Feud over famed test erupts at U

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2009 - 9:59 AM

Seventy years after the MMPI personality test was created at the U, scholars are at war over efforts to alter it.

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futuricsAug. 12, 0910:41 AM

such as the MMPI are scary. What is especially lubricous is the way that many employers and HR drones use these tests as a cop-out crutch to make hiring decisions they *should* have the skill and courage to make alone. What is even worse is when the employers and HR drones use the tests to fancy themselves Psychologists

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edandersonAug. 12, 0911:42 AM

Training is rigorous on the MMPI, not anyone can order the test for professional use. Credentialing is important. The person who purchases the test must be responsible for implementation. If used in a corporate or educational setting to determine whether one is a candidate or not. Seems to me, that is an abusive use unless a credentialed person, usually a licensed psychologist, is available to interpret the results. The core results should never be released to a potential employer due to the possibility that the various scales are easily misinterpreted and is also an ethical issue as most of what is diagnosed on the test has little bearing on the applicants performance.

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mheffronAug. 12, 0912:02 PM

"If used in a corporate or educational setting to determine whether one is a candidate or not..." Yes, Ed, it has been frequently used in employment screening by employers! And the potential employee has been put in a classic bind if he/she refuses to take it or questions its use or interpretation in the setting...aha! you must have something to hide!

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DroneMonkAug. 12, 0912:13 PM

I took this test 30 years ago, when I did a tour of duty in our state's prison system. Giving it to prisoners so that administration may get a gauge on what's going on in their heads is one thing. But employers using it to turn away applicants is only slightly more accurate than doing workups on the applicant's horoscope or astrology or palm readings. I'm still puzzled (all these years later) by the "drop the handkerchief" line of questioning in the test. At the time I thought maybe it was a prison euphemism.

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hsl2000Aug. 12, 0912:16 PM

"University officials say they're willing to let the marketplace decide. The new test -- which is sold along with the 1989 version -- is 'eagerly being adopted,' said Douglas Armato, director of the University Press. 'It's bringing new customers. It's bringing back old customers.'" So people may lose their opportunities for a job or promotion, others may be unfairly classified as "fakers," but that's okay? "The marketplace" will decide? And just who are these marketplace representatives? Doesn't seem likely that they are trained medical staff or professionals able to fully assess whether the results produced are accurate; rather, they are likely to be the ones paying to buy the new test, bringing more money into the already questioned coffers of this part of the U. Sounds like there really needs to be some in-depth review of this whole fiasco

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edandersonAug. 12, 0912:25 PM

HR's abuse of this instrument is legendary. I was a psychologist working in a leadership development firm for a number of years and watched as HR cajoled and manipulated psychological results for their own ends. Often the result was to verify some kind of suspicion or accusation. However, any psychologist knows that it is unethical to release such information when not used for diagnostic purposes. I fail to see the relevance of an HR division having diagnostics in their files. If we were to do that across the board, most would have lost their jobs by now.

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perronjpAug. 12, 0912:39 PM

But not at a Gopher's game. Too many braniacs, not enough oxygen in the room. Cat fight.

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guestcriticAug. 12, 0912:46 PM

The test is definitely used by employers to pigeonhole employees. I have been given the test by two different employers (hired by both) and in subsequent conversations the fact that I am an INTJ was joked about. HR staff routinely commented on employees' results at both employers. Hardly the intended use of the test.

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DroneMonkAug. 12, 0912:59 PM

Careful you don't confuse the MMPI with the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator).

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u4775Aug. 12, 09 1:18 PM

I took the test many, many years ago prior to 1989. The two questions I recall most were: Do you have a black tarry substance in your urine? Do you (dis?)like people with hook noses. I will say this, tests like this that work well do not need to be updated and shortened. People are basically the same now as they have been for the last 1000 years. Anyone that tells you otherwise is blowing smoke, or promoting his own agenda.

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