chapter  5
18 Pages

Are Subtle MMPI Items Expendable?

Thirty-six years ago Meehl argued, in his classic article entitled “ The Dynamics of ‘Structured’ Personality Tests” (1945), that the construction of items and their assembly into scales on an a priori basis is fallacious inasmuch as this procedure assumes that “ the psychologist building the test has sufficient insight into the dynamics of verbal behavior and its relation to the inner core of personality that he is able to predict beforehand what certain sorts of people will say about themselves when asked certain sorts of questions [p. 297].” Meehl (1945) as­ serted that a response to a questionnaire item was an intrinsically interesting and significant bit of verbal behavior, “ the nontest correlates of which must be discovered by empirical means [p. 297].”