July 28, 2018, by Kate
Psychometric tools can be hard to find – some helpful links to free online resources
Psychometric tools include the questionnaires we use for psychological assessments. In both research and practice, psychometrics allow us to objectively measure things like personality traits, behaviours, emotional experiences and psychological symptoms. Psychometrics are big business, for example the most accurate IQ tests cost over £1000 and require specialist training to administer. Students and trainees often can’t afford to fork out for expensive licences and manuals for their research. Luckily some very kind researchers make their measures freely available online to support research and the development of new knowledge. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites (with links!) that our staff and students have found helpful.
Please remember that it is your responsibility to check the validity (how accurately it measures what it is supposed to measure) and reliability (how consistent the measurement is) of tools before you use them for research purposes!
Empathy, systemising and the autism spectrum.
Understanding and assessing empathy is an important area in forensic psychology. People’s different experiences of empathy have been shown to affect things like jury decision making and offending behaviours. Aspects of empathy, like the ability to recognise other people’s emotions, are thought to be compromised in autism spectrum disorder. However, individuals with autistic spectrum traits may have strengths in skills like systemising.
The amazing researchers at the Autism Research Centre have made a wide range of psychometric tests and tools freely available for research purposes. Find them here!
Since the ancient Greeks, mankind has tried to understand and quantify personality. Modern trait based theories view personality as made up of a small number of traits which people possess to a greater or lesser degree. These traits can be measured with a variety of psychometric tools.
The International Personality Item Pool is a public domain collection of items that can be used in personality tests. Various psychometric tools for personality assessment have been created from these items, and are available right here!
Alternatively, the HEXACO is a psychometric tool which assesses six major dimensions of personality. The test has been translated into various languages, and is available here
Psychopathy, sadism and all things dark
The ‘dark triad’ refers to psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism, which are personality traits thought to be linked to antisocial behaviour (and a particular research interest of our very own Dr Egan). A psychometric tool to assess these traits has been created by Delroy Paulhus. In an act of infinite kindness, this, and other tools assessing deception, antisocial behaviour and sadism have been made freely available here.
Assessing symptoms of mental disorder
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publish the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM), which provides diagnostic criteria for mental health problems. It is possibly the most commonly used tool for classifying mental disorders (along with the International Classification of Diseases). The latest edition (DSM-5) offered a number of “emerging measures” for further clinical evaluation and research* and these are available here.
*Please be aware that some of these tools require further permissions to be used for research purposes (some do not). When you download a tool, the first page tells you about permissions to use the psychometric for research purposes.
Adverse childhood experiences
Traumatic childhood experiences are sadly common, and can have a negative impact on people as adults. Understanding the influence that these experiences can have, and particularly searching for protective factors and helpful interventions, is my personal passion in both practice and research.
The world health organisation have published a helpful (2016) handbook on measuring and monitoring the prevalence of childhood maltreatment. Their Adverse Childhood Experiences International Questionnaire (ACE-IQ), which asks adults about their experiences in childhood, is available here.
The national centre for PTSD (part of the US department of veteran affairs) also provides some really helpful training and assessment tools. They offer various psychometric tools including adult and child measures of childhood adversity, and screening tools for post-traumatic stress disorder, available here.
This post was authored by Dr Kathleen (Kate!) Green for the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology, if you know of any more helpful resources, please do let us know!