Sample Personality Exam Questions (answers at bottom of document)
1. How many trait dimensions did Cattell propose?
2. Which statement best describes how Allport and Odbert attempted to define the trait universe?
a. correlational analysis of trait adjectives
b. factor analysis of trait adjectives
c. selection of trait adjectives that describe psychological differences between people
d. selection of trait adjectives that people use to evaluate each other
3. Which is of the following statements about factor analysis is correct?
a. finds groups of variables that have similar meanings
b. finds groups of variables that correlate with one another
c. finds groups of variables that can be factored
d. finds groups of variables that have similar means
4. Which of the following is not an established alternative label for the relevant Big Five factor?
a. Extraversion & “Surgency”
b. Conscientiousness & “Morality”
c. Neuroticism & “Emotional instability”
d. Openness to Experience & “Culture”
5. Which of the following statements correctly describes the relationships between Big Five traits and emotion dimensions?
a. Extraversion is related to more positive affect and Neuroticism to more negative affect
b. Extraversion is related to more positive affect and Neuroticism to less positive affect
c. Extraversion is related to less negative affect and Neuroticism to less positive affect
d. Extraversion is related to less negative affect and Neuroticism to more negative affect
6. Which of the following statements about Eysenck’s and Gray’s theories is incorrect?
a. For Eysenck, Neuroticism is related to limbic system reactivity.
b. For Gray, the “behavioural activation system” is linked to sensitivity to reward and pleasure.
c. For Gray, Impulsivity involves having a weak “behavioural inhibition system”.
d. Gray’s Anxiety dimension corresponds to a mixture of Neuroticism and Introversion in Eysenck’s system.
7. Which of the following statements about traits and values is incorrect?
a. the structure of values appears to differ across cultures more than the structure of traits
b. values are cognitions, traits are not
c. traits appear to have more dimensions than values
d. unlike traits, values are inherently desirable to the person who has them
8. Which of the following is NOT one of the six virtue classes in the VIA classification of strengths?
9. Which two vocational interest types are next to one another in Holland’s model?
a. Realistic & Enterprising
b. Conventional & Social
c. Artistic & Investigative
d. Realistic & Artistic
10. Which of the following statements is TRUE regarding biological research and theory
a. extraverts’ brains are typically over-stimulated
b. shared environmental factors are more important than nonshared factors
c. the heritability of personality traits is sometimes calculated from twin studies
d. 2D:4D digit ratio research shows the importance of circulating levels of neurotransmitters in the brain
11. Which of the following statements about Eysenck’s work on personality is correct?
a. Introverts have highly arousable autonomic nervous systems
b. Neuroticism is associated with stimulus hunger
c. Extraverts tend to like stimulant drugs more than Introverts
d. High levels of Psychoticism put people at risk of depression
12. Roughly what proportion of the variability in most personality traits tends to be heritable?
13. Which Freudian defence mechanism does this statement illustrate: “I’m not jealous, you are”?
14. Which of the following is CORRECT about Freud’s genetic model of personality?
a. the anal stage takes place in the first two years of life.
b. it recognises that personality has a large heritable component.
c. fixations in the oral stage can lead to passivity and dependency.
d. it has received extensive empirical support from developmental psychologists.
15. One of these four lists contains concepts from Freud’s topographic, structural and genetic models, in that order. Which is it?
a. Unconscious, ego, repression
b. Unconscious, id, reaction formation
c. Preconscious, superego, regression
d. Preconscious, superfly, fixation
16. Psychoanalytic theory is NOT often criticized for which of the following?
a. being unfalsifiable
b. being unscientific
c. being deterministic
d. being simplistic
17. Which of the following statements about cognitive approaches to personality is correct?
a. the repertory grid assesses people on a standard set of personal constructs
b. pessimistic explanatory style involves explaining negative events using internal, stable and global causes
c. self-complexity has repeatedly been shown to protect against depression
d. emotional intelligence is a component of verbal intelligence
18. Which of the following is an external, unstable attribution for why something happened to a person?
b. the weather
c. hard work
d. bad mood
19. Which of the following statements about research on the self is incorrect?
a. High self-complexity buffers people against stressful life events
b. High self-complexity is associated with having more self-aspects with less overlap
c. Self-esteem is more a side-effect of achievement than a cause of it
d. Average self-esteem levels may be rising in Western societies
20. Which of the following does NOT accurately reflect research on self-esteem?
a. it is more likely to be a byproduct of academic achievement than a cause of it
b. it makes people secure so that they are less likely to act aggressively when they are insulted.
c. having stable self-esteem may be more important than having high self esteem.
d. defensive self-esteem involves having high explicit self-esteem but low implicit self-esteem.
21. Which of the following forms of coping illustrates the indicated kind of coping
a. Emotion-focused: attacking a person who is making you unhappy
b. Problem-focused: recognizing that an issue is causing you difficulties
c. Emotion-focused: imagining that a problem will just go away
d. Problem-focused: actively trying to change how you feel about a stressor
22. Which of the following statements about personality change is NOT correct?
a. mean levels of internal attribution have increased in recent decades
b. there is much evidence of mean level change in adulthood
c. rank order stability is measured by correlation coefficients
d. rank order stability increases with age
23. Which of the following statements about rank-order stability of personality is NOT correct?
a. it may be partially due to environmental selection (i.e., people selecting environments that support their traits).
b. it increases with age.
c. it is incompatible with evidence that the mean levels of Big Five traits change with increasing age.
d. it is measured by re-test correlations in longitudinal studies.
24. According to Erikson, what contrasts with Industry in one of his eight stages?
a. Shame & doubt
25. Which statement about “lay theories” of personality is false?
a. entity theorists believe personality is not malleable
b. entity theorists stereotype people more than incremental theorists
c. incremental theorists hold a ‘dynamic’ view of personality
d. incremental theorists attribute differences between social groups to innate factors
26 . The items in a personality test correlate strongly with one another. What kind of reliability or validity does this imply?
a. convergent validity
b. content validity
c. internal consistency
d. retest reliability
27. Which kind of validity or reliability does NOT match the description that follows it?
a. re-test reliability: people get similar scores when they do a test on different occasions.
b. discriminant validity: a test of one personality characteristic does not correlate with tests that measure different characteristics.
c. convergent validity: people get similar scores on a test when different people administer it to them.
d. internal consistency: the items in the test all correlate with one another.
28. Which kind of validity scale is designed to detect random patterns of responding on a personality inventory?
a. infrequency scale
b. incompatibility scale
c. lie scale
d. defensiveness scale
29. Which of the following is NOT a weakness of many projective personality tests?
a. poor predictive validity
b. poor inter-rater reliability
c. susceptible to faking good bias
d. susceptible to poor incremental validity relative to inventories
30. Which of these potential flaws of psychobiographies is correctly defined?
a. originology: over-emphasis on early life events in explaining the person
b. pathography: insufficiently empathic interpretation of the person
c. determinism: focussing too much on a single factor in explaining the person
d. hagiography: portrayal of the person as extremely ugly
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