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Psychological Assessment

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When doing a psychological assessment you administer a suicide test and the person score high you?


Talk to them inmediately


I would say and refer to treatment and document on test report on reccomendations


IQ score


Inversely relates to family size and directly relates to family income

↓ # family members ↑ IQ


↑$$$ family ↑ IQ  


Arithmetic and Digit span on WISC-III assesses?


Assess freedom from distractability


In WAIS-R is the Digit Symbol subtest (psychomotor speed, visual short term memory, concentration and sustain effort)


WISC-III Coding and Symbol Search are use to?


Obtain a processing speed factor


The Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE; Folstein, Folstein, and McHugh, 1975) known as Mini Mental Status Exam and is a measure of cognitive functioning for older adults. While it is often used as a diagnostic tool for dementia, it was not developed for that purpose and should not be used as a substitute for a thorough clinical assessment


The MMSE contains 11 questions that assess six aspects of cognitive functioning: orientation, registration, attention and calculation, recall, language, and visual construction. The maximum score is 30, and a score of 23 or 24 is ordinarily used as a cutoff. 24↓ indicating cognitive impairment




Relies heavily on verbal responses, reading, and writing, it must be used with caution with individuals who have limited English skills, a communication disorder, or a visual or hearing impairment.


In addition, performance is affected by age and education, and norms for individuals of different ages and educational levels are available to assist in score interpretation.


Standardized Tests


the scores collected at different times and places are fully comparable


test has been administered under standard conditions to a representative sample for the purpose of establishing norms.


Speed vs. Power Tests


Speed Tests → contain items that are within the ability level of all intended examinees but are administered with a strict time limit so that score differences reflect differences in speed of responding.

Power tests → generous time limits, but contain items that cover a range of difficulty with some items being so different that they can be answered correctly by only a few (or no) examinees.

Differences in scores reflect differences in level of ability or knowledge.


Behavioral Assessment

based on the assumption that behavior is the product of the environment or an interaction between an individual and the environment

Purpose →to describe the target behavior and its maintaining conditions, select an appropriate treatment, or evaluate and revise a treatment


4 components ("SORC"):







Functional Analysisà (Functional assessment) is associated with behavioral assessment


Entails identifying the environmental variables (antecedents and consequences) that control the behavior of interest.


Dynamic Assessmentà derived from Vygotsky’s (1962)

Method for evaluating a child’s mental development that  involves deliberate deviation from standardized testing to determine if the examinee has the ability to profit from assistance or instruction.


Assumption →knowledge and cognitive abilities are modifiable.


Testing the Limitsà a type of dynamic assessment

Involves providing an examinee with additional cues or prompts.


Usually done after standard administration to preserve the applicability of the test’s norms


Domain-Referenced Testingà also called criterion and content-referenced testing. Needs clearly defined domain, knowledge or skill that will be evaluated by the test.


Involves interpreting an examinee’s test performance in terms of what the examinee can do with regard to the particular content domain


For the purpose of mastery testing--> the examinee’s performance is likely to be reported as % of the test content answered correctly.

% is then compared to a pre-established cut-off to determine if the examinee has reached mastery or required additional instruction.

Domain-reference testing is contrasted with norm-reference testing, which involves interpreting a person’s performance in relation to the performance of other people.



Decision-Making: Actuarial method is as accurate as clinical judgment


Actuarial (statistical) predictions -->based on empirically validated relationships between test results and target criteria. Make use of a regression equation, multiple regression or similar technique.

Clinical predictions -->based on the decision-maker’s intuition, experience, and knowledge.

Classifications, diagnoses, and predictions about behavior rely on the clinician’s judgment

Assessing Elderly Clients:

Teri & Lewinsohn (1986) offer the following guidelines for assessing older adults:


Unique individuals -->a great deal of variability of skills, health, life experiences, etc. Be aware of our own stereotypes and age biases.

Assessments must be comprehensive to identify the multiplicity of problems. Use multiple sources and techniques, to address cognitive, personality, and other traditional functions and nontraditional ones such as medical and physical condition, nutrition, and social and family functioning.

Interdisciplinary approach -->Sensory deficits, physical problems, and lack of familiarity with the testing situation


Assessing Children:

Interviews --> to obtain reliable and valid info from children as young as 6.

Goals --> establishing rapport & maintaining the child’s cooperation.


Use descriptive statements -->objective comments about a child’s appearance and non-negative comments about his or her behavior or demeanor, gives attention, encourage to continue doing what he/she is doing, outline behavior  expectations.

Use Reflection--> mirror what the child says either literal or interpretive. Help clarify and organize thoughts and feelings.

Provide Labeled Praise--> indicates approval and helps guide and encourage the child to behave in a particular way

Avoid critical statements--> Instead, make rule-based corrections ("One of the rules in this room is…"), invitational statements (" Come and sit at this table"), or ignore the behavior

Open-ended questions --> Elicit a greater amount of information and reduce agreebleness with examiner.

Avoid -->"Why?"

Avoid leading questions --> promote child to agree.

Anatomically correct dolls. Mann (1994) --> five acceptable uses of these dolls-->To help initiate discussions about sexual matters, to assess a child’s knowledge of bodily functions, to help demonstrate their experiences, to describe what happened, as a stimulus for memories & to help spontaneously disclose aspects of the abuse.


Assessing Members of a Culturally-Diverse Population:

Suzuki, Meller, and Ponterotto (1996) offer the following guidelines


Purpose of the Assessmentà use only techniques that are likely to benefit the person being assessed.

Test Contest--> sensitive to the cultural in procedures and practices--> be aware that there are no truly "culture-fair" or "culture-free" tests.

Alternative Methods--> use culturally-sensitive procedures and assessments either as alternatives to standard tests or in conjunction with. Like curriculum-based and performance-based (authentic) assessments.

Ethnic Norms-->  be aware of normative behaviors within different racial and ethnic groups and interpret an examinee’s responses within the appropriate cultural context.

Role of the Examiner--> asess their "level of assessment expertise with respect to racial and ethnic minorities" and  cultural differences that might interfere with the establishment of rapport.


A topic of controversy in the field of multicultural testing is whether racial, ethnic, or cultural differences between an examiner and examinee affects the examinee’s test performance.


Research is inconsistent on effects of a match or mismatch of the examiner and examinee in terms of race, ethnicity, or culture


No good definition of intelligence

Spearman (1927) proposed a general intelligence factor (g) and argued that performance on any cognitive tasks depends on a g plus one or more specific factors unique to the task.

Horn and Cattell (1966) extended Spearman’s theory by arguing that g consists of two components:


Fluid--> Solve novel problems and perceive relations and similarities and does not depend on specific instruction.

Crystallized --> Acquired knowledge and skills --> affected by educational and cultural experiences.


successful intelligence" --> ability to adapt to, modify, and choose environments that accomplish one’s goals and the goals of society. Composed of three abilities:






Traditional intelligence tests focus on analytical ability but neglect creative and practical abilities.


Gardner’s (1993, 1998) theory of multiple intelligences, which distinguishes between 8 types of intellectual ability

  • linguistic
  • musical
  • logical-mathematical
  • spatial
  • bodily-kinesthetic
  • interpersonal
  • intrapersonal
  • naturalistic

Heredity versus Environmental InfluencesHeredity  

Impact of heredity -->demonstrated by studies comparing the IQ’s of people with varying levels of genetic and environmental similarity.

Bouchard & Gue (1981)--> the greater the genetic similarity, the higher the correlation between IQ test scores. (ie. Identical twins reared togetherà .85 versus adoptive parent and childà .18).

biologically-unrelated siblings of the same age who are reared together. Segal (2000) --> "virtual twins" --> correlation coefficient of .26

-->significantly below biological siblings reared together

-->environment has only a modest impact on intelligence

Heritability estimate--> proportion of variability in intelligence that is due to intelligence factors.

Heritability applies to groups --> individual’s intellectual ability in terms of heritability within groups




crystallized intelligence ↑ until about age 60

fluid intelligence peaks in late adolescence and thereafter declines.

Declines = age-related declines in the efficiency of working memory associated with reductions in processing speed.


--> high SES = higher IQ

--> Flyng effect --> increase IQ 3 points per decade due to increase of fluid intelligence

--> IQ pretty consistant --> fluctiation can be due to environment factors, emotional climate and parental concern and involvement in child education 

--> females do better on verbal ability

--> males do better on spatial and quantitative skills, with spatial skills showing the largest gender gap.



Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SBIS)

First version in 1905 as a method to identify "intellectually limited" children. Current Version (SBIS-IV) in 1986.

Important features of the SB-4

Test items based on a hierarchical model of intelligence. Test content broadened -->no longer emphasizes verbal reasoning-->assesses quantitative reasoning, spatial reasoning, and short-term memory. Report Standard Age Score.


15 subtests/. Hierarchical structure reflects 3 levels.

Level I= G --> general

Level II= Crystalize ability -->Crystallized Abilities,

Fluid-Analytic Abilities & Short-Term Memory; &

Level III= Verbal Reason -->Quantitative Reasoning

Abstract/Visual Reasoning & Short-Term Memory


Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SBIS)


  • 15 scales

Vocabulary                                       Comprehension

Absurdities                                       Verbal Relations

Quantitative                                       Number Series

Equation Building                             Pattern Analysis

Copying                                             Matrices

Paper                                                 Bead Memory

Memory for Sentences                     Memory for Digits

Memory for Objects


Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SBIS)

  • for ages 2 years through 23 years, 11 months.
  • differentiate between those with MR and those with learning disabilities
  • age level has two items

  • Basal level point at which the examinee passes both items at two consecutive age elves.

  • Ceiling Level point where person misses 3 or 4 of the items on two consecutive levels.



  • for ages 16-89.

  • 7 verbal and 7 performance subtests


Verval                                                  Performance

Vocabulary                                          Picture Completion

Information                                          Picture Arrangement

Digit Span (Forward/backwards)     Block Design

Arithmetic                                           Digit Symbol- Coding

Comprehension                                 Matrix Reasoning

Similarities                                         Object Assembly

Letter-Number Sequencing              Symbol Search





Higher verbal IQ is associated with depression, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, poor visual motor integration, high SES, high educational attainment, and a professional occupation.

Higher Performance IQ is linked to bilingualism, illiteracy, autism, delinquency, and psychopathy, learning disabilities, MR, low SES, and low academic achievement.




Verbal Comprehension: includes Vocab, similarities, and information subtests and evaluates verbal conceptualization, knowledge, and expression.

Working-Memory comprised of Arithmetic, Digit span, and Letter-Number Sequencing. Measures numerical ability and sequential processing.

Perceptual Organization Picture completion, block design, matrix reasoning and measures nonverbal thinking and visual motor coordination.

Processing Speed Digit Symbol- Coding and symbol search and measures visual motor speed.


WPPSI-R (Wechsler Primary and Preschool Scale of Intelligence)


Ages 3 years 7 years, 3 months

Total testing time is 50-75 minutes (can be administered in two sessions).

Use WISC for 6 and 7 year olds, and use WPPSI if they are thought to be low functioning.


Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC)


Designed for ages 2 ½ to 12 ½ as a measure of intelligence and achievement


Mental Processing Scale assesses fluid intelligence and provides a composite scores as well as separate scores

on sequential and simultaneous processing.

Achievement Scale assesses crystallized intelligence and includes subtests that evaluate reading, arithmetic, word knowledge, and general information


Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test (KAIT)


Appropriate for ages 11 to 85+ years and provides separate Crystallized Scale and Fluid Scale Scores.


Minnesota Multiphasic Personaltiy Inventory- 2 (MMPI-2)





Psychopathic Deviation






Social Introversion


Minnesota Multiphasic Personaltiy Inventory- 2 (MMPI-2)


Lie (L) Scale: High score indicates an attempt to present oneself in a very favorable light or a lack of insight into one’s own motivations. Low score indicates frankness in responding, exaggeration of negative symptoms, or independence Used to determine if measure if valid

Frequency (F) ScaleHigh score eccentricity, deliberate malingering, gross eccentricity, random responding, or responding to all items as either true or false.Low Score indicate a tendency towards social conformity or an absence of significant psychopathologyUsed to determine if measure is valid

Corrections (K) ScaleHigh score high degree of clinical defensiveness or a desire to "fake good" and is associated with poor treatment prognosis. Low score excessive frankness, self-criticism, or a desire to "fake bad." Considered to be a "suppressor variable" since scores correlate with defensiveness, education level, or SESK Scale score is used to correct his/her scores on certain clinical scales.

Cannot Say (?) Scale: High score reading difficulties, indecisiveness, distractibility, rebelliousness, or defensiveness


Rorschach Inkblot Test


Free associationà "what might this be?"

Inquiry Phase examiner actively questions the examinee about the features of the inkblot that determines his/her responses to facilitate scoring

Scoring and Interpretation are complex and involve looking at the following dimensions

Location: Where in the inkblot did the person see it?

Determinants: What in the inkblot determined the examinee’s response

form, movement, shading, and/or color

Form Quality: How similar the examinee’s perception is to the actual shape of the inkblot

Content: Human, animal, or nature?

Frequency of Occurrence: extent to which the perception is original or popular.


Interpretation usually involves considering the number and ratio of responses falling into each category


For example: a large number of "whole" responses suggests integrated, organized thinking;

Many colors response emotionality and impulsivity

Use of white spaces suggests oppositional tendencies

Confabulation (overgeneralizing a park of the inkblot to the whole) suggests brain damage, emotional disturbance, or Mental Retardation

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