Understanding the cognitive processes involved in faking behavior

For faking to occur, test takers must be both able and willing/motivated to provide false responses on a given test (Snell, Sydell, & Lueke, 1999). If ability is lacking, then the motivation to do so does not matter. Conversely one might be able to purposely alter their responses to elevate their scores, but may not be motivated to do so. Therefore it is important to understand both the ability (e.g., cognitive processes) and the motivation to fake in order to better understand how to prevent and detect faking behavior. The objectives of this project are to investigate the cognitive processes involved in faking on both forced-choice and single stimulus personality assessments, and to leverage these insights to improve methods for preventing and detecting faking behavior. Research indicates that forced-choice formats may be one of the most effective strategies to reduce faking (Jackson, Wroblewski, & Ashton, 2000; Bowen, Martin, & Hunt, 2002; Christiansen, Burns, & Montgomery, 2005). That said, research supporting the superiority of forced-choice over single-stimulus formats is not unequivocal. Several studies have demonstrated that test-takers are able to distort their responses on forced-choice assessments when instructed to do so.

Ruby Nadler
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. John Paul Minda
Project Year: