Personality Assessment Measurement and Research Design

Sources of Personality Data

Self-Report Data (S-Data) Observer-Report Data (O-Data) Test Data (T-Data) Life-Outcome Data (L-Data) Issues in Personality Assessment

Evaluation of Personality Measures

Reliability Validity

Generalizability

Research Designs in Personality

Experimental Methods Correlational Studies Case Studies

When to Use Experimental, Correlational, and Case Study Designs

Summary and Evaluation Key Terms

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Much of the discussion surrounding political candidates involves their personalities.

magine that a presidential election is looming. You are faced with a choice between two candidates. The personalities of the candidates may prove to be critical to your decision. How will they hold up under stress? What are their attitudes toward abortion or gun control? Will they stand tough in negotiating with leaders from other countries? This chapter is concerned with the means by which we gain information about other people's personalities—the sources from which we gather personality data and the research designs we use in the scientific study of personalit .

When deliberating between the two presidential candidates, you might want to know what they say about their values and attitudes—through a self-report. You might want to know what others say about their strengths in dealing with foreign leaders— through an observer report. These two sources of data can tell you a lot, but not everything. You also might want to place the candidates in a more controlled situation, such as a debate, and see how each performs—to acquire test data. Furthermore, you might want to know about certain events in their lives, such as whether they have ever used illegal drugs, whether they have ever dodged the draft, or whether they have ever been caught in an embarrassing sexual scandal— life history data.

Each of these sources of data reveals something about the personalities of the presidential candidates, yet each alone is incomplete and may be biased. (For fascinating personality analyses of presidential candidates, see Immelman, 2002; Post, 2003; and Renshon, 1998, 2005.) The candidate may self-report a tough stance on crime but then fail to follow through on it. Observers may report that the candidate

Much of the discussion surrounding political candidates involves their personalities.

is honest, yet they may be unaware of lies the candidate has told. A debate may show one candidate in a positive light, but perhaps the other candidate happened to have a cold that day. And the public record of serving in the military reserve may not reveal the family connections that enabled the candidate to avoid combat. Each source of data provides important information. But each source, by itself, is of limited value, an incomplete picture.

This chapter covers three topics related to personality assessment and research. The first concerns where we get our information about personality—the sources o personality data and the actual measures that personality psychologists use. The second topic concerns how we evaluate the quality of those measures. The third topic pertains to how we use these measures in actual research designs to study personality.

The first question provides the most basic starting point: what are the key source of information about an individual's personality?

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Responses

  • Isaias
    How is personality measured and assessed by researchers?
    5 days ago

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