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History of Psychological Assessments

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During the Second World War, the University of Minnesota was developing the psychological test for the development of psychopathology with the help of funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an employment aide program for depression era. With this help, emerge the personality test, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) that is applicable in various setting such as medical, clinical, industrial, and correctional facility in the United States. The primary purpose of the emergence of the test was for the medical reasons and it was generated by the intersecting interests of psychiatry and clinical psychology by the researchers, Starke R. Hathaway, a clinical psychologist, and J. Charnley McKinley, a neuropsychiatrist. Both of the researchers came to "operationalize the measurement of human behavior in a manner that reflected their immediate institutional environment and the wider contemporary professional context of mental health care" (Buchanan, 1994).

The importance of the MMPI was noted because it condensed the psychiatric interview questions for the patients that were once seen to be very expensive. The uses for the test cited by the researchers included "estimating abnormal mental characteristic in a population, basically finding out the neurotic and psychotic individuals in a population before the deviation became overt and improving the objective of the clinical diagnosis" (Buchanan, p. 150, 1994). The questions that the researchers designed were pooled from various sources such as clinical experience to psychological contribution as well as sociology. The questions on purposefully were designed and written in a simple first-person statement, in which a respondent only has to answer "true" or "false." Furthermore, the test was designed to have a scale that was of an unimportance, in which a high score were indicative of response pattern like that of the criterion groups and could be interpreted as a psychopathology. Therefore, for this particular personality test, "the respondents answering "why" is not of a concern, rather it was a pattern of responses was a key element, and response pattern were given meaning by reference to group level responses" (Buchanan, p. 152, 1994).

In 1940, the first published MMPI scale was appeared as Hypochondriasis, followed by Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic deviate scale, Masculinity-Feminity, Paranoia, Psychasthenia, lastly, Hymonia scale. Therefore, the MMPI consisted of ten clinical scales and three validity scales; the clinical scale listed above were there to distinguish the norm group from the psychiatric disorders. On the other hand, the three validity scales were the Lie (L), Infrequency (F), and Correction (K). The L states that the respondents might fail to answer the questionnaire honestly to what their personality represents but rather answer it accordingly to what the interviewer might want

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