This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Understanding Individual Differences in Faking: The Role of Ability to Fake and Motivation to Fake




Zheng, Lu

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




Research on applicant faking has indicated that faking on personality tests may deteriorate the quality of hiring decisions and affect the validity of personality tests. In order to understand the occurrence of faking, scholars have attempted to explore the psychological process of applicant faking. The general idea is that the ability to fake and the motivation to fake should be two important antecedents of faking. In the current study, the ability to fake is operationally defined as the ability to identify the dimensions being measured in a personality test (i.e., ability to identify criteria (ATIC)). The motivation to fake (i.e., applicant test-taking motivation) is defined based on Valence, Instrumentality and Expectancy (VIE) theory. Study 1 was conducted to explore the nomological framework of ATIC in personality tests, as well as the role of the frame-of-reference on the nature of ATIC ratings. Study 1 found that: (a) ATIC ratings in personality tests were related to verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning ability, but not associated with the construct of self-monitoring; (b) the frame-of-reference had an impact on the ATIC scores such that ATIC scores were higher in a specific personality measure than in a general big five measure; and (c) ATIC ratings across two personality measures also yielded an apparent pattern of cross-measure consistency. Study 2 was conducted to examine the role of the ability to fake and the motivation to fake on faking behavior and the criterion-related validity of personality scores. Results showed that (a) ATIC was not a predictor of faking and it worked to increase the predictive validity of personality scores; whereas (b) the motivation to fake was a predictor of faking and it suppressed the predictive validity of personality scores on GPA. The contributions, practical implications, and future research directions were discussed.