Psychology 556: Assessment of Personality

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Lutz Zois

Class Time: Tues. & Thurs. 9:00-10:15

Class Location: 325 St. Joseph’s Hall

Phone: (937) 229-2164


*Please note that I generally respond to e-mails during regular business hours; thus, plan accordingly.

Office Location: 330 St. Joseph’s Hall

Office Hours: Tues. & Thurs. 10:15-11:15

Required Text:

Graham (2012). MMPI-2: Assessing Personality and Psychopathology (5th

Ed.). New York: Oxford Press.

Recommended Text:

Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment (5th Ed.). New Jersey: Wiley.

Additional Readings:

Costa, P.T., & McCrae, R.R. (2005). A Five Factor Theory perspective on the Rorschach. Rorschachiana, 27, 80-100.

Costa, P.T., & Widiger, T.A. (2002). Personality Disorders and the Five-Factor Model of Personality: (2nd Ed.) Washington, DC : American Psychological Association (Chapters 5 & 6).

Garb, H.N. (1998). Studying the Clinician: Judgment Research and Psychological Assessment. Washington, DC : American Psychological Association

(Chapter 1). Discussion Assignment #1

Hogan, R. & Nicholson, R.A. (1988). The meaning of personality test scores. American Psychologist, 43, 621-626. Discussion Assignment #2

Lilienfeld, S.O. & O'Donohue, W.T. (2007). The Great Ideas of Clinical Science: 17 Principles that Every Mental Health Professional Should Understand. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, New York, NY (Chapters 2 & 3—author listing on e-reserve = Ruscio).

Osberg, T.M. (2008). The MMPI-2 Clinical Scales and Restructured Clincal (RC) Scales: Comparative psychometric properties and relative diagnostic efficiency in young adults. Journal of Personality Assessment, 90, 81-92.

Course Objectives:

  1. To develop the ability to critically evaluate the usefulness of any given personality

assessment instrument.

  1. To develop an awareness of which conclusions made from personality testing are

empirically validated versus which are speculative or based on clinical lore.

3. To master skills in psychological report writing.

4. To learn theoretical underpinnings, test development strategy, administration and scoring, and interpretation of common personality assessment tests including the NEO-PI-3, MMPI-2, MMCI-III, Rorschach, SCT, TAT, and DAP.

Course Requirements:

2 Exams @ 100pts. each 200pts.

1 NEO-PI-3 full report & rewrite 50pts.

1 MMPI-2 results & concl. & rewrite 50pts.

1 Battery (MCMI-III, SCT, and a self-selected test) 50pts.

results & concl.

1 Case Conference 25pts.

2 Discussion Assignments 10pts.

Participation and Professionalism 15pts.



There will be two exams for the course. Each exam will comprise of a series of essay and short-answer questions. The first exam will cover basic skills and issues pertaining to personality assessment. The second exam will cover specific assessment devices and their theoretical underpinnings, and it will include a take home portion that involves interpreting an assessment battery.

Assessment Reports:

There will be a total of three assessment reports. The first report will involve conducting a clinical interview and administering the assessment device to a student volunteer, scoring and interpreting the results, writing a full assessment report. One of the major goals of these assignments is to facilitate the development of skills in psychological report writing that is at the level of quality expected by outside clinical placements. Consequently, you will be expected to revise the report based on feedback from the course instructor. Each grade will represent the average of the grades on the original and revised drafts.

For the second two reports, you will still conduct a full clinical interview and administer personality tests. However, you will only be required to write the last two sections of the report (i.e., Results and Summary and Conclusions). That is, you will not be expected to write the Background Information or Behavioral Observations sections. In addition, for the last report, you will only write one rather than two drafts.

Please note that it is highly likely that you will require individual supervision with me on these mock assessment reports!

Case Conferences:

Students will be expected to make one presentation based on the results of their self-created personality assessment battery (MCMI, SCT, and a test of your choice) conducted with the student volunteers. Students will with the help of the instructor choose a third test for the battery that fits the referral question. The presentations will take the form of case conferences in that the referral question, background history, test results, and treatment recommendation will be covered. You will also be expected to briefly review your selected test for the class. These assignments are designed to give students practice in presenting information about a client to a treatment team.

Discussion Assignments and Participation/Professionalism:

There will be two discussion assignments. You are to have answers to questions pertaining to the article completed by the day in which we are scheduled to discuss that topic. Late assignments will not be accepted. Your grade for this portion of the class will be a function of both your active participation throughout the course as well as your completion of these two assignments. The articles that we will discuss are indicated on the first page of this syllabus.

I expect you to turn off your cell phones once class begins. If I see you texting or sending e-mails at any time during the class period (including during videos or student presentations), it will impact your participation grade.

Grading System:

A = 400-372pts.

A- = 371-360pts.

B+ = 359-348pts.

B = 347-320pts.

B- = 319-320pts.

C = 319-280pts.

F = 279-Below
Class Schedule

Class Date Topic Readings


Aug. 28 Introduction to Personality Assessment—Major Chp.1 (G-M)

Assumptions and Distinctions.



Sept. 2 Accuracy in Clinical Judgment—Sources of Bias. Chp.2 (G-M)

Chp. 1 (Garb)

Chp. 2 & 3

(L & O)

Sept. 4 Accuracy in Clinical Judgment—Sources of Bias.



Sept. 9 Psychometrics (Reliability and Validity Revisited). H & N (1988)

Sept. 11 Psychometrics (Reliability and Validity Revisited).



Sept. 16 Other Issues (Base rates, tx. utility, gender and race, etc.)

Sept. 18 Other Issues (Base rates, tx. utility, gender and race, etc.)



Sept. 23 Clinical Interviewing and Behavioral Observations. Chp.3 (G-M)

Sept. 25 Report Writing, Integration of Findings, and Chp.14 (G-M)

Treatment Planning



Sept. 30 ***EXAM # 1***

Oct. 2 NEO-PI-3 Chp. 5 & 6

(C & W)



Oct. 7 NEO-PI-3

Oct. 9 ***NO CLASS***



Oct. 14 NEO-PI-3

Chp.1&2 (Gr)

Oct. 16 MMPI-2 Chp.7 (G-M)



Oct. 21 MMPI-2 Chp.3 & 4(Gr)

Osberg (2008)

Oct. 23 MMPI-2



Oct. 28 MMPI-2

Oct. 30 MMPI-2



Nov. 4 MMPI-2

Nov. 6 Child Assessment Instruments Chp. 2 & 6




Nov. 11 MCMI-III Chp. 8 (G-M)

Nov. 13 MCMI-III



Nov. 18 Projective Testing Chp.10&11(G-M)

C & M (2005)

Nov. 20 Projective Testing

______WEEK 14

Nov. 25 “Case Conferences”

Nov. 27 ***NO CLASS***



Dec. 2 “Case Conferences”

Dec. 4 “Case Conferences”



Dec. 9 Behavioral Assessment or Catch up

Dec. 11 Behavioral Assessment or Catch up



Thursday December 18th à 12:20-2:10

1From Dr. Reeb’s “Assessment of Intelligence class”


**All reports are due in my mailbox by the end of the day (4:30) on Friday**

**Rewrites on the first two reports are due one week after the originals are returned to the student**

Week 8 => Conduct clinical interview and NEO-PI-3 administration.

Week 9 => NEO-PI-3 report due.

Week 10 => Conduct clinical interview and MMPI-2 administration.

Week 11 => MMPI-2 report due.

Week 12 => Conduct clinical interview and test battery (i.e., MCMI-III, SCT, and

self-selected test) administration.

Week 13 Conduct clinical interview and test battery administration.

Week 14 => Battery report due.