Psychology 3580F 650 FW23

Research in Personality Assessment

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 

September 2023 to December 2023 

Psychology 3580F    Section 650 

Research in Personality Assessment 



Addresses reliability and validity issues as well as several contemporary topics in assessment such as multitrait-multimethod analysis, personality testing in personnel selection, and control of dissimulation or "faking" of personality test responses. The course includes a hands-on research component. 


Antirequisite: Not Applicable 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 


Prerequisites: Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810, PLUS registration in third or fourth year Honours Specialization in Psychology or Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Third or fourth year Psychology Majors and Psychology Special Students who earn 70% or higher in both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or 70% or higher in the former Psychology 2820E (or 60% or higher in the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810) also may enrol in this course. Online/distance studies, 0.5 course. 


2 lecture hours; 2 lab hours 


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 



Instructor: Laura Johnson  

Office and Phone Number: via Zoom  

Office Hours: By appointment (please email)  



TA: Jennifer Lynch  

Office and Phone Number: via Zoom  

Office Hours: By appointment (please email)  



Time and Location of Classes:  

Lectures: Asynchronous 

Delivery Method: Virtual (via OWL) 


Labs: Thursdays (9:30 AM to 11:30AM) 

Delivery Method: Virtual (via Zoom) 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 

2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 



No specific textbook is required but readings will be assigned on a weekly basis in accordance with the lecture schedule in this document. 



This course familiarizes the student with research on several key topics in the assessment of individual differences such as the use of personality assessment in pre-employment testing; “faking” of personality test responses and control of “faking” of personality test responses; multitrait-multimethod analysis. In so doing, this course will improve skills in evaluating research in the assessment of individual differences and developing research ideas. The lab component of the course is designed to develop applied and conceptual skills relevant to the assessment of individual differences. 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


describe and explain important personality traits that underlie performance in a variety of jobs  

Lecture Content, Readings, Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Forum Discussions, Presentation  

Test, Essay, Assignments,  Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Presentation.  

generate new testable hypotheses regarding the assessment of personality  

Lecture Content, Readings, Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Research for Essay and Presentation  

Essay, Assignments,  Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Presentation.  

design research to test hypotheses regarding the assessment of personality  

Lecture Content, Readings, Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Research for Essay and Presentation  

Test, Essay, Assignments,  Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Presentation.  

identify and describe important measurement issues relevant to the assessment of personality  

Lecture Content, Readings, Lab Exercises/Participation Activities 

Test, Lab Exercises /Participation Activities, Assignments.  

apply concepts and theories from personality assessment to real world problems  

Lecture Content, Readings, Lab Exercises/Participation Activities, Research for Essay  

Test, Essay, Lab Exercises/ Participation Activities, Assignments.  




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 


Test. There will be one test of up to 2 hours in length, consisting of questions varying in length from short answer or multiple-choice, to essay. The test will cover all the reading, lecture and other material covered up to that point. The test will be worth 22% of the final course grade and it will be a “closed book” test (no books, notes, electronic devices, or aids of any type will be allowed). 


Essay. An APA-formatted essay of 2500 words (not counting references, tables, figures, and appendices) must be completed by each student. More details on the content, structure, and grading of the essay, will be provided early in the semester. The research proposal for the essay topic will be worth 5% of the final course grade. The final essay will be worth 25% of the final course grade. Aside from accepted accommodations (see Section 11.0), submitting your essay after the deadline will result in a deduction of 5 percentage points per day. In other words, a paper that would have received a grade of 85% if handed in by the deadline, will only receive a grade of 80% if handed in one day late.  


Presentation. Students in this course will be expected to deliver one presentation based on their research essay, worth 10% of the final course grade. Presentations will take place during lab time towards the end of the semester (Nov. 9/16/23). Additional details about the structure of this presentation will be provided early in the semester. 


Assignments. There will be three assignments throughout the course that involve applications of the course content, worth 30% of the final course grade in total (Assignment 1 = 5%, Assignment 2 = 10%, Assignment 3 = 15%). Additional details about each assignment will be provided early in the semester. 


Participation. The lecture component of this course is asynchronous, but the lab component is synchronous. Participation marks will generally be obtained from attending and actively participating in that week’s lab component. Some activities may be assigned that require engaging with the course content outside of the lab (e.g., posting in the discussion forum, completing and reflecting on an online personality assessment). A total of 8% of the final course grade will be accounted for by participation. 


Course Component 

% of Final Grade 



Research Essay 


… Proposal 


… Final essay 




… Assignment 1 


… Assignment 2 


… Assignment 3 









Test. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not complete the test will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If accommodation is granted, the student will be expected to complete the makeup test. There will be one, and only one, makeup test, and it will be scheduled 7-12 days after the original test. Students who have received accommodation to complete the makeup test but fail to complete the makeup test, will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course, unless further accommodation is granted. If further accommodation is granted, the Essay and Assignment components of the course will be reweighted as follows: the new weighting of the Essay component will be 37% of the final grade instead of 25% of the final grade; the new weighting of the Assignment component will be 40% of the final grade total (15% for each assignment) instead of 30% of the final grade. 


Essay. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students do not submit an essay will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If accommodation is granted, the deadline for the submitting the essay will be extended. 


Assignments. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students do not submit an assignment will receive a grade of zero on that assignment. If accommodation is granted, the deadline for submission of the assignment will be extended for a maximum of 2 weeks. If an extension of longer than two weeks is granted, rather than submitting the assignment, the student’s final grade in the laboratory component will be reweighted accordingly. This is because the graded assignments will ordinarily be returned to the rest of the class 2 weeks after the deadline. 


Presentations. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students do not deliver a presentation will receive a grade of zero on that presentation. 


Participation. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not attend the lab and/or complete the week’s activity (as applicable) will receive a zero for that week’s participation. If accommodation is granted for participation for a specific week, reweighting will be used to ensure that the participation grade is not adversely affected by lack of lab attendance or participation in the accommodated activities. 

PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. 


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 





Test. The test will take place on Thursday, October 26 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM, in lieu of the lab for that day. 


Essay. The essay must be submitted through the “assignments” section of the OWL site by December 6 at 11:55p.m.  


Assignments. All assignments must be submitted through the “assignments” section of the OWL site. Assignment 1 will be due October 6th at 11:55p.m. Assignment 2 will be due November 17th at 11:55 PM. Assignment 3 will be due December 1st at 11:55 PM.  


Presentations. Presentations will take place from on November 9th, 16th, and 23rd during lab time. 


Participation. Most participation activities will take place during lab time, unless otherwise indicated by the Instructor or TA. Any participation activities not completed in lab will be due on the Friday at 11:55 PM. 



The list and ordering of topics follows. Readings for each topic are indicated, but may be modified as necessary on an ongoing basis. Some of the listed readings may be designated as optional by the Instructor in advance of the respective class. Any modifications to the lecture schedule will be announced via. Unless otherwise indicated by the instructor or TA, all readings are available through Resources/Readings in OWL. 


  1. September 11 to 15: Course Overview 


  1. September 18 to 22: Essential Measurement Issues in Personality Assessment: Reliability 


Murphy, K.R., & Davidshofer, C. O. (2005). Psychological testing: Principles and Applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Chapters 6 and 7 (pp. 116-152). Note: Do not bother to read the sections on “Reliability of Difference Scores,” “Reliability of Composite Scores,” and “Reliability of Criterion-Referenced Tests.”  


  1. September 25 to 29: Essential Measurement Issues in Personality Assessment: Validity 


Murphy, K.R., & Davidshofer, C. O. (2005). Psychological testing: Principles and Applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Chapters 8 and 9 (pp. 153-201). Note: Do not bother to read the section on “Tests and Decisions” or the material on pages 192-198. 


  1. October 2 to 6: Personality Assessment and Pre-employment Testing: Basic Issues 


Hughes, D.J., & Batey, M. (2017). Using personality questionnaires for selection. In Goldstein, H.W., Pulakos, E.E., Passmore, J. & Semedo, C. (Eds.) The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention. Malden, MA: Wiley. pp. 151-181.  


Raymark, P. H., Schmit, M. J., & Guion, R. M. (1997). Identifying potentially useful personality constructs for employee selection. Personnel Psychology, 50, 723-736.  


Tett, R. P., Jackson, D. N., & Rothstein, M., (1991). Personality measures as predictors of job performance: A meta-analytic review. Personnel Psychology, 44, 703-742. 


  1. October 9-13 & October 16-20: Personality Assessment and Pre-employment Testing: The “Faking” of Personality Test Responses 


Blasberg, S.A., Rogers, K.H., & Paulhus, D.L. (2013). The Bidimensional Impression Management Index (BIMI): Measuring agentic and communal forms of impression management. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96, 523-531.  


Christiansen, N. D., Goffin, R.D., Johnston, N. G., & Rothstein, M. G. (1994). Correcting the 16PF for faking: Effects on criterion-related validity and individual hiring decisions. Personnel Psychology, 47, 847-860.  


Dwight, S.A., & Donovan, J.J. (2003). Do warnings not to fake reduce faking? Human Performance, 16, 1-23.  


Fan, J., Gao, D., Carroll, S. A., Lopez, F. J., Tian, T. S., & Meng, H. (2012). Testing the efficacy of a new procedure for reducing faking on personality tests within selection contexts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(4), 866–80.  


Goffin. R.D., & Boyd, A.C. (2009). Faking and personality assessment in personnel selection: Advancing models of faking. Canadian Psychology, 50, 151-160.  


Goffin, R.D., Jang, I., & Skinner, E. (2011). Forced-choice and conventional personality assessment: Each may have unique value in pre-employment testing. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 840-844.  


Jackson, D. N., Wroblewski,V. R., & Ashton, M. C. (2000). The impact of faking on employment tests: Does forced choice offer a solution? Human Performance, 13, 371-388.  


Jeong, Y. R., Christiansen, N. D., Robie, C., Kung, M.-C., & Kinney, T. B. (2017). Comparing applicants and incumbents: Effects of response distortion on mean scores and validity of personality measures. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 25(3), 311–315.  


Rosse, J. G., Stecher, M. D., Miller, J. L., & Levin, R. A. (1998). The impact of response distortion on preemployment personality testing and hiring decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 634-644. 


  1. October 23 to 27: Midterm Exam Review – No Readings


***October 26: Midterm Exam (9:30 AM – 11:30AM) *** 


  1. October 30 to November 3: Fall Reading Week


  1. November 6 to 10: Conclusion of Personality Assessment & Pre-Employment Testing


  1. November 13 to 17: Personality Testing within the Broader Range of Pre-Employment Testing Methods 


Goffin, R. D. (2016). Intelligence in the Workplace. In V. Zeigler-Hill and T.K. Shackelford (Eds). Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. N. Y.: Springer.  


Schmidt, F.l., & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262-274.  


Sackett, P. R., Zhang, C., Berry, C. M., & Lievens, F. (2022). Revisiting meta-analytic estimates of validity in personnel selection: Addressing systematic overcorrection for restriction of range. Journal of Applied Psychology, 107(11), 2040–2068. 


  1. November 20 to 24: TBA 


  1. November 27 to December 1: TBA


  1. December 6: Essays Due




We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 




Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 




As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 




Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 



Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 





Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 





In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 





Office of the Registrar:   


Student Development Services:  


Psychology Undergraduate Program: 



If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor. 


The dates mentioned in this outline could be changed by the instructor. Sufficient notice will be given for any such changes and they will be announced in class and/or lab and/or through the course’s OWL website.