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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. 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.