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Psychology Consutancy Breif

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This report was prepared by Oniesha Vernon a HR consultant, specializing in psychological measurement applying to recruitment in the workplace and corporate area. This report focuses on:

  1. The theory of measurement and testing.
  2. The pros and cons of measurement as it applies, in terms of recruitment to:
  1. Intelligence
  2. Personality
  3. Attitudes

Measuring Intelligence

The description of intelligence changes from person to person. For example in industrial areas intelligence may be based on how good your analytical skills are, but in non-industrial intelligence may be based on your capability to keep people alive. Intelligence all together can be seen as the global capacity to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively- David Wechsler.

Over many years different people have claimed intelligence as different things. One of the first people to study intelligence was Sir Francis Galton. Galton believed that intelligence was a global capacity, showing itself through people in certain ways, subject to the surroundings. Galton was the first person to talk about the notion of general intelligence.

Influenced by Sir Francis Galton, Charles Spearman started his career on the belief that a single general intelligence measure mirrored a person’s mental capacity. Spearman supported the idea of intelligence testing. Throughout Spearman’s research he found that various tests, involving maths, language, memory and logical reasoning were highly correlated with each other. After discovering this spearman also concluded that there was such a thing as general intelligence. Spearman’s theory is often called the two-factor theory.

After Sir Francis Galton and Charles Spearman developed this theory of intelligence, Alfred Binet came up with a way of measuring intelligence. Binet started his intelligence-testing journey when the French government gave Binet and his colleague Theodore Simon the task to identify children who were experiencing learning problems, which could benefit from other education programs. To do this Binet and Simon developed tasks that were representative of “normal” children’s abilities. After administering these tasks to 50 different students who’s teacher had said were an average student, the tests were measured and described in basic terms such as “idiot” for those who have the lowest test results. Binet revised this exercise and eventually developed the  theory of a mental age.

A mental age is the age at which most people would pass all but one item in the test. This theory was soon picked up by American psychologists, leading to Lewis Terman and his colleagues at Stanford university adapting the scale for use in the USA. This lead to the development of the Stanford-Binet Scale or the intelligence quotient (IQ score). This was calculated by dividing the mental age by the chronological age and multiplying it by 100. For example if a person who has the mental age of 17 and the chronological age of 17 would have the IQ of 100, this is the average IQ score.

Some more modern theories of testing intelligence include David Wechsler and also Howard Gardner. David Wechsler developed a empirical model of intelligence. He defined that intelligence was the global capacity to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with the environment. This means that intelligence was the general capacity with various abilities with in it. Wechsler developed tests to measure the intelligence of adults as well of children these were call Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). These test measure vocabulary, arithmetic, mind puzzles. Each of the items in each sub-set were arranged from easy to hard, and they all would measure different things (vocabulary- verbal ability, non-verbal ability and performance) with in that sub set. This test standardised the measurement of IQ and for children and also for adults.

The Index’s of Full-Scale IQ

[pic 1]

Example of WISC-IV

Sub-Set

Type of Item

Similarities

Person is told two words or concepts and says how they are alike

Vocabulary

Person is asked to define words of increasing difficulty

Comprehension

Person is asked to explain the reason for some principle or social behaviour

Block Design

Person uses red and white blocks to copy a series of designs in a stimulus booklet

Picture Concepts

Person is shown two or three rows of pictures and has to pick one from each that have something in common.

Matrix Reasoning

Person selects the part needed to complete a matrix from five options

Digit Span

Person repeats a series of numbers of increasing length in forward digit span. In backward digit span person must repeat digits in the reverse order to that presented by examiner.

Letter-Number Sequencing

Person is read a sequence of numbers and letters and must recall the numbers in ascending order followed by the letters in alphabetical order.

Coding

The person uses a key that pairs symbols with geometric shapes or numbers to fill in a form in which the shapes are missing in a set time.

Symbol Search

The person indicates whether a target symbol is in a group of symbols, completing as many as possible searches within a time limit.

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