pragmatic questions
29 Carry on differentializing?
30 Carry on psycho-testing?

Appendix: Factor Analysis. - 'Garbage in, garbage out'?
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