Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Despite the popularity of personality testing for personnel selection, criticisms have arisen regarding the potential for response distortions by applicants. Researchers have developed many techniques to control for such response distortions, including the use of different response formats. Using both a university sample of introductory psychology students and an applied sample of police officers during a promotional exam, the present study examined two bipolar adjective scaling methods (paired-comparison and semantic differential) to determine scaling effects on test taker reports of socially undesirable information on a self-report personality measure of conscientiousness. Results indicate that no differences exist in socially desirable responding based on the scaling method used to assess personality. In a follow-up study using college students, a semantic differential scale with six points was administered. Again, no differences were found. Internal consistency analyses comparing a 6-point semantic differential scale with a paired comparison scale indicated greater internal consistency for the semantic differential format.



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