Methods for preventing or reducing response distortion in psychological testing


Response distortion or "faking" is a major problem for the accuracy of personality measurement. When self-report rating scales are administered in high stakes environments such as a selection context, some test-takers distort their responses to produce a favourable impression. Models of faking behaviour consider person characteristics (e.g., cognitive ability, personality traits such as self-deceptive enhancement, impression management, and ), test characteristics (e.g., item desirability, transparency, and method of measurement), and situation characteristics (i.e., high stakes versus low stakes situations). This project will systematically examine the relationship between person- test- and situation-characteristics to build and test a model of response distortion. The project may also involve the development of fake-resistant paradigms for personality measurement such as implicit association tests, conditional reasoning tests, evaluation-neutral rating scales, and forced choice measurement.


Dr Carolyn MacCann

Research Location

School of Psychology

Program Type



Many employers use personality tests to select employees, and some people fake high scores to get the job. This project will determine which test and person characteristics enable this faking behavior, potentially using this information to build new fake-resistant personality assessments.

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Response distortion, personality testing, implicit associations test, situational judgment test

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1443

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