Behavioral Assessment


1. Define what a psychological test is and discuss the key features that differentiate it from less structured forms of assessment.

A test is a systematic procedure for observing behavior and describing it with a numerical or categorical system. Standardization and objectivity separate a psychological test from other assessments.

2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of direct structural behavioral observation versus types of tests as behavior assessment methods.

Direct observation tracks people’s behavior over time and is most often applied to children. It provides data from “real world” with clinical significance, but physicians cannot easily go to observe behavior in patient’s normal atmosphere. It requires much effort / cost / time for development of checklist and observer training.

3. Compare and contrast (a) maximum performance and typical performance tests, and (b) psychometric and impression approaches to assessments. Give examples of each.

Maximum performance tests measure what they are capable of doing, such as intelligence, or aptitude. Typical performance tests determine how they be expected to behave normally, such as tests of personality, interests, behavioral observation. The psychometric approach seeks to measure and study specific factors, giving them a score and ensuring the validity of that assessment. The impressionistic approach seeks to form an overall impression of the human being, open responses are encouraged resulting in a broad description requiring interpretation.

4. Discuss the concepts of (a) reliability, (b) validity, (c) referencing procedures in relation to psychological tests. Explain how they interrelate.

Reliability is the ability to get the same result each time you use the test, minimizing the measurement error. Internal consistency (many items all correlating with each other) and stability (absence of things that produce change, should get same result all the time) are indicators of test reliability. Validity refers to getting results that accurately reflect the concept being measured. Validity depends on reliability, reliability is necessary for validity, but not in itself sufficient for it. Referencing procedures seeks to place the results of a test in context of clinical relevance or normal distribution in the population.


5. Describe the basic uses of psychological tests.

The tests can provide a screening method for at risk populations, vocational interest and ability, treatment guidance, and evaluation in psychological treatment.

6. Provide specific examples of tests for assessment of personality and intellectual functioning.

  • Minnesota Multiphasic personality inventory –2 (MMPI-2) (most common)
  • Rorschach (inkblot)
  • Thematic Apperception Test- TAT
  • Beck depression inventory
  • Beck anxiety inventory

7. Discuss case examples of assessment of psychopathology and personality using a structured questionnaire (the MMPI-2).

I was not there for this.

8. Discuss the concepts of neuropsychological assessment and give examples of how it is used.

Neuropsychological Assessment is an evaluation of brain function through systematic analysis of behavior using standardized psychological assessment procedures. It assesses motor, sensory / perceptual, spatial abilities, language, intellectual functioning, attention, memory, emotional functioning. It is used in functional description, neurodiagnosis / differential diagnosis, life situation counseling, staging and prediction of disease course, rehabilitation, evaluating effects of treatment, forensic uses, and research.

9. Discuss how to make a referral for psychological assessment. Note what is essential in a referral and what is not.

Do: ask a question, be specific, put your request in the context of clinical information
Don’t: list test names, blame your supervisor