Intelligence and Personality Test Glossary

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Intelligence and Personality Test Glossary

Actor-Observer Bias
The tendency of individuals to attribute the actions of those in observed situations to internal factors and to attribute the actions in situations in which they are involved to external factors.

The act of maintaining a negative stereotype or perception of individuals above a certain age. Ageism can be reflected in attitudes, actions or institutional structures.

One of the dimensions of personality traits in the Big Five Inventory, agreeableness includes characteristics such as sympathy, kindness and degree of affection.

The prevalence of self-sacrificing acts or behavior that advances the cause of others above oneself. Simply put, it can be thought of as treating others how you would like to be treated.

Ambivalence occurs when an individual is incapable of choosing between two contradictory or incompatible options or goals.

Auxiliary Function
In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the auxiliary function is the second-most preferred mental function. The auxiliary function balances the dominant function.

Beck Depression Inventory
This inventory, named after Aaron T. Beck, is a series of 21 questions designed to measure the intensity, severity and depth of depression in a test subject.

Behavioral Approach System
A Behavioral Approach System, or BAS, is a system to explain the motivation behind behavior. In BAS, the individual is moving toward a desired objective.

Behavioral Inhibition System
A Behavioral Inhibition System, or BIS, is a system to explain the motivation behind behavior. In BIS, the individual is moving away from an unpleasant objective.

Behaviorism is a theory of learning that applies to both humans and animals that only focuses on behaviors that are observable and ignores unobservable mental processes.

Belief-Bias Effect
The belief-bias effect occurs when an individual accepts any or all conclusions that, on the surface, fit in with his system of beliefs without deeply considering the issue.

Bell Curve
The bell curve is also known as normal distribution. It is the shape of a graph that is highest in the middle and lowest on both ends.

Bimodal Distribution
A bimodal distribution has two modes. On a graph, the distribution of bimodal data has two peaks -- one for each mode.

Biofeedback is a method of psychotherapy in which individuals learn to analyze and react to signals from their bodies in order to improve their health.

Birth Order
Birth order is the order in which you are born into your family compared to your siblings. Birth order is believed to have an influence on personality traits.

Burns Depression/Anxiety Checklists
The Burns Depression/Anxiety Checklist is a tool consisting of 25 questions related to an individual's moods and behaviors within the past week. Patients rate themselves on different thoughts and feelings they have had recently.

Comorbidity is the existence of two or more diagnosable conditions in an individual at the same period in time. For instance, many adults with AD/HD also have anxiety disorders.

Conformity is the tendency of an individual to change beliefs, behaviors or attitude to fit in with a group. The change can be caused by real or imagined group pressure.

Conner's Rating Scale
This scale is given to parents or teachers to evaluate a child for possible Attention Deficit Disorder. It is one of the most commonly used scales for diagnosing childhood ADD.

Conscientiousness is one of the five personality factors measured in the NEO Personality Inventory. It includes traits such as self-discipline, striving towards achieving goals and a predisposition to be cautious before taking action.

Conservativeness is the characteristic of being cautious and moderate in one's actions as well as leaning toward traditional beliefs and attitudes.

Correlation Coefficient
The correlation coefficient is a statistical concept that measures how predicted values in an experiment compare to real-life data. It is a number between 0 and 1.

Cross-Sectional Data
Cross-sectional data is one-dimensional data that refers to observations of a large number of individuals at the same period in time.

Deductive Reasoning
Deductive reasoning, as opposed to inductive reasoning, follows that if something is true of a group of items, it is consequently true of all legitimate members of that group.

Dementia Rating Scale
This is an instrument involving tasks and stimulus cards to assess the level of cognitive functioning for individuals with possible dementia or brain dysfunction, also known as the DRS-2.

Dependent Variable
The dependent variable is the variable in an experiment that is affected by the test. It responds to the independent variable.

Dissociative Disorder
Dissociative disorders, such as multiple personality and psychogenic amnesia, are those in which a person's conscience becomes detached or dissociated from their prior memories, feelings and thoughts.

Dominant Function
In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the dominant function is the one of the four mental functions that is developed to the greatest degree in an individual. It has the greatest role in guiding the person's thoughts and actions.

Double-Blind Tests
Double-blind tests are those in which neither test administrators nor test subjects are aware of who is in the control group and who is in the experimental group.

Dualism is an idea developed by Descartes, who proposed that a human's mind and body are distinct entities that combine to make a person.

The ego is Freud's second division of the personality, developed in childhood. The ego is based in reality and understands that others have needs and desires in addition to those of the individual.

Egocentrism is a term developed by psychologist Jean Piaget that refers to the tendency of children to evaluate their environment based solely on their personal viewpoint.

Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the potential an individual is born with that enables him to feel, express and understand emotions of his own and of others.

Extraversion is a personality trait that involves easily expressing emotions, ability to work well in groups and a need for social interaction.

False Consensus Effect
The perception that an overly exaggerated amount of individuals share our own beliefs and behaviors, or thinking everyone thinks the same way we think.

A behavioral-therapy approach in which an individual is forced to confront a phobia by being exposed to the stimulus of which he is afraid.

Forer Effect
The Forer Effect is based on a study done by Bertram Forer in 1946. It refers to the fact that individuals tend to see sets of statements as highly accurate on a personal level when the statements could relate to many individuals.

Freudian Slip
A Freudian slip is a verbal mistake which is thought to reveal one's true intentions or conscious thoughts.

Gender Identity
Gender identity is the identification of oneself as either male or female. In rare instances, an individual may also perceive oneself as both male and female or neither male nor female.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by unfounded worry and tension that occurs chronically. Individuals with GAD have physical symptoms to accompany their emotional worries.

Hamilton Depression Scale
The Hamilton Depression scale, or HDS, is commonly given to individuals who have already been diagnosed with depression. It is used to determine the severity of depressive symptoms.

Heritability is the degree to which genetic factors in individuals contribute to individual differences in behavior. It is a proportion that has a numerical value ranging from 0.0 to 1.0.

Heuristics involves exploratory problem-solving based upon evaluation of feedback and self-education in order to improve performance.

Honesty can be defined as the absence of deceit or fraud, transparency of one's actions and the fair and just treatment of other individuals.

House-Person-Tree Test
A projective test, the HPT test asks the subject to draw pictures of houses, people and trees, and the drawings are then evaluated to determine the individual's self-perceptions and attitudes.

The id is one of Sigmund Freud's divisions of the personality. It is based on the pleasure principle in that the id wants satisfaction, even if it is not based in reality.

Impulsivity is the tendency to act on impulse rather than rational thought. Individuals with a high degree of impulsivity may find it difficult to curb their immediate reactions to situations.

Independent Variable
An independent variable is the variable in an experiment that the conductor has control over or is able to manipulate. It has a causal effect over the dependent variable.

Inductive Reasoning
Inductive reasoning argues from a specific case in order to derive a general rule. Inferences are drawn from observations in order to make generalizations.

Inferior Function
In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the inferior function is the fourth-preferred mental function and is the least interesting to individuals. Development of the inferior function usually does not occur until midlife.

In-Group Bias
In-group bias occurs when individuals perceive someone as belonging to their group and thus have positive attitudes towards them and give them preferential treatment.

Insanity is a deranged state of mind or lack of understanding of rational trains of thought. Insanity can remove a person from civil or criminal responsibility.

Intelligence Quotient
Intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score on an intelligence test compared to your age group. The Wechsler scales are the most commonly used IQ tests.

Introversion is a personality trait that involves a more reflective attitude, the desire to think things through before acting, and a preference for working alone rather than in groups.

Intuition is the ability to have knowledge or insight without reason or rational observation, otherwise known as a "gut feeling."

Just-World Phenomenon
The tendency for people to believe that the world is a just place, therefore people get what they deserve and deserve what they get.

Latent Content
Freud believed latent content was the content of a dream that contained an underlying, hidden meaning that was censored by the subconscious.

Lexical Hypothesis
Gordon Allport and H.S. Odbert hypothesized that individual differences in people's lives will eventually become engrained in their language. The more relevant or important the difference is, the more likely it will be expressed as a single word.

Longitudinal Data
Longitudinal data is data that tracks the same set of information in the same test subjects over multiple periods in a length of time in order to measure change.

Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is characterized by one or more major depressive episodes in the absence of manic, mixed or hypomanic episodes.

Manic Episode
A manic episode is a period of time lasting at least one week in which an individual experiences an abnormal elevation in mood or abnormal irritability.

Mental Age
Mental age is a score resulting from an intelligence test. An individual's mental age is calculated by comparing test results to the chronological age in which those results are typical or normal.

Metacognition is the ability to think about thinking or the ability to control one's own thoughts. It includes the ability to control personal variables, task variables and strategy variables.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
The MMPI is a psychological assessment tool used to analyze an individual's level of adaptation, personality traits and behavioral characteristics. Answers are compared to group answers of psychiatric and nonpsychiatric individuals.

Mood Disorder
A mood disorder is a mental illness often caused by chemical imbalances in an individual's brain. The most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The MBTI is a personality inventory which categorizes an individual into one of 16 distinct personality types based on their interests, skills, motivations and other traits.

A norm is a socially enforced rule. Violations of norms are sometimes punished by law, but they can also be punished through social stigma or sanctions.

Objective Test
Objective tests are not subject to individual bias or opinion. Rather, objective tests contain one correct answer that an individual must seek out.

Sometimes called intellect, openness is one of the dimensions of personality traits in the Big Five Inventory. It includes having traits like imaginativeness, insightfulness and a broad range of interests.

To say two things are orthogonal is to say they are non-overlapping or mutually independent. H.J. Eysenck proposed that extraversion and neuroticism were orthogonal personality dimensions.

Out-Group Bias
The opposite of in-group bias, out-group bias occurs when an individual is perceived as not belonging to one's group and thus receives negative treatment because of it.

Percentile Rank
A percentile rank identifies the percentage of scores that a specific score is greater than or equal to. For instance, if a test subject is given a percentile rank of 75, that means his score is greater than or equal to that of 75% of other test subjects.

Perception refers to the way individual sensations of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste are processed and interpreted by the brain.

Persona involves the social roles individuals play to meet the expectations of family, friends and society at large. It is described as the way others see us, or the personality we "put on" for the world to see.

Personality Disorder
This term is a generalization to identify mental illnesses in which individuals have dysfunctional ways of thinking, perceiving situations and interacting with others.

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that involves an irrational fear of something that would not normally pose a danger.

Projective Test
A projective test is one in which the subject is asked to react to ambiguous stimuli. The subject's responses are analyzed to determine personality traits.

Psychometric Testing
Psychometric testing literally means measuring the mind. Psychometric tests can assess interests, attitudes, personality and skills.

This is the most severe form of disorders having to do with thoughts and is often characterized by an individual losing tough with reality and having extremely impaired judgment.

Part of Hans Eysenck's model of personality that identifies the tendencies of an individual to be reckless, disregard common sense, inappropriately express emotions and exhibit other traits common among psychotic individuals.

Reliability is a term used to describe the quality of a test. It represents the consistency or ability to achieve repeat results in a testing situation.

One's religiosity refers to the degree to which he or she participates in religious behaviors and holds religious beliefs and attitudes.

Rorschach Inkblot Test
This is a projective test where an individual is shown an inkblot and asked to examine it and identify what it appears to be. It is a method of psychological evaluation.

Self-concept is a collection of knowledge about oneself that begins in infancy and includes matters such as personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, values and roles.

Sensation is the process of interacting with one's environment through use of the five senses -- sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

Shaping is a behavior-management method in which a desired goal is broken into subgoals and consequently rewarded as the individual achieves each step towards the final behavior.

Socionics is a branch of psychology based around the idea that a person's character is created by combining and chaining different psychological functions.

Standard Deviation
Standard deviation is a statistical measure of variability of data. It measures how far the whole of the data deviates from the mean, or average.

Sten Score
Sten scores, or standardized ten scores, are determined by dividing the score scale into ten sections. They are thought of as bands of scores rather than an absolute score and are calculated by using a formula involving the z score.

Stimuli can be anything that elicits or speeds up a behavioral or psychological response. For example, the stimuli in a Rorschach Inkblot Test are the cards showing inkblots.

Strong Interest Inventory
Named after E.K. Strong, the Interest Inventory is a psychological tool used to evaluate an individual's career and educational interests, as well as to understand job dissatisfaction.

The superego is the last division of Freud's personality. It is the moral and ethical personality segment which some equate to the conscience.

Tertiary Function
In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the tertiary function is the third-preferred mental function. It is the opposite function of the auxiliary function and tends to be less interesting to individuals.

Thematic Apperception Test
A projective test in which an individual is asked to tell a story about cards portraying humans in a variety of situations. It is used to evaluate a person's thoughts, attitudes and emotions.

Thriftiness is the ability to be economically wise and prudent in terms of financial management and industrious endeavors.

Type A Personality
A person classified as having a Type A personality has characteristics such as impatience, sense of time urgency and inability to relax.

Type B Personality
A person classified as having a Type B personality has characteristics such as the ability to relax without feeling guilty, working without feeling anxious or stressed and reluctance to become angry.

Validity assesses the ability of a test to measure what it is intended to measure. External validity determines whether the results of the test are generalizable, and internal validity refers to the study's design and how it was carried out.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
This test is administered to adults ages 16 through 89 and is used to measure intelligence by evaluating verbal and performance abilities.

Woodworth Personal Data Sheet
Developed during World War I, the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet is a self-inventory used to determine the capability of soldiers to be fit for battle.

Z Score
A z score is a statistical measure that shows the relationship of a single item of data to the whole data collection. The z score tells whether or not a score is above or below average as well as how unusual it is.

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