Psychological Constructs and Tests for Employees

The psychological construct can be simply defined as a tool used for understanding human behavior. On the other hand, a psychological test is the standard and objective measure of a sample of human behavior. Therefore, the two intermarry to create a good understanding of how people behave. The test becomes a standard measure while the construct is the tool for researching on the samples brought for test. This essay will help in describing some of these psychological constructs and tests as well and what unique value they have over the normal research on finding information about people, more specifically employees.

The psychological construct is used in psychology for better understanding of human behavior. If the natural sciences are related to parameters such as global warming and gravity, the psychological construct tries to penetrate into all social spheres. Constructs help scientists to consider how to treat people, what sort of the relationship is between different behavioral properties and how it can help in the future.

Psychological constructs are the building blocks of scientific theories, as psychologists are interested to study on human behavior, identify behavioral regularities and their causes. In the end, the researchers and psychologists can in learn and understand the complex array of emotions, thoughts, and behavior of people in their day-day lives. Applied psychologists then use these constructs to decide how to handle people, in this case, the employees with certain disorders, who to train and promote for particular jobs in an organization.

There are many variables studied by psychologists today that are straightforward such as age, height, weight, sex among others. One does not have to strain in knowing another one’s sex for instance. Just by the look, we can tell for many that he is male, and she is female. A psychologist may also be able to find out without strain somebody’s age. Many people know their heights and weight even though others may just be less concerned in keeping track of the same.

However, somebody’s intelligence may not be measured by merely observing the other variables as discussed above. Some tests need to be done to understand the level of intelligence for someone. These non-straightforward variables, which represent how one feels, thinks or tends to act, are what are termed as psychological constructs.

They represent an internal process that cannot be directly seen. Examples of these processes include emotional states such as joy, fear, sadness among others. In addition, are the attitudes toward certain people, personality traits that are introverted or extroverted, and abilities like singing, dancing and swimming. On the other hand, psychological tests are meant to measure or rather evaluate these feelings, attitudes, and values.

Various tools for measuring physical characteristics of things are well known, for instance, a ruler measure length, weighing scale measure weight among others. All these give an accurate figure of measurement as they have standard gauge: 1 kilogram, 1 meter among others. Furthermore, data is collected, and a number assigned to them. Depending on whatever it is, the number will have some meaning. For instance, 500g of sugar will be a half a kg of the whole. However, psychological characteristics such as aptitude, intelligence, introversion or extroversion require special devices which are the psychological tests.

For a psychological test to be considered good, it must possess the three vital properties namely: standardization, reliability, and validity. Therefore, a psychological test acknowledged as valid if it measures what it was planned to measure and not vice versa. Consequently, reliability of a psychological test translates that a test will be reliable if after being done and re-done produces similar results. Finally, a psychological test will be considered standard if the deviation and mean obtained from the sampled data can be used determine a formula for transforming raw to standard scores.

Thus, the psychological test can play an important role in every human life. Nowadays, the testing is done at employment, schools, hospitals, sports facilities and any instances where people want to know the specific data that would assist them make a decision.

For instance, my friend George was required to pass several tests in order to participate in swimming competitions. This is standard procedure, where is checked psychological stability of participant, his intellectual abilities and some personality traits. George took the test, which consists of three parts. The first part was composed of questions related to emotions, vulnerability participant, and his psychological state. The second part was directed on the answering of the simple logical questions, and determining the level of preparation tested. The third part was related to the personal characteristics that later would help the coach to understand the needs and wishes of the person. The test was held in writing. Each part takes about 20 minutes. On average, the student spent about an hour for the entire test. From my point of view, the test was performed without any pressure, in the free form. However, it lacked oral part. It seems to me that it is impossible to fully understand the individuality of man without talking to him personally.

An α level is a value that indicates the possibility of occurrence in particular case. If an α level equals 0.05, that means that the possibility  in this case is 5 occasions out of 100. Accordingly, an α level of 0.01 = 1 of 100, 0.001 = 1 of 1000, 0.10 = 10 of 100 and 0.20 = 20 of 100.

Different variables can be considered at different levels. For example,

  1. Distances between towns in the simplest case can be measured, if one knows average speed of a particular type of transport which was moving between the cities and the time which he spent on this movement. It is a physical or actual level of measurement.
  2. Intelligence measured by an IQ test. Here it will be necessary to compare the obtained results with the well-known traditional results. This test has no physical basis, relying only on the mental component. Psychologists cannot measure them; they can only operate with the results.
  3. The rank ordering of members of a class based on height. In this case, physical data were used (growth), which can be measured and, correspondingly, the elementary mathematical manipulation.
  4. The numbering of those with blue eyes 1, brown eyes 2, green eyes 3, and other colors 4. Here, the performance of such tasks can be carried out directly by assigning each participant a category in compliance with his eye color. It does not require any labor-intensive effort or expenses.

If I obtain a score of 100 on a test that has a mean of 120 and a standard deviation of 10, it means that my score is low enough. If one considers the deviation in percentage terms, it turns out that (120х10) / 100 = 12 – deviation in points. Thus, the lowest score can be 108 points (120-12 = 108) while my = 100, which is below of average. If it will be 50 and standard deviation of 10, it means that the excess of the average assessment will be 50%.

Using psychological tests is also important as it gives true answers with no room for a lie. This is true because most of these tests do not give any clues over what is the right response or which one is unhealthy (wrong). This then helps reduce the room for biases. In formal and other legal situations where interviews may not give the psychologist the frank responses, as one becomes prone to adapt to his environment and thus may be carried away by the impression of his interviewer, the psychological tests and constructs may come in handy.

They are more reliable, standard, and valid compared to interviews and the other common research ways of getting information about people. Psychological assessment/testing methods are relatively cheap and easy to administer. There are minimal requirements depending on the kind of construct one will wish to pursue and the test appropriate for the same. The result is a long-term cost-benefit to the whole organization. No straining, no stressing to get the right information neither is there time wastage for those taking the test or administers.

This tool also gives a good framework for selection of an efficient and effective person because this selection process gives all the employees an opportunity to express themselves in terms of where and what they are good at, not physically but through a questionnaire. The job opportunity will not be given to those who can well express themselves in an interview board meeting, rather to the rightful, skilled person for the position. Furthermore, it helps kill biasness and corruption as they are more objective. Thus, all are treated equally and fairly, and they measure what one can do and not what he will do.

As have been seen from the discussion above, a variable that fits its construct perfectly will have no problem. Otherwise, when the measured variable represents the ideal construct imperfectly, then imperfections arise in two forms, that is contamination and/or deficiency. Contamination is when what has been given surpasses the expectations of the test taker/consumer. For instance, when in an English examination room, a 5th grader is given a proverb to do an essay when the teacher had not taught them on the same. The information they shall give here will not be valid as it shall be deemed contaminated. Deficiency, on the other hand, happens as vice versa when the expectations of the consumer are more and the test administered is on the lower side. In this case, for instance, when an employee has been in training to be a system analyst, but he is given the post of a lesser position as a secretary.

Evidently, test for research purposes is different from that of the psychologists. In this case, test for psychologists will be more based on personality rather than intelligence and achievement test characteristics or tools. Psychological constructs, however, are important in defining what kind of psychometric test that will be taken to give trustworthy results that have no biasness of any sort.