What are Psychological Tests?

In this blog we answer the question, ‘What are Psychological Tests? We will explain why they are used and highlight the types of psychological tests available. 

What are Psychological tests?

Psychological tests are assessment tools that are used to evaluate the present emotional and cognitive stance of a person. They are also used to test if the person is suffering from mental deficits, the level of his/her Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), personality disorders, level of adaptation, stress and depression scales.

Psychological tests determine the person’s strengths and weaknesses as well. 

Psychological tests are also used with people who suffer from different psychological disorders, such as Hysteria.

Psychological testing is divided into four primary types:

  • Clinical Interview
  • Assessment of Intellectual Functioning (IQ)
  • Personality Assessment
  • Behavioral Assessment

What is the purpose of Psychological Testing?

The purpose of psychological testing is to evaluate the person’s abilities or his cognitive or emotional aptitude. There are people who are either born with challenges or suffer from intellectual challenges at one or another point in their life. 

There are interventions available for these people so that they are able to learn as per their ability or aptitude. The psychological tests serve the purpose of diagnosing psychopathology, determining strengths and weaknesses of the personality and also used for job screening.

These psychological tests are also used to evaluate the extent of giftedness of a child or person. There are people who are a prodigy, have a talent and this talent has to be brought to the surface. The only way to do this, is by evaluating the extent of the person’s abilities. Once a baseline is determined, then intervention plans are chalked out so that the potential can be achieved. 

Types of Psychological Tests

There are many types of psychological tests, that tap a variety of disabilities and abilities.

  1. Intelligence/Achievement/Ability Tests

These tests are the ones that assess the person’s IQ or his intelligence level. All tests are to follow a uniform testing protocol. These tests are for children and adults, with varying degrees changes as per age. They are times, standardized, normed and innate.

The most commonly used are:-

  • Wechsler Intelligence Scales
  • Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales
  • Kaufman Intelligence Test

Ability tests are numerous and assess a variety of domains of the person, for example there is a test to evaluate 

  • mechanical reasoning ability
  • Verbal comprehension
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Logical thinking
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning

These are just to name a few. The benefit of these tests is to provide a fair idea as to where the person’s ability stands and what innate capacities he has to accomplish certain endeavors. 

  1. Personality Tests

These are pretty famous among the population and evaluate the type of personality an individual might have. Personality is a complex concept and encompasses not only his/her personal qualities but also their preferences. 

Personality assessments are also called inventories, profiles or questionnaires. One such example is Tony Robbins Disc Test.

In the Personality tests are two categories;

  1. Self report tests
  2. Projective tests
  1. Self- Report Tests

Are the inventories that the person can fill himself or the therapist or assessor can ask questions and fill it there and then.

These contain standardized items with a norm that has been targeted. 

Following are the few examples of some famous self-report inventories.

In 1940, Walter Clark designed the DiSC personality profile to measure dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

The questionnaire was created for organizational purpose and can be used for leadership and personnel development, management training, conflict management, team building and job coaching.

The HEXACO model was created in 2000 to evaluate some of the personality dimensions. The model measures six major personality dimensions, namely: 

  1. Honesty-Humility
  2. Emotionality
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Conscientiousness
  6. Openness to experience.

The Eysenck Personality Inventory measures personality on two dimensions: 

extroversion versus introversion 

neuroticism versus stability

  1. Projective Tests

This technique was developed by Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory. The test material contains ambiguous stimuli, where the person is supposed to ‘project’ on these. Whatever he projects with is detrimental to his personality. 

Famous projective tests are

Thematic Apperception Test 

Thematic Apperception Test is a projective test that is based on picture interpretation theme. The client projects his impulses, unconscious desires and fears onto an ambiguous stimulus.

It is used to assess psychological problems, anxieties, job candidates and suspects.

Rorschch (inkblot Test)

Rorschach is a psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are analyzed using psychological interpretation and algorithms. This test is also used to examine a person’s personality characteristics, motives, thoughts and desires.

  1.  Behavior Scales

Tests that evaluate behavior and adaptive behavior are very useful to determine what interventions are used to rectify which types of behaviors. 

  1. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales

VABS is a structured evaluative tool that measures adaptive behavior and diagnoses intellectualand developmental delays, like autism. Through this test the intervention and rehabilitation plan can be created.

  1. Conners Parent and Teacher Rating Scales.
  2. Vanderbilt Assessment Scales.
  3. Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC)

d)  Neuropsychological Tests

These tests are used to assess the neurological activity or a problem that might arise. They assess cognitions, memory, perception, motor functioning, decision making ability, verbal reasoning or verbal ability and problem solving. 

The most commonly used tests are”-

  • Beck Depression Inventory, Anxiety Inventory, and Hopelessness Scale.
  • Bender Visual Motor Gestalt (BVMG) Test.
  • Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination.
  • Boston Naming Test.
  • California Verbal Learning Test.
  • Dichotic Listening

Benefits of Psychological Testing

Psychological testing has the following benefits

  • It helps establish how much help is required to the person, either psychologically, psychiatric help, behaviorally or academically.
  • When the child’s level of academic assistance is determined, it is easier tomanage the extra facilitation tha tmay be required by him/her during examination.  For example during exams extra time to be allocated or separate exam room is conducive or moreover, the types of questions that the child can solve or answer. Also if instead of paper pencil test the child can perform better on a verbal test. 
  • When the clinical documentation is present, then Many academic institutions and standardized testing organizations (that publish the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, etc.) will work to accommodate students that have disabilities.
  • Effective tools to diagnose problems related to cognition, neurological delays, developmental delays or personality problem. 

Like psychological tests are used to measure psychological illnesses, many tend to use IQ scales to measure their intelligence and IQ.

In this blog we have answered the question, ‘What are Psychological Tests? We have explained why they are used and highlighted the types of psychological tests available. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is psychological testing important?

Psychologicall testing — is important for the better understanding of an individual as to his behavior, skills, thoughts and personality. It also determines how much facilitation is required.

How long does a psychological test take?

Psychological test takes a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of 90 minutes, depending on the reason behind testing.

Does insurance pay for psychological testing?

If insurance covers the cost of psychological testing is dependent on the package the insurance company has ot offer. 

What is a good psychological test?

A good psychological test is valid, reliable and standard.

Titles to Read

  • Psychological Testing and Assessment by Ronald Jay Cohen and Mark Swerdlik
  • Handbook of Psychological Assessment by Gary Groth-Marnat and A. Jordan Wright
  • Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues by Robert M. Kaplan and Dennis P.Saccuzzo