Psychological Testing

also called psychometrics, is the systematic use of tests to quantify psychophysical behavior, abilities, and problems and to make predictions about psychological performance.

The word “test” refers to any means (often formally contrived) used to elicit responses to which human behavior in other contexts can be related. When intended to predict relatively distant future behavior (e.g., success in school), such a device is called an aptitude test. When used to evaluate the individual’s present academic or vocational skill, it may be called an achievement test. In such settings as guidance offices, mental health clinics, and psychiatric hospitals, tests of ability and personality may be helpful in the diagnosis and detection of troublesome behavior. Industry and government alike have been prodigious users of tests for selecting workers. Research workers often rely on tests to translate theoretical concepts (e.g., intelligence) into experimentally useful measures.