Psychology student creates new measure to overcome self-report bias

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Sydney Yochum, is a third-year graduate student studying Clinical Psychology, received a Summer Program for Arts and Research grant to create a new measure based off the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3). The MMPI-3 is a 300 true or false questionnaire about someone’s personal experience, which assesses many personality traits and psychopathological symptoms 

Yochum is creating an informant measure to go along with the MMPI-3. An individual would take the MMPI-3 and a friend or acquaintance of the individual would take Yochum’s informant measure to gain more insight on the individual’s symptoms.  

Yochum created the new measure using previous informant measures made by students of CMU’s psychology professor Nathan Weed, Ph.D., and the updated version of the MMPI. To test the measure, undergraduate students took the MMPI and nominated three informants (a family member, a friend, and an acquaintance) to take Yochum’s measure. In applied uses, the results of the MMPI and the new measure can help psychologists gain more insight on clients, other than their self-reports. Yochum says, “[The results] would be useful if the scores were the same or different, especially in the case of someone exaggerating or underestimating their symptoms.” 

After CMU, Yochum plans to go into the forensic psychology field, specifically forensic assessments. In this role, Yochum would test people if they are competent to stand trial and test if people can use the insanity defense.  

This story is brought to you by the  Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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