This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Testing the Effectiveness and Psychology of Different Types of Pre-warnings in Reducing Applicant Faking on Personality Tests within Selection Contexts




Zheng, Lu

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Research has consistently found that pre-warning can reduce faking. This study included four pre-warnings: (1) the detection and consequence warning, (2) reasoning warning, (3) subjective norm warning, and (4) moral conviction warning. Regarding warnings as moral priming, I categorized the detection and consequence warning as proscriptive warning and the others as prescriptive warnings based on the dual moral regulation framework. I had several hypotheses: (1) the use of pre-warnings should reduce applicants’ faking, as well as, enhance the criterion-related validity of personality test; (2) the proscriptive warning should be more effective than the prescriptive warning but had some side effects; and (3) the prescriptive and proscriptive warnings should reduce faking via guilt, shame and fear of punishment. One hundred eighty-two undergraduate students were recruited in the study. Participants completed two parallel forms of personality test, one in a baseline setting and the other in the lab setting. In the lab setting, they were told that they had a chance to apply for a summer internship position while completing a company’s pre-employment assessment. Results showed that: (1) the detection/consequence warning and the subjective norm warning showed acceptable effectiveness in reducing faking; (2) warnings did not influence the criterion-related validity of personality scores; (3) the use of proscriptive warning enhanced participants’ test anxiety and reduced positive affect; and (4) the fear of punishment could reduce faking. The contributions and future research directions were discussed.