Psychological Assessment
Spring 2014
William P. Wattles, Ph. D.
Francis Marion University
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Psycholgical Assessment
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• "When I die, I want to die like my
grandfather who died peacefully in his
sleep.
• Not screaming like all the passengers in his
car."
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Quantitative Reasoning
• Number Thinking
– scale
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Human Behavior
• Individual differences
– Predict
– Understand
– Change
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“The single most critical piece of equipment is still
the researcher's own brain. All the equipment in the
world will not help us if we do not know how to use it
properly, which requires more than just knowing how
to operate it. Aristotle would not necessarily have
been more profound had he owned a laptop and
known how to program. What is badly needed now,
with all these scanners whirring away, is an
understanding of exactly what we are observing, and
seeing, and measuring, and wondering about.”
- Endel Tulving, 2002
Psychology
• The science that deals
with mental processes
and behavior.
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Welcome to Assessment
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Valuable skill
Lots of work
Three texts
Quizzes
4-6 reports
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What personal experiences have
you had with generalities?
• Profiling
• Stereotypes
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Generalize
• The Academy of
Behavioral Profiling is a
professional association
dedicated to the
application of evidence
based criminal profiling
techniques within
investigative and legal
venues.
• http://www.profiling.org/
• The American Civil
Liberties Union today
called on lawmakers to
investigate the actions
of air marshals who
handcuffed and
detained a 54-year-old
Florida doctor of Indian
descent because they
“didn’t like the way he
looked.”
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Generalize
• a. To reduce to a
general form, class, or
law.
• To form a concept
inductively.
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What constitutes psychological
assessment?
How are we different
from palm readers?
Tea leaf readers?
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What constitutes psychological
assessment?
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Science
•
Dr. Michael Shermer will give the
Hunter Lecture on 20 March 2012
(a Tuesday), at 7:30PM in the
Lowrimore Auditorium.
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Everyone is also welcome to attend
a colloquium on 21 March at
11:30AM in the Lowrimore
Auditorium. Dr. Shermer will
discuss Why People Believe Weird
Things with students reading it for
their classes.
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Clinical Judgment
• What are the
implications of relying
on clinical judgment
vs. actuarial data?
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Perception vs. Sensation
• Sensation one to one
relationship with
stimulus
• Perception interprets
sensation with historic
and other information.
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Is assessment useful?
• Pay for nothing.
Shouldn’t we just
treat?
• May not be useful
unless it relates to the
problem and is
presented in a timely
and useful manner.
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Importance of assessment
• The theory and instruments of assessment
are the foundation of clinical investigation,
applied research and program evaluation.
• In the early 1700’s Linneaus described a
case of aphasia so well that it could easily
be diagnosed today.
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What constitutes psychological
assessment?
• Careful Observation
– trained to observe
– inference based on experience and training
• Interview
• Testing
• History and other sources
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Role of the clinician
• Clinicians must integrate a wide range of
data and bring into focus diverse areas of
knowledge.
• Reports should be:
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•
•
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accurate
effective
concise
highly valued by the recipient
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Assessment best practices
• Assessment is good only if:
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–
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–
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Competence
Privacy
Informed consent
Appropriateness
Feedback
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Feedback and assessment
• What happens if we
give feedback to
patients?
• Do they give us
feedback?
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Computer aspects of class
• First assignment send
me an e-mail
• Psy631 on subject line
• Sign the e-mail
• Submit reports as Word
files attached to e-mail
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Three texts
• Assessment important
and the texts are all
references
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Handbook of Psychological
Assessment
• Reference book
• Instructional text
• Organized along the sequence followed
when performing an evaluation--practical in
nature.
• Goal: a realistic appreciation of the assets
and limitations of assessment.
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DSM-5
• Official nomenclature
• Designed first to be a helpful guide to
clinical practice.
– Brief
– clear
– explicit
• Also designed to further research and
support teaching.
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DSM-5
• Used by different practitioners:
psychiatrists, other physicians,
psychologists, social workers, nurses, OT
and RT, counselors
• Used by clinicians and researchers with
different orientations: behavioral,
biological, psychodynamic, cognitive and
family systems.
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DSM-5
• The work of a hierarchical committee.
• Input from 60 organizations
• 13 work groups reported to 33 members of
the task force.
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MMPI-2 Assessing Personality
and Psychopathology
• Textbook for graduate courses and also a
reference guide for professionals.
• The guiding principle in the book is
presenting the material in a way that
enhances learning and clinical use of the
most widely used personality inventory.
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Evaluating Psychological Tests
• Mental Measurements yearbook
• Theoretical orientation
– the construct being tested
• Practical considerations
– cost
– reading level, time to administer
– training needed
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Evaluating Psychological Tests
• Standardization
– adequate norms
– administration
• Reliability
• Validity
• If you choose the test it is unethical not to
evaluate it.
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Reliability
• Measurement error is always present
• Goal of test instruction is to minimize
measurement error
• Reliability is the extent to which the test
measures consistently
• If the test is not reliable it cannot be valid or
useful.
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Reliability
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Test-retest
Alternate form
split-half
interscorer reliability
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Validity
• Does the test measure what it purports to
measure?
• More difficult to determine than reliability
• Generally involves inference
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Validity and Learning Styles
• Learning-styles hypothesis
• Meshing hypothesis
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Validity
• Content validity-does it cover the entire
construct?
• Face validity- does it appear to measure
what it purports to measure. Not essential
• Criterion validity
– concurrent
– predictive
• Construct Validity
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Validity in Clinical Practice
• Incremental Validity-what does this test
add?
• Conceptual Validity• Collect data
• Form many hypotheses
• Look for consistent trends
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Improving clinical accuracy
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Use structured interviews
Consider disconfirming evidence
Use DSM-5 specific criteria
Take notes
attend to base rates
seek feedback
read the literature
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Phases in Clinical Assessment
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Evaluating the referral question
Consider the content of the problem
Data collection
Interpreting the data
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Initial Data Collection
Phase 1
Developoment of Inference
Phase 2
Reject Inferences
Phase 3
Modify Inferences
Phase 3
Accept Inferences
Phase 3
Develop and Integrate Hypothesis
Phase 4
Dynamic Model of Person
Phase 5
Situational Variables
Phase 6
Prediction of Behavior
Phase 7
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DSM-5 introduction
• We diagnose disorders not people
• a schizophrenic
• an individual with schizophrenia
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mental disorder
• Not mere deviance
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mental disorder
• A clinically significant behavioral or
psychological syndrome that is associated
with present distress or disability
(impairment in social or occupational
functioning) or with a significant risk of
suffering death, pain, disability or important
loss of freedom.
• Not culturally sanctioned (i.e. bereavement)
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Classify disorders not people
• DSM-5: What are being classified are
disorders not people.
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Enforcement push
• FBI
• Sampling of records
– many lacked sufficient documentation of
medical necessity
• If it isn’t documented it didn’t happen
• Practitioners should aim for meticulous
compliance
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Type I and Type II errors
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Type I error
• If we reject Ho when in fact Ho is true.
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Type II Error
• If we fail to reject Ho when in fact Ho is
false
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Employee Polygraph Protection
Act of 1988
• An employer … cannot, in any manner or for
any reason, have an employee or prospective
employee submit to a polygraph test
• The act does not apply to the federal
government who may use the polygraph in
the interests of national security for counterintelligence purposes.
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The
End
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Psychological Assessment - Francis Marion University