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How are psychological tests administered?

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Quick Answer

There are four stages to psychological testing — a personality assessment, behavioral assessment, clinical interview and IQ assessment, with tests often administered on a computer, although traditional written tests are also common. Each test is unique, with results being collated to give the overall results.

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Full Answer

Personality assessment

A personality test can be one of two formats. An objective test, or MMPI-2, is generally used to test for personality dysfunction, and uses 567 true or false questions. The test is able to measure the severity of introversion, paranoia, gender identification and psychopathy. The 16PF test is similar, but instead measures a number of personality traits including reasoning and emotional stability.

Behavioral assessment

This form of testing can be done through natural observations, where a subject is simply observed by the psychologist, with behavioral traits noted in addition to triggers and reinforcements. Self-monitoring and checklists are also used to measure behavioral characteristics, with patients asked to keep a journal of their mood over a set period of time.

Clinical interview

A clinical interview's purpose is to allow the psychologist to gain a wider understanding of a patient's background and life. This can be conducted face to face, or administered using a computerized test.

IQ test

IQ tests can be comprised of intelligence tests, usually broken down into verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, processing speed and working memory. A neuropsychological assessment, on the other hand, offers a more in-depth analysis of cognitive function as well as intelligence.

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