Individual and situational influences on distortion of personality tests
Mudgett, Bradford Otis, Jr
Quinones, Miguel A.
Doctor of Philosophy
Individual and situational influences on distortion of personality tests were investigated. It was expected that individuals would use different distortion strategies in different situations and that individual differences would influence distortion. Two laboratory studies were conducted. The first experiment showed that the desirability of personality traits varied for different situations and different jobs. The second experiment showed that self-monitoring influenced distortion. It also found that when told to respond as if applying for a job individuals distorted in the direction that was desirable for that job, and not in a uniformly socially desirable manner. Overall the results indicate that individuals can distort personality tests, socially desirable responding is not the same as distortion, the amount and direction of distortion can vary with different jobs, and individual differences can influence distortion. Therefore, meta-analyses that attempt to equate distortion with social desirability, or that fail to account for the effect of the situation, may reach erroneous conclusions. Researchers need to understand the potential variation in distortion strategies for different situations and use this information to determine what type of distortion is expected rather than assuming distortion will occur in a uniform manner.
Industrial psychology; Personality psychology