This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Score Reduction on Personality Tests After a Middle Warning Message: Exploring the Possible Mechanisms




Hack, Elissa M.

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Social desirable responding has posed a serious threat to the validity and utility of personality tests used as selection tools for organizations. There have been numerous attempts to circumvent this issue including forced-choice format, time restriction, and the implementation of a warning message. A recent method has involved implementing an identification, reasoning, and consequence warning message during the middle of the testing process and allowing the test taker to re-test. This has shown a decrease in test takers personality scores, who had been flagged as responding in a socially desirable manner, thereby increasing the accuracy of scores through a decrease in intentional distortion (Ellingson, Heggestad, & Makarius, 2012). What has not been examined, however, is the underlying mechanism behind this observed effect. This study attempted to determine the mechanisms through the measurement of psychological autonomic responses in conjunction with a self-report emotions survey.