- General Acceptance:
- Archer et. al. (2016) reviewed the literature on forensic psychologists’ use of psychological tests and found that:
1) the five most frequently used tests in personal injury cases included the MMPI2, Millon Inventories and Rorschach;
2) that respondents indicated that Daubert-related criteria such as general acceptance of the test within the ﬁeld and the presence of independent research validation played an important role in their selection of instruments;
3) similar studies of forensic psychologists in other areas of practice (mental state at the time of an offense, risk for future violence, risk for future sexual violence, competency to stand trial, competency to waive Miranda rights, and evaluation of malingering, competency/sanity evaluations, criminal risk assessment evaluations, and medical–legal (non-neuropsychological) evaluation) yielded similar results, according to Archer et. al.;
4) The top factors inﬂuencing forensic psychologists’ selection of test instruments in family law evaluations (Ackerman, Bow) included
1. the availability of adequate reliability and validity research,
2. an adequate normative sample, and
3. the acceptability of the test within the field of forensic psychology/child custody evaluation
5) Bow, Gould, Flens, and Greenhut (2006) surveyed psychologists in the in the family law area.
The MMPI-2 and MCMI were most frequently endorsed.
The Rorschach technique, administered, scored, and interpreted with the Exner (1993) Comprehensive System, was the only projective personality measure seen to meet the Daubert standard, although it received relatively infrequent use.
- R-PAS and CS: R-PAS is an evolution of the CS (Exner, 1974-2003). “Rorschach has repeatedly been admitted in court,” along w MCMI and MMPI, in various editions “…there has not been a single instance of R-PAS-based testimony being excluded in a US court since the manual was published in 2011 (Erard & Viglione, 2014).”
- Rorschach is one of the most widely used, taught, and researched personality instruments in the world and one of the most commonly used by forensic psychologists (Erard & Viglione, 2014)
The Rorschach is the second most commonly used personality assessment instrument among clinical psychologists: The MMPI-2 is the first.
More recently a random survey of psychologists from the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment who conducted assessments found that 72 % reported using the Rorschach third most commonly used personality test in psychological injury evaluations, with 41 % of evaluators using it and the second most commonly used personality test in child custody evaluations, with between 40 and 48 % of evaluators using it ; nearly one third of criminal responsibility and competency to stand trial evaluations use it and about one third of forensic psychologists in general use it (Erard 2012)
Family law assessment, rank order of frequency of use: 10 MMPI-2, 2) MCMI-III or IV; 3) Rorschach [Quinnel and Bow, 2001)
- There has been controversy about the each of these tests, but this controversy does not, in my opinion, indicate invalidity, but rather heathy debate, the kind of active dialog that leads to to scientific progress
- Courts don’t demand unanimity, and the Rorschach has been admitted in nearly all State and Federal Courts (Erard, 2012).
- Meloy et. al. (1997) surveyed court cases involving Rorschach-based testimony from 1945-1995 and (Meloy, 2008) from 1995 to 2005; criticisms of method led to exclusion in only 1 of almost 247 cases in the former -period, and only 3 of 150 citations in the latter
- Multimethod assessment
Rorschach-assessed variables are essentially independent of and minimally correlated with self-reports è multimethod approach è incremental validity
- multi-method assessment results in increased and/or incremental validity superior to single method assessment (Meyer et. al., 2001): “… by relying on a multimethod assessment battery, practitioners have historically used the most efficient means at their disposal to maximize the validity of their judgments about individual clients” (Meyer et al., 2001, p. 150).
- Hildebrand & deRuiter (2008): “The evaluated individual may, therefore, be more inclined to give defensive or socially desirable answers and possibly even have a deceptive or manipulative attitude. In choosing psychological tests it is important to bear in mind that tests that correct for such misrepresentations are preferable, as well as tests in which the instrument’s purpose is not transparent to the evaluated subject. The Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM; Exner, 2001; Weiner, 1998) is such a method. Furthermore, answering questions on the nature of a mental disorder can be complicated by the presence of personality pathology, which is often the case in forensic subjects.
The basic premise of this case example is that the psychologist’s armamentarium of assessment techniques can be strengthened by using the MMPI-2 and the Rorschach together in a complimentary fashion, and these can be of value in evaluating the effectiveness of forensic psychiatric treatment… [In forensic settings] The eval-uated individual may, therefore, be more inclined to give defensive or socially desirable answers and possibly even have a deceptive or manipulative attitude. In choosing psychological tests it is important to bear in mind that tests that correct for such misrepresentations are preferable, as well as tests in which the instrument’s purpose is not transparent to the evaluated subject. The Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM; Exner, 2001; Weiner, 1998) is such a method. Furthermore, answering questions on the nature of a mental disorder can be complicated by the presence of personality pathology, which is often the case in forensic subjects. “
- Antoni (1997): The MMPI and the MCMI were designed for different purposes:
1) MMPI instruments to assess specific clinical syndromes; and 2) MCMI to assess personality patterns and disorders.
- Rosenthal et. al. (2001) …”in the meta-analysis we described, the MMPI showed noticeably greater validity than did the Rorschach (.38 vs. .21; p =.0045) when the criterion variables were psychiatric diagnosis and self-report measures. At the same time, the Rorschach showed noticeably greater validity than did the MMPI (.31 vs. .19; p =.011) when the criterion variables were objective criteria and observer ratings.
- Both are self-report tests, which provide incremental validity: one (MCMI) resolves the contradictions in so called code-types of the other (MMPI) and the other (MMPI) gives a clearer picture of the symptoms by which PD’s express themselves
- The R-PAS has the advantage of adding yet more incremental validity:
- Unlike the MMPI and the MCMI it is a performance test, not based on self-report and not nearly as vulnerable to response set, such as social desirability, exaggeration and defensiveness.
- It is much more difficult to dissimulate on the Rorschach, in part because the principles of scoring are not intuitive to non-experts.
- Self-report tests such as the MMPI and MCMI better predict social behavior in structured situation, such as diagnosis, symptoms.
- Performance based tests better predict behavior in vivo: help-seeking, dominance, aggression, achievement-related behavior, narcissism, empathy, and capacity to delay gratification. Allso, impulsivity, personality pathology, egocentricity, affective lability– behaviors which are undesirable and thus less likely to be amenable to self-reflection or self-report.
- Ganellen (2007) suggests that: “self-reports and other reports provide independent, valid information about personality functioning, social behaviors, self-image, patterns of thinking, and functional impairment that contributes incrementally to developing a full understanding of an individual’s psychological characteristics…”
- Rorschach controversy:
- Ganellen (2007) The construct validity of the Rorschach is equivalent to that of the MMPI (g., Hiller, Rosenthal, Bornstein, Berry, & Brunell-Neuleib, 1999; Meyer & Archer, 2001)
- Ritzler, Erard & Pettigrew (2002):
- The R-PAS has the advantage of adding yet more incremental validity:
Grove and Barden argued that a “raging controversy” exists regarding the acceptance of the Rorschach in psychology:
“They conclude: “. . . the obviously strident ongoing controversy is evidence [our italics] of the lack of general acceptance by the relevant scientific community” (p. 229).
From REP’s perspective, this “intense scientific controversy” consists of the aforementioned critiques by a small team of authors with occasional replies by different respondents; i.e., mainly researchers who have conducted their own studies of the Comprehensive System. In our opinion, these circumstances do not define a “controversy” that is “raging” across the profession. This is the first of several examples of extreme statements by Grove et al. who offer no empirical support for such claims….”
“the existence of some controversy surrounding a theory or technique, far from being an indictment of it, is an indication that it belongs to the living, breathing, growing part of an applied science, rather than to the dead wood of obsolete or discredited ideas…”
They [Grove and Barden] argue that Daubert (and Frye v. United States before it) requires that the theory or technique forming the basis of an expert’s testimony be accepted by a majority of professors in the associated academic discipline.
No citations are offered to substantiate their [Grove and Barden’s] claim” that the “majority… of the relevant scientific community” does not view the RCS as a reliable system with broad-based evidence of valdidty
Moreover, a close reading of Kumho makes it clear (contrary to Grove et al.’s assertions) that the relevant community is the community to which the expert belongs, namely the psychology community both academic and clinical.
“The Kumho court plainly stated, “No one denies that an expert might draw a conclusion from a set of observations based on extensive and specialized experience,””
… While Grove et al. imply that the meta-analyses supporting the Rorschach are based on a handful of studies, in fact, Parker et al. (1988) analyzed a total of 411 studies and Hiller et al.’s (1999) meta-analysis used 30 MMPI studies and 30 Rorschach studies over the past 2 decades, including 2,276 Rorschach protocols. Grove et al. acknowledge that the average validity coefficients for the Rorschach have generally been approximately .30, a figure that Cohen (1988) observed may be near the maximum limit for relating personality measures to real-life criteria.
The associated “error rates” are well within the same range as those found for other tests used every day in the consulting room and in the courthouse, such as the MMPI and the WAIS (Parker, Hanson, & Hunsley, 1988; Atkinson & Cyr, 1984; Hiller et al., 1999; Meyer & Archer, 2001; Rosenthal, Hiller, Bornstein, Berry, & Brunell-Neuleib, 2001).
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