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  • 3:40 am on April 29, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Personality Assessment Assignment 

    Yong Ho Kim, April 29th 2003

    1. What are some criticisms of trait theory in general?

    Possible criticisms include that subjects can falsify answers because the result of a personality test can be personally important to them, that very often the questions are culture-specific, and that subjects across different cultures don’t necessarily present the same main personality traits (Kalat points out that in the Chinese there is only an “loyalty to Chinese traditions” trait instead of “agreeableness” and “openness to experience”. This could be interpreted as meaning that in China a high agreeableness (being loyal to other people who follow the Chinese tradition) and being closed to experience (not trying other non-Chinese things) have always correlated together and could be lumped into one category.)

    It turns out that given personality tests chunk groups of people together, it will forego other less prominent differences in personality, considered by the creators of the big five as overlapping or unimportant. However, ignoring small individual differences can directly lead to stereotyping, which isn’t always a desirable result. Of course, there is the payoff that the more traits we add and intend to measure through tests, the less parsimonious the test becomes. It is possible to do the reverse and decrease the number of traits even further arguing that they still overlap (Eysenck), even though it might generalize the descriptions even more.

    2. Evaluate your lab section’s choice of traits.

    Overall it was a good sample, but “experimental” and “curious” seemed to overlap in meaning. To experiment, one needs to be curious. For “motivated” and “diligent”, it seems like one corresponds to a mental disposition while the other is a behavior. Isn’t it the case that being motivated will lead the person to work harder, thus being perceived by others as diligent?

    Also, “social” and “shy” were two degrees of the single trait. Hence, we would be using more titles than necessary, and making the accuracy of the test lower. Overall, it was about a good number of traits.

    3. Evaluate your lab section’s choice of questions to evaluate those traits.
    Questions such as “during the past week, I cried more than twice” were aimed at too narrow audiences to make any sense out of the results. No male subjects responded yes to that question, but it is possible that if the frequency had been reduced to once per month the number of respondents had been over zero (still including those who cry twice), and make a conclusion out of it, since a result of zero doesn’t tell us what the lower limit is.

    4. What are some of the difficulties associated with developing personality questionnaires?

    The problem lies in the fact that the questionnaires have to be created with human subjects in mind. If the test is too long, it will discourage subjects from finishing or volunteering to work on the test. But the more questions the questionnaire carries, the higher accuracy can be expected from it.

    5. What are some of the difficulties associated with administering personality questionnaires?

    Especially if subjects are acquaintances of the experimenter, they might hide those qualities deemed undesirable and emphasize those desirable. Also, often the pattern of answers subjects give is highly dependent on the social and emotional context in which the subject was situated at during the specific time and place of the day at which the subject took the questionnaire. Also, it is a written test, so people must sit down or at least stand still, which excludes an important population of Macalester College who are often running from class to class. (This is not a implicit reference to the “running boy”.)

    6. How could personality evaluation be improved?

    It is necessary to hide the “socially unacceptable behavior” tag from the questions as much as possible, in order to prevent social hindrance at the moment of responding questionnaires. Detaching the questions of positive remarks is also important, the idea being that questions should sound rather neutral. This has been done for the current test, but still “People I don’t know make me nervous” carries a strong negative implication that should be corrected. (I suggest, “I am mostly friendly towards people I know”). The conclusion seems to be that this is a embedded problem for self-administered tests.

    Also, the format of the question could be changed so that it could, for example, be read off a tv screen or heard from a cassette recorder. Or done orally individually. If this were to be done, it would increase the repertoire of subjects to be included in the pool.

    On a final note, I thought the effectiveness of personality tests could be improved if subjects didn’t realize that it was a personality test that they were taking at the moment of taking them, (so that they can be less conscientious and less censoring while answering questions) but this seems impossible given the access college students have to Psychology courses.

  • 2:48 am on April 8, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    nights like these, when I barely manage to finish work at 4:00am knowing that I got classes at 9am and won’t be able to go to bed until 10pm, I just want to kill myself.

  • 5:58 am on April 6, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Funny beard 

    The hairs in my beard are all turned counter-clockwise! Is it because of earth’s rotation?

  • 3:44 am on April 4, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Depth of Processing Assignment 

    April 4th, 2003
    Yong Ho Kim

    Kalat (2002) summarizes the traditional consensus in the psychological community regarding short-term and long-term memory. Short-term memory is a “temporary storage of the information that someone has just experienced’ and long-term memory is “a relatively permanent store of mostly meaningful information”. Additionally, short-term memory stores up to seven (plus or minus two) bits of distinct information for a few seconds, and can store an kind of information. For the long-term memory, the capacity is not known but certainly very large, and the information needs to be closely tied down inside the learner’s mind to be successfully stored.

    Often information is first stored in the short-term memory and then passed to the long-term memory. This is called consolidation. Controversy in the psychological community arises on the understanding of this process. Traditionally it has been understood that it is a matter of repetition for the information to pass to the long-term memory. However, recent research disagrees based on the fact that some very personal information don’t require several rehearsals for them to be learnt. It is suggested that the information must be meaningfully and emotionally tied to the learner in order to be transferred to the long-term memory.

    Jacoby (1973) tested the effect of rehearsal on memory improvement. By “rehearsal” Jacoby means “a subject’s covert or overt repetition of an item”, so that “increasing rehearsal frequency simply means that the person says the item more often”. He asked a random group of college students to memorize words from a pool of 200 words rated A and AA (obtained from Thorndike and Lorge word book). Ten lists were presented to subjects with a delay interval between each list. Each list consisted of 20 words. During the delay, some subjects were instructed to study the words in silence. Other group was instructed to study the words aloud, and another was instructed to perform arithmetic calculations. After a delay, the subjects were requested to recall all 20 words.

    In a laboratory hour of an Introduction to Psychology course in Macalester College, 35 students replicated Jacoby’s experiment with a slight modification. Instead of studying the words aloud, the students were instructed to say the word “Hello” aloud throughout the delay. Instead of performing random arithmetic calculations, students were instructed to think of a 3-digit number and keep subtracting 3 from the number throughout the delay. Instead of studying in silence, students were instructed to remain silent, with no specific duties. The subjects were not divided in groups, but were all asked to perform the same task at a given time.

    Based on Jacoby’s results, it is expected that students remembered words better for lists followed by silent study. In my individual test, I remembered 37 words for the interrupted and non-interrupted free recall test, and 14 words when asked to recall the whole list. For recognition, I recognized 37 words. It seemed like recognition would be much an easier task, but I recognized as the exact same amount of words that I recalled during the list-by-list free recall. It might be the case that the number of words recognized dropped from their expected number because that was the last activity and the total list free recall activity interfered with the memory.


    Jacoby, L. L. (1973). Ending Processes, Rehearsal, and Recall Requirements. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 12, 302-310
    Kalat, J. W. (2002). Introduction to Psychology. Pacific Groove, CA: Wadsworth

  • 12:56 am on April 3, 2003 Permalink | Reply  

    Yongho in arduous effort of explaining a 4th year girl how to solve the 1/4 inch on a map = 1 mile, 

    then 1 and 3/4 inch = how many miles? problem.

    Me: So, let’s draw a map. See, take the pen and draw a map.. something random like… *cough* South America *cough*
    Girl draws straight lines.
    Girl: So this is my room, here is my mom’s room, and this is the living,
    Me: What about doors? You gotta get into them somehow.
    Girl: Ow! (Draws doors)
    Me: Okay so let’s imagine somebody else is seeing your map. And he’s like, wondering, “Hmm, this is an interesting house. I won’t how large is La’Danye’s room?”
    No response from Girl.
    Me: So this guy is trying to bring the poster [a large penciled paper poster with an eagle picture] into your room. And he doesn’t know whether this will fit or not, because on the longer side of your walls there is a window.
    Girl: Oh but my room is not that small.
    Me: Well mine’s like… one, two, three, seven feet times eleven feets. And there’s a window on the long side. So I need to know exactly how wide it is.
    Girl: You can put it on the floor.
    Me: No! It might get dirty.
    Girl: What about the roof.
    Me: You know, it’s kinda hard to stick it on the roof…
    Girl: Oh but you can paste it on the bathroom walls, and the kitchen, and living room, and..
    Me: I don’t have a bathroom.
    Girl is amazed.
    Me: I mean.. there’s a bathroom, but it’s for everybody in my floor. I live at my school, and we got tiny rooms, but there’s no bathroom for everybody, you know.
    Girl: Why do you live at school? Why not live at home with your parents?


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