The scope of psychology's fields of specialization is great. The professionals who work in these areas strive to help humans know, understand, and help themselves. To accomplish this, psychologists use numerous tests to help them ascertain specific information about an individual, a group of people, or a particular population. Ability tests measure multiple aptitudes, creativ ity, achievement, and intelligence levels. Psychologists may perform occupational and clinical assessments. Also included in the area of assessment are personality tests, which encompass self-report inventories, measures of interests, attitudes and values, projective techniques, and performance and situational evaluations.
An example of a multiple-aptitude test is the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT), first published in 1947, then revised in 1963, 1973, and 1991. Its primary purpose is to counsel students in grades eight through twelve in educational and vocational matters. Creativity tests have received much attention from researchers and practitioners alike. The Aptitudes Research Project (ARP) was developed by the University of Southern California. It is a structure-of-intellect (SI) model, which encompasses all intellectual functions. Although its initial platform was reasoning, creativity, and problem solving, its base was expanded to divergent production. Until the ARP, research resources in this area were very limited.
Achievement tests, which differ from aptitude tests, measure the effects of specific instruction or training. Some of the most respected tests are the California Achievement Tests, the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, the Metropolitan Achievement Test, and the Stanford Achievement Test. Their significance lies in reporting what the individual can do at the time oftest administration. Aptitude instruments, on the other hand, make recommendations about future skills. Intelligence tests speak their own language; it is unfortunate, though, that so much importance is placed upon the results they yield. One should always remember that the scores identified in the Stanford-Binet test and in the various Wechsler intelligence scales are only part of a big picture about any given human being and should be evaluated accordingly.
Personality tests measure the emotional, motivational, interpersonal, and attitudinal characteristics of an individual. The Kuder Interest Inventories list occupations according to a person's interest area. The Rorschach Ink-blot Projective Technique investigates the personality as a whole. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) researches personality and attitude. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a widely used measure of personality dispositions and interests based on Carl Jung's theory of types.
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For as much as we believe we train our brains and give them a good workout, we seldom actually do it on a regular basis. In most cases, our brains are not used in a balanced way. We're creatures of habit. We find a way to do things that we consider comfortable and we seldom change our ways.