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All about Psychological Tests


Oh! You are a psychologist! By now you must have read my mind. Tell me what did you find? Oh! It must be really great to be able to peep in to minds of people around! Since ages people have interest in knowing about Self and other people, assessing others. But Psychology is Not Crystal ball gazing or face and palm reading. Psychological assessment is scientifically assessing a persons abilities using standardized structured or unstructured diagnostic instruments (read, tests). Using psychological tests for evaluation is restricted for specific purpose and by skilled professionals. Lets roughly classify different tests used for evaluation as follows: TESTS Intelligence Children Adults Personality Neuropsychological These tests usually consist of creating a situation (oral questions, games and puzzles) the responses to which give indication of a persons abilities, such as to think rationally, act purposefully and deal effectively with the environment. Intelligence is multifaceted, and different abilities are assessed to understand the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of a person. The test results are interpreted which yield information regarding levels of various abilities related to intelligence. IQ testing is done.... If a child has had birth trauma, premature birth and delay in attaining developmental milestones, or If a child has had history of epilepsy and related cognitive problems, or There is a history of brain damage or head injury, or If there are major academic problems (in such cases feedback from school authorities or their referral note with observations is a must.) Or with overall poor academic performance since pre-primary / primary level. If there is a need to rule out learning difficulties or to arrive at a diagnosis. When to do an IQ test and which test to use is left to the judgment of the psychologist. Personality Tests: Personality assessment is another area of interest for most people. As mentioned earlier personality test is done in combination with other vocational guidance tests. Few personality tests are meant to give the nature of psychological disorders. These are very specific tests and so are to be interpreted by trained clinical psychologist. We also get an idea of a persons weaknesses and strengths from these tests. In personality tests, which involve questionnaires, the respondents are supposed to answer the
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Projective Memory Non-projective visuoperceptual skills Language functions Learning

The classification cannot be made into watertight compartments as there is lot of overlap, e.g. answers to intelligence test may give some indication about thinking style and personality. Similarly, responses on personality test may give some pointers to creativity and intelligence. All these tests are either culture free - can be used for any population or culture specific designed for specific population. The culture specific tests are adapted for that population of that region, as tests used in India are adapted for Indian population. Intelligence tests are used for children as well as adults. For children below 5 years the evaluation is restricted to social maturity, physical milestones, communication etc. While the proper standardized tests are used from 5 years onwards.

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statement on the given parameters. There are no right or wrong answers, but the answers are to be marked by the respondent based on if it applies to him/her or the way he or she feels. Some personality tests are projective and some are non-projective tests. The projective tests are based on the rationale that a person projects own feelings, thoughts and memories while interpreting any situation given to them. These tests consist of presenting a structured or unstructured situation to the client and responses to these situations, point out different facets of that persons personality characteristics. Most commonly used projective techniques are interesting tests such as Rorschach Inkblot test, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Children Apperception Test (CAT) etc. Non-projective tests are paper pencil tests, which are specially designed to explore into psychopathology, personality dimensions, anxiety etc. The commonly used tests are MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), MCMI (Millons Clinical Multiaxial Inventory), EPI (Eysenck Personality Inventory) etc. The personality tests are administered by trained clinical psychologists. Neuropsychological assessment is done in specific cases to assess the effect of external (such as in head injury after vehicular accident) or internal brain damage. (Such as embolism, growing tumor, repeated seizures etc.). To plan effective treatment and/ rehabilitation strategies, evaluation plays an important role by helping to assess the extent of damage and by identifying the level of severity. These tests assess functioning in different areas such as attention, orientation, memory, visuospatial skills, language functions, learning etc. These tests are administered by specially trained neuropsychologists / clinical psychologists. There are few specific psychological tests, which are administered only if there is a need to arrive at a particular psychiatric diagnosis or to rule out psychiatric illnesses. INSTITUTE
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Tests which measure non-psychiatric aspects, are also a major part of psychological testing; they are aptitude tests, which include interest inventories, personality tests and intelligence tests. Students from standard 9th to 12th for their career guidance can attempt these tests. Vocational Guidance or career counseling today is an important guide for students choosing their career. Some tests require minimum educational background. Tests helps in the therapy process as it gives an idea of the emotional and psychological state of the person. Psychological tests also helps the mentally challenged to acquire necessary certificate from the government. Psychological tests also can be of help in legal issues.

Some facts about psychological testing: Psychological tests measure functions of mind and so no blood is collected, nothing is injected, and no surgical procedures are done for these tests. There is no need for the patient/respondent to have empty stomach. Preferably the person should have properly food, sleep and not tired during assessment. People are not hypnotized for psychological assessment. There is no need to do any extra or specific study before attempting psychological tests. Psychological tests are to be answered as naturally and genuinely as possible. Psychological testing is to be done by a registered practicing psychologist only. No medical doctors including psychiatrists are authorized to administer psychological tests. It is advisable to undergo psychological testing only if there is a real need. Some psychological tests need a specific educational background.

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Benefits of psychological assessment:

Psychological tests help in deciding the proper


course of medication Psychological tests help the mentally handicapped persons to acquire necessary certificate from the Government. Psychological tests helps the family to understand the nature of the family members problem. They get a different insight in to the behavior of the patient. Psychological tests can be of help in medicolegal cases.

If done with a specific purpose it helps in the


therapy process as the therapists gets an idea of the clients needs, emotional state, strength and weakness. Children who have academic problems can be given proper remedial therapy to develop their study skills Here IQ report can act as a guide. Psychological test report can give the clinician information about the illness and as well the severity of the illness to decide mode of treatment.

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