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Meet EAPA members!

As a European association, our members come from many different countries in Europe and beyond. In this section, we seek to bring our members closer together by giving everyone the opportunity to get to know other EAPA members, their thoughts, ideas, and projects on psychological assessment, and to discover similarities and common interests.

 

Prof. Dr. Maria Victoria del Barrio Gándara

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

In Spain, there was a first period of absorption, in which we mainly worked on adapting foreign tests that were generated in most cases in the UK and the USA. Then, the   need was felt of new tests specially created for the Spanish population by Spanish psychologists. TEA editions assumed such task and played a special role in it. The need of evaluation in different contexts widened the field. For instance, the topic of “ Psychodiagnosis” was renamed Psychological Assessment in the in the curricula of Faculties of Psychology, making clear that  evaluation  was needed not only in clinical field but also in many other areas.  Another critical trend has appeared in Clinical Assessment, suggesting that any labelling in psychodiagnosis had to be avoided, rejecting the use of instruments like the DSM and the ICD.

Currently I am working on …

three different projects: a) Validation and update of the Children Depression Inventory (CDI-2) by M. Kovac for the Spanish population, in collaboration with TEA Publisher; b) Aspects of online assessment. In the College of Psychologists we have created a group and conducted a survey on how Spanish psychologists are doing online assessment, and which are the instruments they most commonly use, their theoretical orientations and their main concerns; c) The relationship between childhood depression and aggression. My most recent published articles reflect these themes.

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

In my opinion, assessment, that had reached a level of maturity that allowed to identify and remedy many psychological problems identified, has suffered a sort of crisis, like the well-known "crisis of the forties”, inducing people to change and abandon what it had been achieved. For instance, DSM and ICD had provided us with a common language or ‘dictionary’, that allowed us to know in a precise manner what other colleagues were thinking about some common cases or problems, allowing us an effective collaboration. But now, many critical voices had rised against those Assessment Manuals. Well, and communication has become problematic. Certainly, a Diagnostic Manual can be used right or wrong, and the true problem is to investigate how mistakes in that use can be avoided, not to throw away the child with the bath water. Another problem is the use of some ‘empty content terms’ due to fashions. For instance, people claiming in favor of Transdiagnostic, when they are read in depth, they show same structure, same evaluation instruments and same treatment techniques as were employed in previous times.

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

Bernaras, E, Jaureguizar, J., & Garagordobil, M. (2019). Child and Adolescent Depression: A Review of Theories, Evaluation Instruments, Prevention Programs, and Treatment. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(543). dio:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00543

Hofstra, M. B., Van Der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2018). Adolescents' self-reported problems a predictor of psychopathology in adulthood: 10-year follow-up study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 179(3), 203-209. dio: 10.1192/bjp.179.3.203

Sainz, J.,& García-Vera, M. P. (2020). Ideas equivocadas sobre la depresión infantil y juvenil. Clínica y Salud, 31(1). 55-65. doi: 10.5093/clysa2020a4

My favorite test or measure is …

SENA: For its complexity and comprehensiveness. It considers the different possible sources from which may be obtained information, it tracks the problems, but also the skills and strengths; in so doing, it provides accurate data for diagnosis and treatment.

If I could give out a prize for outstanding work in the domain of Psychological Assessment I would give it to …

It is always difficult to choose a contemporary colleague, as you can hurt feelings of other people, so I choose one from the past. For me, a suitable person is Leonard Carmichael whose Manual of Child Psychology edited at the beginning of the thirties contains the most important studies of this time and in whose pages, I have learned, in this Manual, an important part of my knowledge about the child. I’m always excited when re-reading this paper and I am very grateful or it. He’s not enough remembered today.

Kay Brauer, M.Sc.

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

My impression is that the German Association of Psychology recommends a comparatively strong teaching curriculum in the bachelor’s and master’s programs. This ensures students getting acquainted with the theoretical basics of psychological assessment while also giving space for learning to choose, apply, and analyze assessment instruments and techniques. Also, there are independent institutions providing norms on the use of psychological assessment in personnel selection, evaluations of assessment instruments, and guides to best practices to ensure high quality

Currently I am working on …

A larger study that examines the overlap and distinctiveness between adult playfulness and creativity, with the latter being assessed with a wide array of methods ranging from self- and peer reports to semi-objective situational judgment tests to psychometrically measured creativity. This allows fine-grained analyses of the overlap between facets of playfulness and differential indicators and domains of creativity. Other current projects include a study on the influence of item response formats on the magnitude of self-other agreement coefficients in interpersonal perception research and a replication and extension of our (Proyer & Brauer, 2018) study on the perception of adult playfulness from short textual self-descriptions.

Proyer, R. T., & Brauer, K. (2018). Exploring adult playfulness: Examining the accuracy of personality judgments at zero-acquaintance and an LIWC analysis of textual information. Journal of Research in Personality73, 12-20.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.10.002

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

One is that “fancy” methods would substitute basic work. I am often surprised when authors introduce a new instrument by providing highly advanced analyses of the external validity of their measure while missing to provide groundwork such as analyses of item- and scale parameters, reliabilities, and the structural validity of their measures. Also, I am concerned with the over-reliance on cut-off values (e.g., for the interpretation of internal consistencies or model fit indices) without critically considering context factors when evaluating new measures. 

Another concern is that psychological assessment is often perceived and treated as an “add-on.” This is corroborated by the fact that there are only few exclusive chairs devoted to psychological assessment, at least in German-speaking universities. I miss the acknowledgment of the importance of psychological assessment as one of the basic fields in psychology. Other structural challenges when pursuing a career in the field have been recently discussed at the 1st EAPA Winter School in Halle (see also the accompanying EJPA editorial written by the Winter School participants).

Brauer, K., Proyer, R. T., Greiff, S., Brown, A., Gander, F., Münscher, J.-C., Realo, A., Rivera, D., Rossier, J., & Wagner, L. (2021). Planning a career in psychological assessment: Lessons learned from the EAPA Winter School 2021. European Journal of Psychological Assessment37, 261-265. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000666

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

are actually two articles providing methods to analyze dyadic data that our lab currently uses in ongoing studies: Schönbrodt, Humberg, and Nestler (2018) provided a generalization of Response Surface Models to dyadic data and Nestler and Back (2017) introduced a method to examine the role of judge characteristics (e.g., their personality, cognitive abilities, demographics etc.) for the accuracy judgments. 

Nestler, S., & Back, M. D. (2017). Using cross-classified structural equation models to examine the accuracy of personality judgments. Psychometrika82(2), 475-497. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11336-015-9485-6

Schönbrodt, F. D., Humberg, S., & Nestler, S. (2018). Testing similarity effects with dyadic response surface analysis. European Journal of Personality32(6), 627-641. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2169

My favorite test or measure is …

depending on the construct that is aimed to be assessed. When it comes to conventional pen-and-paper tests I am impressed by the Leistungsprüfsystem-2 (LPS-2; Kreuzpointner, Lukesch, & Horn, 2013) intelligence test. Also, I am intrigued by assessment methods that implement knowledge from other fields such as cognitive psychology, for example the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm (Roediger & McDermott, 1995) assesses individual differences in inclinations to produce false memories. 

Kreuzpointner, L., Lukesch, H., & Horn, W. (2013). Leistungsprüfsystem 2: LPS-2. Hogrefe.

Roediger, H. L., & McDermott, K. B. (1995). Creating false memories: Remembering words not presented in lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition21(4), 803-814. https://doi.org/10.1037.0278-7393.21.4.803 

On the next ECPA conference, I would like to meet …

the editorial team, reviewers, and authors who I had the pleasure to interact with during my work as an editorial assistant of Psychological Test Adaptation and Development!

 

Prof. Dr. Kai Tobias Horstmann

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

I think there is still a wide gap between the assessment methods and standards that we teach in our universities and what is then used in an applied context, for example during personnel selection. However, I am not sure if this is just specific to my home country, but even if I know about this, I am oftentimes still amazed at what I hear when I talk to friends or colleagues who work in the industry.

Currently, I am working on …

I am mainly working on an understanding of personality states and their relation to global, self-reported personality traits. Experience sampling and daily diary methods are now very popular, but the psychometric quality of the so obtained scores is oftentimes not evaluated and therefore unknown. I think that we should not simply apply the same standards that were developed for global self-assessment questionnaires to repeated, intensive assessments, but that we should carefully develop new standards. For example, what is evidence for the validity of a personality state score? How can we obtain it?

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

I think there are two problems, and both are very much solvable. The first, as mentioned above, is the increased and widespread use of experience sampling and daily diary without a clear guideline on how to develop measures for such purposes, or how to evaluate their psychometric property. The second, and that is probably more difficult to solve, is that we (as a community) should develop and agree on standards for data sharing, data documentation, and data re-use. Solving this problem would increase the overall quality of our research in the long run.

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

I think one paper that has most inspired me is "A multi-rater framework for studying personality: The trait-reputation-identity model" by McAbee and Connelly (2016).

The best ECPA I attended was ….

Lisbon, 2017.

If I could give out a prize for outstanding work in the domain of Psychological Assessment, I would give it to …

John C. Flügel (1884 - 1955), who published a paper in 1925 called "A quantitative study of feeling and emotion in everyday life" (this paper is openly available online). It is one of those articles that outlines several of the problems we are still dealing with when using experience sampling methods, such as the estimation of reliability or the potential impact of response styles.

 

Prof. Dr. Tuulia Ortner

University of Salzburg, Austria

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

Overall, the research and practice of Psychological Assessment in Austria is strongly oriented to the research and standards in Germany.

Currently, I am working on …

  • A new category system in order to assess quality in psychological reports in family court.
  • A new test to assess aptitudes necessary for teacher students.
  • An Objective Personality Test for pilots that aims to assess flight relevant characteristics implemented in a flight simulator.

And on some ideas that are still too secret to tell.

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

..are actually somehow old, well known problems. I will focus on three problems here: Too many research projects solely rely on self-reports in terms of questionnaires, and do not employ a multimethod approach that would allow for a more elaborated view on the variables of interests. Second, probabilistic models are still not yet in the significant position they deserve in research and in teaching. These models would allow for a much more elaborated investigation of items, test versions and test takers’ reactions, and would promote basic research in the field. Third, research in psychological assessment is often not as attractive as research in other fields as the probability of many citations is less probable, albeit necessary for career development. So, many researchers feel forced to be active in other areas than assessment. Although such combinations may be very fruitful, resources for research can be lost.

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

There are plenty of interesting papers. As I am interested in test fairness, I would recommend the following two:

Fischer, F., Schult, J. & Hell, B. (2013). Sex-specific differential prediction of college admission tests: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (2), 478-488. doi:10.1037/a0031956
Steinmayr, R. & Spinath, B. (2017, online first). Why time constraints increase the gender gap in measured numerical intelligence. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000400

My favorite test or measure is …

I think it is no secret that I`m still fascinated by many different kinds of Objective Personality Tests assessing aspects of personality by presenting computerized scenarios. Furthermore, I think that research on reaction times in achievement and personality testing has brought and will further bring interesting insights, especially in combination with the reactions.

If I could give out a prize for outstanding work in the domain of PA, I would give it to …

I would give it without hesitation to our former president Fons van de Vijver who unfortunately and sadly just passed away. I adore all his work, especially his developments and research on on bias and equivalence in testing within the context of intercultural . He gave so many impulses for the field. Furthermore, he was a great and inspiring colleague, and he has always been very supportive to young scientists.

 

Dr. Miguel Ángel Carrasco Ortiz

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain

Currently, I am working on …

  • Validation and update of the Children Depression Inventory (CDI-2) de M. Kovac to the Spanish population in collaboration with TEA Publisher.
  • Extended nomological net, construct validity and development of the DSM-scales of the Evaluation System for children and Adolescents (SENA) in Spanish population. Adaptation of the SENA to different European countries such as Poland, and Italy.
  • Cross-cultural validation of the Interpersonal Rejection Sensitivity Scale in collaboration with the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance Rejection

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

The recent development of the Spanish Society for the advance of Psychological Assessment, SEAEP (Sociedad Española para el Avance de la Evaluación Psicológica) and the next Spring School that will be celebrated in Barcelona (Spain).

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

I think now psychological assessment has new challenges regarding to the cross-cultural assessment, the use of new technologies, and the automation and innovation of the evaluation. We also need to develop evidence-based guides to asses in a standardized way different constructs from different fields, and contexts of the psychological discipline.

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

Youngstrom, E. A., Van Meter, A., Frazier, T. W., Hunsley, J., Prinstein, M. J., Ong, M. L., & Youngstrom, J. K. (2017). Evidence‐based assessment as an integrative model for applying psychological science to guide the voyage of treatment. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 24(4), 331-363.

My favorite test or measure is …

The Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA)

The best ECPA I attended was ….

in Málaga (Spain) in 2004

 

Dr. Marjolein Fokkema

Leiden University, Netherlands

Currently, I am working on …

I am currently focusing on developing tree-based methods: statistical methods that provide results in the form of one or more decision trees. For example, such a decision tree can be used to determine whether a patient is at risk for a psychological disorder, or which patients will benefit more from psychotherapy than pharmacotherapy (or the other way around). These decision trees are much easier to understand by non-statisticians than the results of most other statistical analyses.

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

In the Netherlands, we have a dedicated committee which reviews the quality of psychological tests and to raise standards for psychological testing: the COTAN. It is part of the Dutch Association of Psychologists, which represents the interests of psychologists working in the Netherlands. At COTAN, we have reviewed over 800 tests, covering a broad range of psychological constructs, like intelligence, education, occupation and personality. For psychologists working in practice, it is impossible to evaluate all of the scientific research on reliability and validity of psychological tests. They can use the COTAN reviews to find out which tests are proven suitable for the purposes of a specific assessment. Thus, the COTAN reviews help psychologists to make sure their psychological testing practices are in line with professional standards and backed up by the latest empirical research findings.

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

The use of increasingly complex statistical models and results. Computation power may come cheap these days, but I prefer statistical results that can be understood, explained and applied by a human. Sometimes words like 'machine learning' or 'artificial intelligence' can be used like a magical veil to hide the fact that such very complex models often provide only marginal gains over simpler models, or that even large amounts of data can sometimes not predict human behavior very well. 

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

One should probably not mention a paper of oneself here, but I’ll take the risk of coming off as pretentious. I thoroughly enjoyed writing an editorial together with Samuel Greiff for the European Journal of Psychological Assessment, “How performing PCA and CFA on the same data equals trouble”.   

On the next ECPA conference, I would like to meet …

The team of editors from the European Journal of Psychological Assessment, of which I am also a part. We work for the journal all year round, but this is all online. I very much enjoy having the opportunity to meet in person. We are all from different areas of psychology, which I find inspiring, especially as we collaborate towards a shared aim: Improving and innovating psychological testing and assessment.

The best ECPA I attended was ….

The one in Lisbon in 2017. Because I am very positively biased towards that city.

If I could give out a prize for outstanding work in the domain of Psychological Assessment, I would give it to …

Lee Cronbach. I still find the standard he wrote in 1949 (‘Essentials of psychological testing’) an inspiration. I hope the prize would compensate a bit for the fact that he is most widely remembered for coefficient alpha (commonly referred to as Cronbach's alpha) while he never even claimed to have come up with the formula. Not a lot of people may remember that his work covered all important aspects of psychological testing: reliability, validity, interpretation and test use. 

 

Dr. Sonja Heintz

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Currently, I am working on …

The assessment of individual differences in humor (with a focus on humor/comic styles, humor behaviors, and well-being) and character strengths.

This is interesting to know about Psychological Assessment in my home country …

In Switzerland, Psychological Assessment is widely applied using many different methods. Thus, the interplay between research and application is vital, which is for example facilitated by the Assessment Group of the SDBB/CSFO, the Swiss service center for vocational training and counseling, course guidance, and career planning advice.

The main problems I currently see in research on Psychological Assessment …

In my view, the most important issue is to ensure a high quality of research and applications of Psychological Assessment. This includes proper development, validation, adaptation, and usage of measures and associated methods and statistical techniques.

My favorite paper of the past 5 years …

One of the papers that I found most useful, especially for my reviews, was Rex Kline's "The Mediation Myth" (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01973533.2015.1049349). I often review manuscripts that interprete mediations causally without the appropriate design (usually based on cross-sectional correlations). This paper, among others, highlights the importance of correctly interpreting advanced statistical analyses.

On the next ECPA conference, I would like to meet …

I always find it interesting to meet people who develop new assessment and statistical methods. This allows discussing potential benefits and applications to other constructs and thus improving the research in the area. Overall, every conference provides great opportunities to meet new participants as well as established researchers in the field.

The best ECPA I attended was ….

The best conference for me was the ECPA13 in Zurich in 2015, as I was the treasurer and part of the organization team. Although I didn't have much time to attend the sessions, I could learn a lot about the inner workings of a scientific conference and received mostly positive feedback from the participants.

If I could give out a prize for outstanding work in the domain of Psychological Assessment, I would give it to …

I would have given an award to Jacob Cohen for his groundbreaking work on effect sizes and power analyses in psychological research as well as for his discussions of statistical significance and null hypothesis testing, long before the current replication "crisis" / renaissance.