MMPI-2 Psychological Test: Controversial, but Hard to Fake

Uploaded 12/10/2012, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love.

It is true or false as applied to me. There are no correct answers.

The test booklet allows the diagnostician to provide a rough assessment of the patient, the basics case, based on the first 370 queries.

It is recommended, though, to administer all 567 items in order to reach a much better founded diagnosis.

Based on numerous studies, the items are arranged in scales. The responses are compared to answers provided by control subjects. The scales allow the diagnostician to identify traits and mental death problems based on this comparison.

In other words, there are no answers that are typical to a paranoid or a narcissistic or an antisocial patient. They are only responses that deviate from an overall statistical pattern and conform to the reaction patterns of other patients with similar scores.

The nature of the deviation determines the patient's traits and tendencies, but not his or her diagnosis.

The interpreted outcomes of the MMPI-2 are phrased this way.

The test results place subject X in this group of patients who, statistically speaking, reacted similarly. The test results also get subject X apart from these groups of people who, statistically speaking, reacted or responded differently to subject X.

The test results would never say subject X suffers from this or that mental health problems.

There are three validity scales and ten clinical ones in the original MMPI-2, but other scholars derived hundreds of additional scales.

For instance, to helping diagnosing personality disorders, most diagnosticians use either the MMPI-1 with the Maury-Wright-Bashfield scales in conjunction with the Wiggins-Cannon-Onston scales, or, more rarely, the MMPI-2 updated to include the Colligan-Maury-Offron scales.

The validity scales indicate whether the patient responded truthfully and accurately or was trying to manipulate the test.

They pick up patterns. Some patients want to appear normal. Some patients want to appear abnormal and consistently choose what they believe are the correct answers to reflect their choices.

And this kind of behavior triggers the validity scales.

These are so sensitive that they can indicate whether the subject lost his or her place on the answer sheet and was responding randomly.

The validity scales also alert the diagnosticians to problems in reading comprehension and other inconsistencies in response patterns of the subject.

The clinical scales are dimensional, though not multiphasic, as the test misleading name implies.

Clinical scales measure hypochondriacids, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviation, masculinity, femininity, paranoia, schizophrenia, schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. They also scale for alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a variety of personality disorders.

The interpretation of the MMPI-2 is now fully computerized. A computer is fed with a patient's sex, age, educational level, and marital status, and does the rest.

Still, many scholars have criticized the scoring of the MMPI-2, and it is a hotly debated issue.

Thank you.

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