VIEWS AND ANSWERS TO THE ESSAY QUESTIONS
It would have been very unlikely that we would be looking at another person without our own concept of what he is based on our cultural, environmental, sexual and even educational orientation. This is the reason why this paper aims to discuss key points from our text and discussions and likewise provide our own concept of what these topics are from our perspective. Sharing personal opinions and citing individual views from my own standpoint would also be weighed against the concepts that will be discussed. This should enlighten us and provide us a more concrete basis of our beliefs and at the same time coming up with a concrete means of making the said concepts as valuable factors to study the possibilities that were not often tackled nor contemplated upon.
1. Discuss potential cross-ethnic, cross-cultural and cross-class factors that may affect interview validity. How would you handle such an interview?
Ethnic, cultural and class factors can only affect the validity of an interview if the attitudes of either the interviewer or interviewee start to come in the way. If the interviewer on his end would have reservations or pre-judgments about any of the factors that were mentioned, definitely, his attitude towards the interviewee would be clouded by these. Not only is it going to be expected that his facial expression would be different from the suggested open, friendly, etc., but it his responses to the interviewee’s answers would also start to be affected. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 8)
Unlikely comments would start to come out, I imagine, if the interviewer has pre-judgments about others. It is very likely that instead of making appropriate responses such as empathy statements, or paraphrases, the interviewer may make snide comments or fish out follow up questions that can make the interviewee feel scrutinized and defensive instead of being able to talk more openly about themselves. This is already one effect that can affect the interview. The amount of information or understanding about the interviewee has a very big tendency to become limited because of this. Furthermore, the interviewee would either be forced to succumb to their own reservations about the interviewer or provide false information if only to exert an effort to please.
On the other hand, if it was an interviewee who has pre-judgments about the interviewer, the attitude of being condescending is extremely high. It is very possible that the interviewee may even question the credibility of the interviewer to conduct the interview and come up with an academic and deductive conclusion.
Ideally, I can say that having reservations or pre-judgments about people is a no-no. This is something that every person, regardless if it’s an interviewer or an interviewee has to avoid. However, because everybody is entitled to their upbringing and the orientation of their values as a valid reason for such, we still need to look out for the possibility of having our cross-ethnic/cross-cultural/cross-class ideas to be used in a more constructive manner. One can either use their reservations to better understand the other person. He has to learn to be open-minded about the entire experience, though, and this is something that everybody needs to look out for. Keeping an open mind is going to be the crucial point of the activity. Instead of making comments or jumping to conclusions, we can use an open mind as a good venue in clarifying issues that we may have had with such factors. We should not settle for the beliefs or pre-judgments that we have as the end-all or be-all of a person’s totality. An interview process can be a good avenue for people with reservations to better understand another and prove them wrong about any popular notion.
Another option, if in any case that keeping an open mind about it would really be a challenge to overcome, is that conducting a highly structured interview can come in handy. This can help from going astray from the main purpose of the interview and preventing the interviewer to delve into even touching possible areas that may cloud their better judgment. Also, it will also be advantageous to the interviewee with pre-judgments because if the interview will be highly structured, his answers will also be limited to the types of questions provided and there would be very little opportunity to talk about their own ideas that may not really be necessary to the task at hand.
2. Given what you read in Chapter 8 in our textbook, design a training program for law enforcement officers teaching interrogation techniques that reduce the errors associated with interviewing.
Interrogation techniques are supposed to be used to extract the desired and needed information from a detainee. However, U.S. law enforcement officers particularly that of the CIA were said to be using the six “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (Ross and Esposito, 2005) where they use physical suffering as a means to get information out of their detainee. This was said to be “unreliable” since the tendency of the detainee to say what they want him to say just to stop the suffering is extremely high (Ross, et al., 2005).
I would say that given the different ways to interview a person, law enforcement officers could first give out a structured interview. Since they would limit questions based on situations most expected out of their profiled individual, this should give them a good idea on how they could better approach the person based on the results from this officers should be able to at least have an idea on how the detainee could be conversed and coerced into admitting.
Moving forward, once law enforcement officers had been able to solidify their profile of the person, and then they can start an unstructured interview where a better and more in-depth understanding of the person could be used for analysis. From this point on, they could start taking into consideration the personality of the individual against the alleged offense committed. Moreover, it allows the interviewer to make the detainee open up if they will start to use acknowledgement statements or responses that they have understood the person they are talking to. Once comfortable, the stakes of making the detainee comfortable and more open to conversations are higher.
One good challenge though, that I observe from this set up is that utilizing both methods of interview just to get information from a person particularly that of a detainee, would be time-consuming. Say for example, once a structured interview was conducted, we cannot automatically just profile the person and expect him to confess immediately. Instead, a big chunk of the time, we would have to make them feel at ease first and gain their trust before we can actually make them understand that their cooperation is needed. This, though, may be controlled. If profiling the individual had been successful and effective and officers are then armed with a handsome analysis of the person, then, delving into the unstructured interview would not consume as much time as initially projected.
3. Discuss the 3-level hierarchical model of the modern Binet and compare it to Spearman’s concept of general mental ability.
Alfred Binet had given us the legacy of formulating the intelligence test. This employs the two major theories of what intelligence is – age differentiation and general mental ability. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 9)
Binet had developed his intelligence test or scale to look into the intellectual capacity and development of an individual. It had first covered the concept of the General Intelligence. This is in congruence to Spearman’s concept of General Mental ability that believes in the principle that a person’s intellect is based on what he calls a psychometric g – and from this, various other factors such as crystallized and fluid-analytic capabilities are based from. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 9) Basically, both these principles tackle that a person’s intelligence has one base, the psychometric g (as Spearman calls it) and from this, the ability to learn (fluid) and to reason (crystallized) stems from. Meaning, that from the generalized concept of a person’s intelligence, both Binet and Spearman believe that it could be weighed in both ways: on how we acquire and learn from experiences and what were taught to us as well as on how we reason out and justify our actions and decisions.
However, the modern Binet scales have taken this gf-gc principle further by taking verbal and non-verbal abilities into consideration. It only shows that our crystallized and fluid intelligence is manifested in both our actions and words and are fairly weighed by Binet’s Intelligence Tests. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 9)
4. Choose one of the WAIS-III subtests and describe possible non-intellective factors that may influence an individual’s performance.
The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale measures the cognitive ability of an individual and the measures are the following subtests: Verbal Subtest and Performance Subtest. This, though, can still have a notable wrinkle that may challenge the performance of an individual taking the test. This is the Symbol Search under the Performance Subtest which has “60items of paired group of symbols and the examinee will indicate whether the target symbol appears in the search group of symbols. This aims to measure the visual processing speed, planning and perceptual organization of an individual”. (Rapid Reference 1.3, New WAIS-III Subtests, p.8)
A good question that one may raise is when we look at the skills of the person taking the exam. The visual processing speed could not always account for the intelligence of a person. For various reasons, a person’s ability to visually process symbols and sort them according to its familiarity may prove to be a challenge if the person’s motor skills to look for similar or related symbols are put to the test. Likewise, a person’s familiarity of these symbols may be challenging if his orientation or the experiences that he had from childhood are quite different from the norm, then this may raise an issue to the majority, particularly to those who seem to pick a certain familiarity. We should keep in mind that in this subtest, a person’s skill is what is put to the test. Thus, it is his orientation as well that can come into play against his motor skills to process and accomplish this test, and this could not be such a reliable basis for the performance subtest of the examinee. True, that in the Performance subtest, the reasoning of a person is measured. However, the Symbol Search’s reliability may be questioned on this area since quite a handsome amount of being able to respond to this may require experience and the amount of experience a person may have had should not affect too much the individual ability to process these things despite this age. Therefore, to correct this, we may attempt to define this as an entirely different category if we are going to base it from our learnings and not from how we acquired the knowledge for it.
5. Compare and contrast the WAIS-III with the Binet scale that you learned about in Chapter 9 in the textbook.
The Binet scale had been a celebrated scale for intelligence as it paved the way towards exploring various means on how we can measure a person’s intellectual capacity. True enough, it had served and it still is serving its purpose in intervening with different functions for the enhancement of various processes.
On the other hand, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – III had come out in the modern world as a more concise and accurate means of measuring intelligence. It has become an integration of different sources, including that of the modern Binet scale, to enhance and reach out to a broader function in helping us evaluate the intellectual capacity of an individual.
The Binet Scale had appeared simpler in form since the requirements had appeared clear and a person would automatically know, just by looking at the form, what is required of them, although how their intelligence is measured still remains under the expertise of the examiner. On the other hand, the WAIS – III may seem more complex in structure as it employs different means to evaluate an examinee. However, this provides us with a more accurate interpretation and a better understanding of an individual’s intellectual capacity since it covers not just the learning or knowledge that we have acquired over time, as well as the reasoning. But it allows us to peek at the different skills that a person may have developed over time. Furthermore, from the results of the WAIS-III we can derive a good correlation between our skills and that of our knowledge and reasoning. Because experts would be able to interpret how we react to a certain situation given in the tests, they should not only understand the level of intelligence that we have but also should be able to predict the kind of behavior that we may possibly display if subject to a scenario different from our orientation. This is the reason why the WAIS – III today is also widely used to intervene in schools and companies because it gives a good interpretation and prediction of our behavior if and whether we are more inclined to learn about a particular subject or not based on our knowledge and skills.
6. Discuss the implications of testing infants. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such procedures?
We are currently looking at the possibility of testing infants for their levels of intelligence. This should help clarify whether or not, the assumption of the majority that a person’s intelligence is genetic, is true. This is because, disproving this or confirming for that matter, will also disprove or affirm the validity of the different scales that we have. Also, it should give us a better idea as to the mental ability and intellectual capacity of the baby when it grows or as soon as they taught in school. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 10)
The advantages and disadvantages can actually be weighed both ways. This is because of the development of different procedures nowadays which can focus on different factors such as the motor skills of the infant, as well as nonverbal responses. Taking motor skills into consideration as well as the nonverbal responses would have to vary based on the phase where the infant is in. It is very likely that those who are more mature have already displayed a variety of skills that can be interpreted as their level of intelligence. However, this can also hold dangerous or the accuracy may be put in question because of the exposure of the children to different experiences at an early age. For example, a baby that was exposed to the television may have a shorter attention span in terms of looking at and playing with their toys. This is because they have already acquired the experience that when they watch the television, the screen or scenes change so fast, their attention is not challenged to make the visual register as much as any other form of media. Thus, such may show a negative impact. However, when it comes to other skills, if a child is exposed at an early age to, say for example, music videos, their attention span may seem short but their retention to music and how they react to the sound may be evident. This again, would open a number of possibilities that will require explanation and great experience for the examiner. Thus, taking this into consideration, it brings us to the concern that it may be disadvantageous if we utilize the services of an inexperienced examiner. This is for the reason that close scrutiny and interpretation of the results could mean a great deal to the study being done on the infants.
Moreover, the implication of these studies can only give us a better idea of what area to focus on for a child to be a well-rounded individual in the future and not necessarily identify if their intelligence if above average or what not. This is because with the assessments and researches in place, experts should have a good grasp of the task at hand, and in doing so, has to put into consideration the different gaps that need to be filled by recent studies.
7. Given what you have learned about testing and its legal ramifications in regard to education, what steps would you take to ensure the best possible evaluation of a school-age member of your family should they need to be evaluated for a learning disability? What particular test or tests would you want (or not want) to be administered to the child? Why or why not?
The Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA) appears incomplete as compared to its contemporary methods of testing. However, considering that one has to be administered, this could actually be directed towards responding to the needs of a child with a learning disability. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 11)
Since ITPA focuses in analyzing the output or reaction of a child to what was used as a stimulus to their system, experts should be able to determine the gaps of the child’s defective “sensoral modalities”, as they put it. These inferences are then directed towards tackling whatever gaps are there in terms of the expected output brought about by the test stimuli. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 11) Moving forward, I believe that what makes this better than the other methods is the fact that it doesn’t require a technical explanation of what kind of care the child may need. Once the gap is determined, the kind of care and attention that a child needs could then be provided by the educational system to address their situation and still remain able to provide quality education to the children.
8. As mentioned in our textbook, one purpose of nonverbal and performance tests is to remove factors related to cultural influences so the “pure” intelligence can be measured. Discuss the types of factors you would want to eliminate and the likelihood of being able to do so.
Ideally, “pure” intelligence has been the goal of different performance tests. It had long aimed to get at a good prediction of the intellectual development of a child given the opportunity that the subject would be exposed to learning. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 12)
However, we can find that more often than not, these tests are patterned to respond to a particular group of people especially if we would solely be referring to verbal intelligence. This means that as an example, if a Chinese child would take an assessment in English and shows that he did average or maybe even worse, we cannot always use such factor to determine the Chinese child’s intelligence with that assessment alone. We need to take into consideration his other skills and other areas that he may excel in, given the opportunity that the assessment could have been done in his native tongue. Moreover, even if a child from a different culture takes an assessment that uses quantitative measures to arrive at a good figure for his “pure” intelligence, it would still be relative to his cultural orientation.
Thus, regardless of the factor, each assessment should be designed in such a way that the standard of questions or factors that need to be identified should be tailored according to the cultural background of the subject/s. Otherwise, loopholes as to the arrived conclusion would always be present. Also, there is a very good possibility that the assessment/s may be pre-judged as biased if we will not take this into consideration. Especially the verbal assessments, these have to be carefully checked and tailor-fit depending on the background of the subjects. Otherwise, not only will it become a challenge for those who do not have, say for example, English as their first language but those who will be assessing the exams may also be challenged in understanding what the subject was really trying to drive at.
Streamlining the assessments according to the cultural background of the subjects would be very vital in coming up with a more credible result. Thus, regardless of the factors used in the assessment, it would be very beneficial for experts to create a baseline of standards to use in measuring an individual’s “pure” intelligence and tailor-fit it to the culture that the subjects may belong to in order to establish the reliability of the test results.
9. The measure of personality assumes that humans possess characteristics or traits that are stable across situations, vary from individual to individual, and can be measured. Discuss these assertions and your agreement or disagreement.
The assertions of the measure of personality being stable and measurable may hold a ring of truth to it. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 13) This is because the ideals of what is acceptable and what is not that is reflective of an individual’s personality are actually defined not by the characteristics displayed but through the cultural perspective that a third person may view it from.
A good example of this is the natural characteristics of man to pay respects to their parents. This is not usually seen as a personality trait of a person because it is usually defined based on the cultural perspective where one may be viewing the subject from. However, a lot of people may overlook the fact that regardless of the age or educational attainment, each person has an inherent characteristic of paying their respects to those who co-created them.
Very few people get to look at it from this perspective because we have always pre-judged other cultures based on how we would have treated our elders but little do we know that, in their eyes, we may be victims of the same dilemma. Thus, from this point on, we could say that despite the presence of different assessments to define an individual’s personality, baring the person of cultural influences, one may amazingly find that all people indeed are the same and equal.
10. Discuss the concept of the projective hypothesis and explore examples of projection in situations other than formal psychological testing.
The projective hypothesis was said to introduce the concept of interpreting a stimulus as a reflection of an individual’s experiences and orientation. (Kaplan, 2004: Chapter 14) A good manifestation of this projection is the image of tears when a person cries. Tears are usually interpreted in terms of the majority’s experience that a person only experiences having tears if they are sad. True that there is a vague concept of what sad is since it is an emotion that is relative to each individual’s orientation. However, it is this ambiguity that makes it unique to each person’s perspective. Moreso, most people may find it incredible or rare that a person would also shed tears if he is happy. It has been a common thought that to shed tears because of happiness, it requires a great deal of stimulus to trigger such a reaction unlike if the subject is sad that it may require little effort to shed tears.
Kaplan, R. M. & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2004). Psychological testing: principles, applications and issues (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Thomas Wadsworth.
Ross, Brian and Richard Esposito. (2005, Nov. 18) CIA’s Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described. ABC News. Retrieved on September 22, 2008 from http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1322866
Overview. Pages 1-14. Retrieved on September 23, 2008 from http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/52/04712829/0471282952.pdf