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Objective and Projective Test

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1.The historical use of the terms objective and projective to classify a personality test, and the problems with such classification. Since the beginning of mankind, there have been attempts to figure out how and why people differ. People who study personality traits tend to focus on various aspects of human behaviors such as, social interactions, development, learning, and culture. In addition, they study physiology, genetics, and pathology. They look at all aspects of being human and try to classify, organize, and understand them. Historically they have developed and used projective and objective test to put people into classifications. The two types of tests used to assess personality traits are projective and objective tests. Projective tests use questions that are open-ended and are relatively unstructured.

This allows the person being tested to have more freedom to respond in a more detailed manner. Objective tests are very different from projective tests. These tests are very structured questionnaires involving multiple choice, and true or false questions. The tests are scored in a standardized manner based on the assumption that people generally agree on the scores (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). These tests leave people very little freedom and choice when responding. The scoring is straight-forward and each answer receives a certain amount of points based on a point scale. Objective tests are a lot more valid and reliable than projective tests. Myer and Kurtz (2006) write, “Objective typically refers to instruments in which the stimulus is an adjective, proposition, or question that is presented to a person who is required to indicate how accurately it describes his or her personality” (p. 223).

They believe that projective typically refers to instruments in which the stimulus is a task or activity that is presented to a person, who is then required to generate a response with minimal external guidance or constraints imposed on the nature of the response (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006). In 1913, Hugo Munsterberg, a professor at Harvard University, developed the first personality test to help employers make the best hiring decisions. He surveyed organizations to see what qualities they wanted in employees, and he listed those merits and made an assessment using those desired abilities (Benjamin, 2006). The early origins of projective tests trace back to social motivations that have stimulated the need for the progression of rational ideas and scientific theories.

Modern personality tests started in the late 1900’s with Francis Galton, who inspired others, such as Carl Jung, to develop projective tests. Carl Jung’s word association test is a classic. Other well-known projective tests is the Rorschach ink blot test by Hermann Rorschach (1921) and the Thematic Apperception Test by Henry Murray and Christiana Morgan (1935). Three important figures in this development are Franz Gall, Francis Galton, and James McKeen Cattell (Butcher, 2010). Franz Gall’s theory of phrenology first suggested that mental activity is localized in the brain (Thorne & Thorne, 2005, p. 245). Francis Galton, a pioneer in the study of human differences, conducted experiments on mental processes. This included mental imagery and sensory abilities (Thorne & Thorne, 2005, p. 246). James McKeen Cattell’s work with “mental tests” catalyzed the “scientific basis” for clinical psychology. (Butcher, 2010).

While projective tests have some benefits, they also have a number of weaknesses and limitations. For example, the respondent’s answers can be heavily influenced by the examiner’s attitudes or the test setting. Scoring projective tests is also highly subjective, so interpretations of answers can vary dramatically from one examiner to the next. The terms projective and objective carry many unclear meanings, including some subtexts that are very misleading when applied to personality assessment tools and methods (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006). When it comes to objective tests, it is implied that they are accurate, precise, and resistant to biased influences. Scoring errors are another potential concern.

In reviewing the projective test, it is determined by Meyer and Kurtz (2006) that one‘s personality will not shine through with force and clarity regardless of the medium, the presence of the client’s responses confuses the efforts to interpret the test scores, and that is what the psychologists are most interested in interpreting (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006) In many cases, therapists use these tests to learn qualitative information about a client. Some therapists may use projective tests to encourage the client to discuss issues or examine thoughts and emotions. Additionally, projective tests that do not have standard grading scales tend to lack both validity and reliability. Validity refers to whether or not a test is measuring what it purports to measure, while reliability refers to the consistency of the test results (Cohen, et al., 2013) However, a major downfall to objective tests is that people can lie and fake their answers. An individual could easily check off all of the desirable answers containing traits that they wish they had, to make them look like a better person.

2.The suggestions made by the authors to refer to specific tests. Meyer and Kurtz (2006) are looking for alternative ways to better describe projective and objective, because they believe that the terms are out of date, and misleading. Objective terminology would better be described by using the terms, self-report inventory or patient-rated questionnaires. These terms have been applied almost exclusively to questionnaires that are completed by the client. These authors suggest that assessors should differentiate between self-report inventories and inventories completed by knowledgeable informants. “Given that sources of information in personality assessment are far from interchangeable,” it would be optimal to further differentiate all questionnaire methods by specifying the type of informant providing judgments” (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006, p. 224) It is difficult to identify a single term that would define the term projective, because of all of the diverse features of the test.

Some of the terms that Meyer and Kurtz (2006) devise are performance and behavioral tasks, constructive methods, free response measures, expressive personality tests, implicit methods, and attribute tests (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006). The problem is that psychologists have not come to an agreement on which term best describes these assessment tools. At least this terminology is better than projective to describe drawing one’s family, telling stories in response to pictures, and stating what an inkblot looks like. Meyer and Kurtz (2006) makes it clear when they state, “Applying a global and undifferentiated term to such a diverse array of assessment tasks seems akin to physicians classifying medical tests as either ‘visual tests’ or ‘nonvisual tests”, (p. 224, 2006). The author of this paper would have to agree that it is time to retire the terms projective and objective from our psychological vocabulary and use more specific terms to label assessment tools.

Select a personality test (you can use the Buros website to assist in your search) and discuss what type of data is provides, and how you might use this particular test to assess a client. Research your selected test using the Kaplan library, use a minimum of 3 peer reviewed references in your assignment. In your case discussion include at least a one paragraph discussion addressing the following: This student chose the Post-traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, the German version (PDS) (Ehlers, Steil, Winter, & Foa, 1997). This assessment tool was retrieved from the Buros web-site (http://marketplace.unl.edu/buros/employee-reliability-inventory.html). The PDS is a 49-item self-report measure that assesses trauma history, which includes all Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-IV) criteria for PTSD.

The PDS is a brief assessment that helps recognize the existence of PTSD in a client, the PDS is also an indicator of severity, and frequency of PTSD symptomology. The PTSD severity score is calculated by totaling the 17-items on the scale that assess the symptoms (APA, 2000). This assessment tool asks the participants to hand-write their answers to the questions. The first question addresses the onset of the trauma. The clients then answers four questions about the nature of the stressor. Lastly, they are asked to answer 17-items regarding the frequency that correlates to the symptoms in the DMS-IV (APA, 2002).

They composed an 8-item subset of the PDS and it is said to have values comparable to the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ), developed by (Berwin, 2005) and used in Germany to assess PTSD, The 8-item subset of the PDS includes two reoccurring items, four avoidance items, and four hyper-vigilance items (Korger & Kliem, 2014) Berwin (2005) concludes, with regard to other self-rated measures, that this subset comprised of the most predictive PDS items is shorter, but just as efficacious as the original 17-item version. The 8-item subset of the PDS appears to be a more economic screening tool that needs “to be examined in more heterogenic samples” (Korger & Kliem, 2014, p. 95) The PDS appears to be a good tool to assess PTSD, in that it measures what it is supposed to be measuring, it is practical, and economical. 1.Referral question for personality assessment

Serenity Lanes drug and alcohol treatment center has referred Mary to our firm to determine if she has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or clinical depression. She had completed a 30 day in-treatment drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, but still has presenting problems that are affecting her social and cognitive function. Serenity Lanes would like for our firm to determine her diagnoses in order to give her a better treatment plan. 2.Demographic information for your potential client

Mary is a 28 year old female. She is Caucasian. She lives in Bend, Oregon. Her income is at poverty level. She has been on social security disability for the last 3 years, and receives $721 per month. She lives with her boyfriend who provides her housing. She is on the Oregon Health Plan Plus, therefore, she qualifies for mental health care. Mary appears to be in fairly good health.

3.Background data regarding the client’s current level of functioning and presenting problem(s)

Mary has directly experienced a traumatic event in her life. She was 25 years old when her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. On the night of the accident her husband, Larry, had called her at work to get a ride home from his job. He had rode his motorcycle to work and it had started to snow, and he didn’t feel comfortable riding the bike home. Mary asked her boss if she could get off work 15 minutes early so that she could pick up her husband. Her boss said no. She told her husband she was not able pick him up because they were too busy at the restaurant, but if he would wait a few minutes then she could stop and pick him up. He only had a half an hour for his lunch break, he decided to go ahead of her and get something to eat before he had to start back to work.

Mary finished her shift. She hurried and bundled up to head out into the weather, hoping to pick up the kids, and make it home in time to see her husband during his lunch break. The snow was getting deep, and she worried about Larry riding home on the bike, and catching a cold. Mary came around the tight corner to her house, and all she could see were red flashing lights and ambulances. The road was blocked. What was going on, she thought to herself? She parked the car and got out to go find out from the police what the alternative route was to her home. Before the police could stop her, she first spotted their motorcycle lying on the side of the road, as she scanned the surroundings she saw her husband’s coat and ran to it. Underneath it was a faceless man. She dropped to her knees and didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t start CPR because there was no face to breathe into. She just wanted to breathe life back into him but she couldn’t.

There was so much blood. The more she tried to wipe it away the faster it came. The police finally caught up to her and removed her from the scene. Mary suffered deeply from her husband’s death. She had a hard time sleeping, and when she did she dreamed about the accident, and would wake-up in a cold sweat thinking that she was covered in blood. It seemed like all she did was think about the accident and how she was going to raise two children on her own. Mary began to have flash backs. She relived the traumatic event over and over again until the feelings she was having were unbearable. She began to self-medicate with wine. Mary had never used alcohol or drugs previous to the accident. She began to blame herself for what had happened. If she had only quit her job that night, and gone and picked her husband up, he would still be alive.

She ended up quitting her job a week after the accident, because she couldn’t function well enough to perform her work duties, and they would not give her any more than a week off from work. She is in a continual negative emotional state. She wanted justice for her husband but she got none. The killer wasn’t even arrested. She had ideations of killing the underage drunk driver that killed her husband, but she knew she wasn’t capable of such an act. Everything good in Mary’s life was slipping away. She could barely parent her children. She quit everything that she was involved in. She stopped going church, and playing on the softball league; she turned over her campfire girls’ group to another mother, and removed herself with the school where she previously was the head of the parent teachers association.

Mary began to go out partying and would black out from drinking too much and using too much cocaine. She slept with random people trying to fill and empty void, but nothing could replace what she had lost. She lost her husband that night and herself too. She was having reckless and self-destructive behavior that led to her losing her children to Child Protective Services. It was then that she entered a 30 day drug and alcohol program, as a condition to her children being returned to the home. Unfortunately, Mary is still having presenting problems. Although, Mary is sober she is not functioning at an optimum level. She has disturbances causing significant impairment in her social, occupational, and other areas of functioning.

Her nightmares are still haunting her and she is a recluse. Mary’s dissociative symptoms have worsened since the accident 3 years ago. She has recurrent experiences of feeling detached from reality. She believes that this incident did not happen to her. She states, “That this is just a bad dream”. She says, “She feels like she is an outside observer looking in on her life, but it does not seem real to her.” In addition, to Mary depersonalizing her world, she experiences her life in a dream like setting where nothing seems real, but she knows that it is. However, she is unable to grasp the reality of it. The firm administered the PDS and Mary presented with PTSD. This information was relayed to Serenity Lanes, and they have referred her back to our firm for counseling. The firm will suggest cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and Seeking Safety courses to help Mary recover from this traumatic experience.

American Psychiatric Association, (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author. Benjamin JR, L. T. (2006). Hugo Munsterberg’s Attack on the Application of Scientific Psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(2), 414-425. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.2.414 Berwin, C. R. (2005). Systematic review of screening instruments for adults at risk of PTSD. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 53-62. Buros Center for Testing. (2015, May 18). Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale. Retrieved from Buros Center for Testing: inventory.html

Butcher, J. N. (2010). Personality Assessment from the Nineteenth to the
Early Twenty-First Century: Past Achievements and Contemporary Challenges. The Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6(1-20). Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Sturman, E. (2013). Psychological Testing and Assessments: An Introduction to Tests and Measurement (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Ehlers, A., Steil, R., Winter, H., & Foa, E. B. (1997). Posttraumatische Diagnoseskala [Posttraumatic diagnosis scale]. , . Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebschohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/eds/dei Korger, C., & Kliem, S. (2014). Screening For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 30(2), 94-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000174 Meyer, G. J., & Kurtz, J. E. (2006). Advancing Personality Assessment Terminology: Time to Retire “Objective” and “Projective” As Personality Test Descriptors. Journal of Personality Assessment, 87(3), 223-225 New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

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