Thursday, August 01, 2013

George Washington University -- Psychological Testing -- Manifest Deficiencies

In May 1994 I underwent a comprehensive battery of psychological tests at The George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  The test evaluator prepared an eight-page report summarizing the results of the tests.

The superficiality of the GW test report is betrayed by a review of the specificity and detail that is disclosed by the Minnnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory:

The test evaluator stated that she scored the Rorschach Test according to the Exner scale.  The following is a description of the Exner Scoring System, detailing its precision and subtlety.  The GW test report lacks any of the precision that would be expected to be disclosed by an Exner analysis:

The Exner scoring system, also known as the Rorschach Comprehensive System (RCS), is the standard method for interpreting the Rorschach test. It was developed in the 1960s by Dr. John E. Exner, as a more rigorous system of analysis. It has been extensively validated and shows high inter-rater reliability.  In 1969, Exner published The Rorschach Systems, a concise description of what would be later called "the Exner system". He later published a study in multiple volumes called The Rorschach: A Comprehensive system, the most accepted full description of his system.
Creation of the new system was prompted by the realization that at least five related, but ultimately different methods were in common use at the time, with a sizeable minority of examiners not employing any recognized method at all, basing instead their judgment on subjective assessment, or arbitrarily mixing characteristics of the various standardized systems.

The key components of the Exner system are the clusterization of Rorschach variables and a sequential search strategy to determine the order in which to analyze them framed in the context of standardized administration, objective, reliable coding and a representative normative database. The system places a lot of emphasis on a cognitive triad of information processing, related to how the subject processes input data, cognitive mediation, referring to the way information is transformed and identified, and ideation.

In the system, responses are scored with reference to their level of vagueness or synthesis of multiple images in the blot, the location of the response, which of a variety of determinants is used to produce the response (i.e., what makes the inkblot look like what it is said to resemble), the form quality of the response (to what extent a response is faithful to how the actual inkblot looks), the contents of the response (what the respondent actually sees in the blot), the degree of mental organizing activity that is involved in producing the response, and any illogical, incongruous, or incoherent aspects of responses. It has been reported that popular responses on the first card include bat, badge and coat of arms.

Using the scores for these categories, the examiner then performs a series of calculations producing a structural summary of the test data. The results of the structural summary are interpreted using existing research data on personality characteristics that have been demonstrated to be associated with different kinds of responses.

With the Rorschach plates (the ten inkblots), the area of each blot which is distinguished by the client is noted and coded – typically as "commonly selected" or "uncommonly selected". There were many different methods for coding the areas of the blots. Exner settled upon the area coding system promoted by S. J. Beck (1944 and 1961). This system was in turn based upon Klopfer's (1942) work.
As pertains to response form, a concept of "form quality" was present from the earliest of Rorschach's works, as a subjective judgment of how well the form of the subject's response matched the inkblots (Rorschach would give a higher form score to more "original" yet good form responses), and this concept was followed by other methods, especially in Europe; in contrast, the Exner system solely defines "good form" as a matter of word occurrence frequency, reducing it to a measure of the subject's distance to the population average.

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