What Is Psychological Testing?
Psychological testing (psychometrics), also called psychological assessment, is one of the ways that researchers or mental health practitioners measure and evaluate human behavior and abilities. The tests are standardized. Psychological tests are divided into a number of classifications: intelligence tests, achievement and aptitude tests, occupational tests, neuropsychological tests, and personality tests. Some tests measure for specific clinical criteria, for example, there are many tests whose goal is to find out information about panic disorder and agoraphobia.
If you have gone through the school system in the United States, then you have probably taken psychological tests, most likely IQ and aptitude tests. Psychological tests are produced and copyrighted by various test publishers, and only those professionals trained in psychological assessment are allowed to administer tests. Testing has its limitations because of the following: psychological tests have to be tested for validity and reliability for them to be able to measure what they were intended for; critics also site bias on the part of the evaluator. And experts point out that the human mind is just too complex to assess and evaluate with standard measures.
Some common tests include:
Intelligence tests: These are standardized measures used to evaluate your cognitive function and intellectual competence usually for school and work. They are given to adults and children and its numerous subtests evaluate areas of intelligence like verbal and math skills, and spatial dexterity. IQ “norm” is 100.
Achievement and aptitude tests: Achievement tests measure how much you know about a specific subject and are the most common tests used in schools. Your weekly spelling test, and the Scolastic Achievement Test (SAT), are examples. Aptitude tests measure your talents and interests.
Personality tests: Personality tests try to uncover your personality type and are used in clinical settings to aid in diagnosis and in research labs. Personality tests measure aspects of your personality, such as self-esteem, how you cope under stress, and personality disorders.
Neuropsychological tests: Neuropsychological tests measure your thinking ability, which includes how you speak, your logic and judgments, etc. Neuropsychological testing is often used to determine cognitive functioning due to disease, for example, dementia or brain injury.
Clinical tests for specific disorders: These are used by clinicians to measure the degree of specific symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, depression, and suicidal thoughts as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Many of these tests are self-administered.
Occupational tests: The goal of occupational tests is to pair your talents and interests to certain jobs or professions. Your answers are scored and evaluated against the kinds of interests common to people who work in certain jobs. For example, if a large percentage of your interests match the interests of most lawyers, that might be the career coice for you.
If you are going to be tested for anxiety, your health care clinician will still need to do an evaluation interview to find out about your family and background, attitudes about life, your symptoms, how you cope with anxiety and experience the world around you, and if you have other existing conditions or disorders.