The Effect of positive and negative administrations on intelligence test performance

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The Effect of positive and negative administrations on intelligence test performance
Murdy, William George, 1934-
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Anxiety ( jstor )
Control groups ( jstor )
Intelligence tests ( jstor )
Interpersonal interaction ( jstor )
Projective tests ( jstor )
Psychometrics ( jstor )
Rating scales ( jstor )
Smiles ( jstor )
Social interaction ( jstor )
Wechsler scales ( jstor )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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University of Florida
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Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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February, 1962


The author wishes to express his appreciation of the guidance

and stimulation received from his committee chairman, Dr. Richard J.

Anderson, in the development of this research. A special note of thanks

is also extended to the members of his original supervisory committee--

Dr. Dorothy A. Rethlingshafer, Dr. James C. Dixon, Dr. Malcolm H.

Robertson, and Dr. Albert M. Barrett--for their interest and efforts

concerning this dissertation.

Without the help of the following graduate students who served

as examiners the dissertation would not have been completed: Andrew

Farinacci, Donald Hartsough, Irwin Farbman, Alan Rusnak, William Coulter,

Hal Rosen, James Alsobrook, and Ronald Baxter.

And, of course, the author is especially grateful for the help

and reinforcement from his wife, Louise.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . .. ii

LIST OF TABLES ........ . . . . . . . . iv

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . 1

Problem . . . . . . . . ... . . 1
Development of the Problem . . . ... . . 2
Research with Projective Tests . . . . .. 4
Research with Non-Projective Tests . . . . 8
Hypotheses . . . . . . . .. .. 11

II. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE . . . . . . .... 12

Subjects . . . . . . . . ... . . 12
Examiners . . . . . . . .... ... .. .15
Materials . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Negative and Positive Treatment Conditions . .. 17
Procedure . . . . . . . . ... . . 19

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION . . . . . . .... .22

Results . . . ..... . . . . . . 22
Discussion . . . . . . . . . 29

IV. SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . 3

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . ... . . . . 35

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . ... . .. 38



Table Page

1. Rating Scale . . . ... . . . . . . 15

2. Analysis of Variance . . . . .... . . . 26

3. Estimated Average Full Scale IQ's for Positive and
Negative Treatments . . . . . . . . .. 26

4. Individual Subtest Scale Scores Under Each Treatment
Condition . . . . . . .... . . . 27

5. Comparison of Subjects' Ratings of Examiners Under
Positive and Negative Treatments . . . . .... .28




The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the

experimentally established attitudes of the examiner during the admin-

istration of an intelligence test could influence the subject'e test

performance. More specifically, the experimenter wished to evaluate

the effects of a Positive Administration (i.e., an administration char-

acterized by a warm and highly approving, interested manner of test

administration) and of a Negative Administration (i.e., an administration

characterized by a persistently rejecting and disinterested manner of

test administration).

The study was concerned mainly with the examiner variable in

the psychologist-subject relationship in intelligence testing. The

experimenter hoped to amplify the scant amount of research in this area

by demonstrating a significant difference in the subject's intelligence

test performance as a result of the administration experience of two

artificial, but possible, conditions of the examiner attitude.

Moreover, in order to understand more fully the interaction

between the examiner and the subject, the experimenter was interested

in identifying, through the use of a rating scale, aspects of examiner

performance which are present in one form of administration and not

present in the other.

Development of the Problem

Consideration of interpersonal and situational variables in

psychological testing has been a matter of major concern for about a

dozen years. Joel (1949) cogently states:

It has been argued that the effect of the examiner should be
reduced to a minimum by assuming a constant warm attitude which
does not change under the impact of the subject's personality.
There can be no argument about the desirability of a friendly
attitude on the part of the examiner or about its beneficial ef-
fect on rapport. But we make a fundamental mistake if we believe
the assumed attitude of the examiner can really nullify the dynam-
ics of the testing situation. Clinical psychologists are human,
and the assumed attitude of warmth notwithstanding, they react to
different subjects in different ways, partly because of irrational
attitudes. So we must reckon with the effect of the examiner's
actual continuously changing feelings underneath the assumed

More recently, this matter is again touched upon by Cronbach

(1960, p. 60), who writes:

The tester has been accustomed to think of himself as an unemotional,
impartial task-setter. His traditions encourage the idea that he,
like the physical scientist or engineer, is "measuring an object"
with a technical tool. But the "object" before him is a person,
and testing involves a complex psychological relationship. The
traditional concern with motivation and rapport recognizes this
fact but . leads to little more than a recommendation that the
tester be pleasant and encouraging, and help the subject under-
stand the value of the test. Thie, we are beginning to suspect,
barely touches the real social-psychological complexities of

A recent review of the literature dealing with the influence of

situational and interpersonal variables in projective testing (Masling,

1960) cites over seventy references dealing with the method of admin-

istration, the testing situation, examiner influence, and subject in-

fluence. Generally speaking, the crucial element in modifying the

subject's projective response was the extent to which the subject's

attitude toward the total testing situation was influenced by the

experimental conditions. When the experimental variable was peripheral

to the examination (i.e., when it occurred before the actual test admin-

istration), no appreciable effect was introduced in the protocol.

It is necessary, before reviewing recent pertinent literature

in this area, to discuss the nature of the task as a significant

variable in demonstrating the effect of the testing conditions on the

subject's performance. Projective tests are commonly regarded as un-

structured and ambiguous stimuli. Those tetts which are characterized

by specific instructions, clearly defined stimuli, and right and wrong

answers are regarded as structured or non-projective tests. The ambi-

guity of the projective testing situation enhances the probability that

the examiner and the subject will be influenced by each other in com-

pleting the testing task.

Masling (1960) summarizes the idea that the subject or the

examiner, in an unstructured situation, will utilize all the possible

cues by stating:

The S in the projective test setting will not only use those
cues furnished by the ink blot or picture, but also those supplied
by his feelings about the examiner, those furnished by his needs,
attitudes and fears, those implied in the instructions, the room,
and previous knowledge of the test, and those cues supplied con-
sciously or unconsciously by E. When E faces the ambiguous sit-
uation of supplying meaning to a series of isolated, discrete
responses, he will not only rely on S's responses, but also on
those cues furnished by his training and theoretical orientation,
his own needs and expectations, his feelings about S and the con-
structions he places on S's test behavior and attitudes.

The implication here is that, with well structured so-called

non-projective tests, the probability that situational and interpersonal

variables will influence test performance and results is greatly dimin-

ished. In other words, Masling implies that because the testing

situation is well structured, the ability of the examiner to be objec-

tive and not involved personally with the subject is greatly enhanced.

The following review of the literature suggests that this implication

is questionable.

The amount of research on the examiner-subject relationship in

intelligence testing is small. The few articles reviewed suggest, how-

ever, that this relationship is important to the subject's score and

the evaluation of results. The research also suggests that the effect

of this relationship varies in intensity with different groups. Poorly-

adjusted people are more affected than well-adjusted people. Further,

there is the indication that the socio-economic level of the subject,

his cultural background, and his present life situation are all variables

to be considered in evaluating the results of intelligence tests.

In view of the above development, the author felt that this

experiment would be a significant contribution to the study of the in-

fluence of situational and interpersonal variables in intelligence


Research with Projective Tests

The following review of representative studies of the influence

of psychologist-subject relationship in projective testing will demon-

strate that this relationship can modify test results.

Lord (1950) used three different atmospheres of Rorschach

administration: (1) a usual standardized administration (2) a stand-

ardized administration with negative emotional loading in which the

examiner assumed the role of a cold and harsh figure demonstrating no

concern for the subject, and (3) a standardized administration with

positive emotional loading in which the examiner was warm and charming.

Lord's method was to employ three female examiners and have each subject

take the Rorschach three times (once with each examiner under a different

atmosphere). She not only found that the different methods of inter-

action varied the protocols elicited from the same subjects, but also

that a greater number of differences occurred when the examiners gave

the test in their normal manner than when they gave the test under

conditions of assumed rapport. Lord concluded that the underlying

personality of the examiner influences the subject's Rorschach test

performance to a greater extent than any assumed rapport.

Working with a similar examiner variable of negative and positive

rapport and with the Rorschach test, Luft (1953) found that the subjects

treated in a warm fashion indicated that they liked a significantly

greater number of inkblots than those subjects treated in a cold manner.

Sanders and Cleveland (1955) approached the problem of examiner

influence on Rorschach scores not by varying the mode of administration,

as the previous two studies did, but by training nine male graduate

students, unsophisticated as to projective techniques, to administer

the Rorschach test after the experimenters obtained a personal Rorschach

from each. The examiners then administered twenty Rorschachs each to

undergraduate subjects who, in turn, rated the examiners on measures of

overt anxiety and hostility; the examiner's covert anxiety and hostility

were obtained from their Rorschach protocols. On the basis of these

measures, Sanders and Cleveland found that the examiners rated in a

particular way (with regard to hostility or anxiety) tended to elicit

Rorschachs which differed significantly from those Rorschachs elicited

by examiners with different ratings. In short, different examiners

elicited different Rorschach scores from their subjects.

Exploring the possibility of finding significant over-all differ-

ences in Rorschach protocols obtained by various examiners with similar

backgrounds from a homogeneous group of patients (white, male veterans,

25-32 years old with functional rather than organic ailments), Gibbey,

Miller and Walker (1953) analyzed the obtained Rorschach protocols for

examiner influence and found that the examiners differed from each other

significantly in the determinants they elicited from comparable subjects.

That differential instructions can influence Rorschach scores is

clearly demonstrated by Henry and Rotter (1956), who gave the control

group a standard administration, but informed the experimental group

that the test is used to discover serious emotional disturbances. The

experimental group gave significantly more cautious and conforming

responses than the control group.

Whether or not the examiner is present during the testing ap-

pears to be a significant variable in influencing test performance.

Bernstein (1956), using the TAT under conditions of examiner present

and then absent for both written and oral TAT productions, found that

the only significant difference in the stories was a function of the

examiner being present or absent. The results indicated that the ex-

aminer's presence acts as an inhibiting factor for strongly emotional


Not only does the examiner appear to have a significant influence

on projective test performance, but also the physical surroundings seem

to have an influence. Rabin, Nelson, and Clark (1954), in order to

study the effects of the physical surroundings on Rorschach performance,

used two experimental groups of males in differently decorated waiting

rooms and a control group in an undecorated waiting room. One experi-

mental group waited in a room decorated with anatomical charts and

surgical pictures; the other group waited in a room decorated with

photographs of nude and seminude females. No significant difference

between groups in the number of anatomical responses was found, but

there was a significant difference in the number of sexual responses.

A further interesting finding of this study was that those subjects who

waited in the room decorated with pictures of nude women gave signifi-

cantly more sexual responses to the male examiner than to the female


Two studies using operant conditioning of the subject's verbal

behavior further demonstrate that cues given by the examiner can affect

test results. Wickes (1956) used a control group and two experimental

groups for a series of homemade inkblots similar to the Rorschach test.

Of the two experimental groups, one received verbal reinforcement (e.g.,

"fine" and "good") to movement responses, the other received postural

reinforcement (e.g., nodding and smiling) to movement responses. By

introducing reinforcement during the second half of the inkblot series,

Wickes found a significant increase in movement responses for both rein-

forcement groups, but found no such increase in the control group.

Gross (1959) in a similar study reinforced human content responses on

the Rorschaoh, verbally to one experimental group, and posturally or

non-verbally to another. It was found that both the verbally reinforced

and non-verbally reinforced groups gave significantly more human re-

sponses than the control group and that there was no significant dif-

ference between the two types of reinforcement.

The last study to be reviewed in the area of the influence of

interpersonal and situational variables on projective test performance

deals with the influence of the subject upon the examiner. Masling

(1957) used two female subjects who acted as confederates by posing as

subjects and acting warm or cold to a group of naive examiners who had

the task of interpreting sentence completion protocols yielded by the

subjects. Masling found that when the subject acted warm to the ex-

aminer her protocol was interpreted more favorably (i.e., she appeared

in better mental health) than when she acted coldly.

Research with Non-Projective Tests

All the pertinent research in the area of measuring the examiner

influence on "structured non-projective" testing has been done with

individually administered intelligence tests. The amount of research

in this area is scant when compared with similar investigations in

projective testing.

Intelligence tests are regarded as objective and impersonal

instruments for the study of behavior. The stimuli are clearly defined;

the answers are right or wrong; the instructions are specific, and the

examiner reads the questions as they appear in a manual; the answers are

scored according to the manual. The following review will, however,

demonstrate that there is reason to suspect the objectivity of intel-

ligence tests.

Lantz (1945) studied the effects of situational variables (i.e.,

success or failure) upon intelligence test performance. Using nine

selected tasks from Form L of the Revised Stanford-Binet and nine com-

parable tasks from Form M as measures of intelligence, Lantz found that

his "failure group" of subjects--who experienced failure in a game in

which the task was to secure, in three different ways, a ball from a box--

experienced a lack of the expected average test-retest increase in score

and a decrease in the number of correct responses on those test items

which involved the use of thought processes. The "failure-group" also

demonstrated a decrease on the ratings of willingness, self-confidence

and attention. The "success-group," however, demonstrated an increase

of average scores on the mental tasks with a decrease in score vari-


Getting closer to the examiner-subject relationship, Staudt

(1948) gave three groups of college students tests of verbal analogies,

arithmetic, and cancellation. The first group was tested under normal

conditions. The second group was instructed to work accurately. The

third group was instructed to work very rapidly and was subjected to

tension-evoking conditions (e.g., a buzzer sounded every thirty seconds,

at which times the examiner stated how many items should have been com-

pleted). These conditions produced feelings of inferiority in the sub-

jects, because the level of attainment was set beyond their capacities.

Staudt's results demonstrated significantly more errors for the tension

group and no difference between the other two groups.

Hutt (1947) compared IQ ratings obtained by "consecutive" test-

ing (i.e., normal procedure) and "adaptive" testing (i.e., procedure of

following every failure by an easier item) on Form L of the Revised

Stanford-Binet. The results showed that well-adjusted children make

similar scores with the two methods of administration, whereas poorly-

adjusted children make higher IQ ratings with the "adaptive" testing.

The suggestion here is that, because some children experience an increas-

ing sense of failure with the "consecutive" testing, they may therefore

be unable to succeed on later test items. Hutt felt that the "adaptive"

testing yielded more valid Is with the poorly-adjusted children.

Directly manipulating the nature of the social relationship

between the examiner and the subject and determining the effect of such

upon intelligence test performance by establishing (1) a good relation-

ship, (2) a poor relationship, and (3) a control group (i.e., no rela-

tionship), respectively, with three groups of nursery school children,

Sacks (1952) found in all three groups a mean increase in IQ from Form L

of the Revised Stanford-Binet to Form M. The children in the "relation-

ship" groups demonstrated a significantly greater change than did those

in the control group.

Masling (1959), investigating the effects of the subject upon

the examiner's administration and scoring of selected subtests from the

Wechsler-Bellevue II, had two subjects act either warm or cold to naive

examiners who were sophisticated in intelligence testing. The subjects

also gave memorized responses, most of which were devised to be diffi-

cult to score. The study thus compared the examiner's treatment of

warm and cold subjects, and the results showed conclusively that to

the warm subjects, the examiner was more lenient, used more reinforcing

statements, and gave more opportunity to clarify or correct responses.


In light of the above research, the specific hypotheses which

were tested were as follows:

I. There will be a consistent shift in intelligence test

performance as a result of the different experimentally established

negative and positive interactions between the examiner and the subject.

II. This shift will most likely reflect a decrement in score

for the majority of the subjects under the negative treatment condition.

III. The subject's ratings of the examiners will be clearly

different as a result of the different treatment conditions.

IV. The subjects will perceive the negative treatment condi-

tion examiners in an unfavorable light, whereas they will perceive the

positive treatment condition examiners in a favorable light.




The subjects used in this experiment were 48 male undergraduate

students at the University of Florida. They acted as their own controls

and were tested in both treatments yielding a total of 96 scores for

comparison. Most of them were sophomores and juniors and were selected

from a course in general psychology.

For purposes of sampling a wide range of intellectual ability,

the A.C.E. was used as a means of selecting subjects. The wide range

was developed by selecting the subjects on the basis of divisions of

ranges of percentile ranks: one-sixth of the subject population were

drawn from range 24 and below; one-sixth from 25 to 39; one-sixth from

40 to 54; one-sixth from 55 to 69; one-sixth from 70 to 84; one-sixth

from 85 and above. This division meant that there should have been

8 subjects within each range.

Because 5 subjects did not appear and because the source of

alternate subjects was limited, the actual number of subjects per di-

vision worked out as follows: 7 subjects from range 24 and below;

6 from 25 to 39; 7 from 40 to 54; 10 from 55 to 69; 9 from 70 to 84;

and 9 from 85 and above.

As will be seen in the Procedure section of this chapter, each

subject followed a unique pattern of testing. It was essential that

the subject follow his pattern to completion for meaningful data to

occur. All of the subjects cooperated except one who dropped out be-

fore he completed his pattern. Minor modifications in the statistical

treatment of the data were made and will be discussed as they are



Hammond (1954) criticizes studies on the examiner effect in

psychological testing on the basis that they fail to take an adequate

sample of the examiner population and thus limit the degree to which

results can be generalized to larger groups of examiners and subjects.

The present experiment attempted to overcome this weakness in

the independent variable by using eight male graduate students in psy-

chology as examiners. Each examiner had completed a course in individ-

ual intelligence test administration and scoring, in addition to having

had experience along these lines in a practicum setting.

Intelligence Test:

Two series of five subtests (Pentads) each from the Wechsler

Adult Intelligence Scale were used as measures of intelligence test

performance. Pentad I consisted of subtests: Information, Similarities,

Vocabulary, Picture Arrangement, and Object Assembly. Pentad II con-

sisted of subtests: Comprehension, Arithmetic, Digit Symbol, Picture

Completion and Block Design.

According to Maxwell (1957), who followed up the work of

McNemar (1950) and Doppelt (1956) on estimating full scale IQ from

short forms of the WAIS, Pentad I correlates .972 with full scale score

and Pentad II correlates .966 with full scale score. These correlations

receive indirect support from the research of Howard (1959) and Clayton

and Payne (1959) who tested the validity of similar short forms.

Thus these two Pentads estimate with little error variance the

measurement of intelligence as shown by the full scale WAIS. Because

each fails to account for approximately .06 of the total variance, these

two Pentads could, at a very minimum, correlate .94 with each other.

On this basis it was felt that the two Pentads could be regarded as

equivalent enough to compare the effects of the treatment conditions.

Standard WAIS record forms were used to record the data.

Rating Scale:

The rating scale consisted of twenty-seven personal adjectives

representative of four major areas of personality (Dominance, Activity,

Social Sensitivity, and Mood) which, it was felt, is pertinent to psy-

chological testing. The rating was along a continuum of Strongly Agree

to Strongly Disagree.

The rating scale was derived from the SAQS Chicago Q Sort

(Corsini, 1956), which seemed to provide a valuable research tool for

this experiment, because it contains a number of previously selected

personal adjectives describing people. These adjectives are applicable

for the study of the interaction between the examiner and the subject.

Table 1 presents the actual rating scale and Table 5, the adjectives

grouped according to major personality areas and a comparison of the

subject's ratings of the examiners under the two different treatment





The following words are descriptions of people. You are to describe
your Examiner by encircling the letters
which signify whether you Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Undecided (U),
Disagree (D), and Strongly Disagree (SD), with the descriptive word.
The results of the Rating Scale will be held in strict confidence, so
please be frank.

1. Aggressive SA A U D SD

2. Quick SA A U D SD

3. Warm-hearted SA A U D SD

4. Easy-going SA A U D SD

5. Forceful SA A U D SD

6. Hasty SA A U D SD

7. Soft-hearted SA A U D SD

8. Calm SA A U D SD

9. Independent SA A U D SD

10. Hurried SA A U D SD

11. Gentle SA A U D SD

12. Worrying SA A U D SD

13. Stubborn SA A U D SD

14. Talkative SA A U D SD

15. Appreciative SA A U D SD

16. Emotional SA A U D SD

17. Dominant SA. A U D SD

18. Active SA A U D SD

TABLE 1--(Continued)

19. Discreet SA A U D SD

20. Excitable SA A U D SD

21. Outspoken SA A U D SD

22. Unselfish SA A U D SD

23. Submissive SA A U D SD

24. Insensitive SA A U D SD

25. Dependent SA A U D SD

26. Sensitive SA A U D SD

27. Sarcastic SA A U D SD

Negative and Positive Treatment Conditions

In order to evaluate adequately the results of this experiment,

it was important to develop some degree of standardization in the admin-

istration of the negative and positive treatment conditions. Since the

greatest part of the administration consists of a verbal interaction

between the examiner and subject, procedures were developed to create a

difference between positive and negative treatments in terms of the

manner of administration rather than in terms of a change in the actual

directions of administration which appear in the WAIS manual (Wechsler,

1955). It was also felt that this approach would generalize the results

to the actual day-by-day professional use of the WAIS.

The treatment conditions are defined in the following instructions

to examiners.

Positive Administration: In general, this administration is
characterized by a warm and highly approving, interested manner of
test administration. The examiner is prone to give reinforcing
statements in a warm tone of voice, i.e., he will be personally
warm and appreciative in manner. The examiner will speak in an
encouraging tone of voice and look at the subject with a smile while
asking questions, preparing tests, or giving directions. In other
words, he will make every "Hm!" sound like a compliment for work
well done. The specific activities of the examiner are:

1. Introduce yourself to the subject and shake hands with him.

2. Look at the subject while talking to him.

3. Use a tone of voice which reflects warmth and interest,
e.g., speak slowly, softly, and clearly and vary the
intonation pattern.

4. Demonstrate appreciation of the subject's responses by
stating such things as "good," "you're doing O.K.," etc.

5. Wait patiently for each response.

6. Appear alert to everything that the subject says, i.e.,
avoid appearing bored or tired.

7. Be quick to smile at appropriate instances, e.g., for a
good response or when the subject smiles.

8. When a subtest is finished, the transition to the next
subtest should be facilitated by such remarks as, "Here is
something of a different sort" or "I think that you will
find this interesting." Never go from one subtest to
another without saying something of a positive and reward-
ing nature.

Negative Administration: In general, this administration is
characterized by a persistently rejecting and disinterested manner
of test administration. The examiner is prone to make punishing
statements, consisting of remarks and actions designed to insult
the subject or the response made, i.e., the examiner will assume
the role of a harsh, rejecting, authoritarian figure. He will be
deliberately unconcerned about the subject and will not look at him
while asking questions, preparing tests, or giving directions; he
will never smile and will give directions in a voice of dictatorial
harshness, making every "Hm!" sound like a sneer. The specific
activities of the examiner are:

1. Do not introduce yourself to the subject and do not ac-
knowledge his attempts at introduction.

2. Never look at the subject while talking to him.

3. Use a tone of voice which reflects coldness and disinterest,
e.g., speak rapidly but clearly in a steady monotone with
no variance of the intonation pattern.

4. Demonstrate rejection and lack of appreciation by frowning
and not saying anything while the response is being given.

5. Demonstrate impatience by resorting to such things as tap-
ping the table with your pencil, looking up at the ceiling,
and becoming fidgety as the subject responds.

6. Create the impression of being bored by sighing heavily
upon occasion and manhandling the test materials in order
to create an impression of distaste for what is being done.

7. Do not smile and do not respond to the subject's attempts
to be pleasant during the testing.

8. When a subtest is finished, the transition to the next sub-
test should be characterized by immediately launching into
the administration with no preliminary remarks other than
a disdainful grunt.

Specific application of these instructions to the various subtests


Pentad I: Information, Similarities, and Vocabulary are mainly
tests involving a verbal interaction between the subject and the ex-
aminer. The above suggestions for Positive and Negative treatments
should be applied throughout the testing.

With Picture Arrangement and Object Assembly, there is an oppor-
tunity, through the actual manipulation of test materials, to delin-
eate further the difference between Positive and Negative treatments.
In the Positive treatment the examiner presents the materials as
they are normally presented. In the Negative treatment the examiner
presents the materials by forcefully putting them on the table and
removing them in the same manner.

Pentad II: Comprehension and Arithmetic are to be handled the
same as Information, Similarities, and Vocabulary are handled in
Pentad I for the Positive and Negative treatment.

Digit Symbol, Picture Completion, and Block Design are to be
handled in the same manner as Picture Arrangement and Object As-
sembly are handled in Pentad I for the Positive and Negative treat-


To reduce the effects of order and sequence which introduce con-

founding errors of measurement, the experiment followed a pattern of


The eight examiners were broken down into four blocks with two

examiners in a block. Within each block there were twelve subjects

selected proportionately from the A.C.E. divisions discussed earlier.

All of the subjects acted as their own controls; thus they experienced

both treatment conditions, but each from a different examiner within

a block.

Since possible sources of error could develop from the examiners

administering one form of the treatment condition, the examiners

alternated between negative and positive administrations, so that each

examiner gave a total of six negative administrations and six positive

administrations with a pattern of alternating from one treatment con-

dition to another throughout the sequence of twelve administrations.

To control further any possible sequence effect, the subjects were

assigned on a counterbalanced basis to various examiners and treatment

conditions. More specifically, a subject who received an administration

early in that examiner's sequence did not receive his second administra-

tion until late in another examiner's sequence.

To control for the Pentads themselves introducing error by being

used consistently in one treatment condition, the Pentads were counter-

balanced with regard to the use of one Pentad with one treatment con-

dition. Thus the Pentads were used as negative and positive treatment

stimuli equally.

The experiment was run in the evening, each examiner working

in a separate office testing three subjects each evening for a total of

four evenings. The subjects each appeared twice on consecutive evenings.

All of the subjects were naive about the purpose of the experiment.

They were told that the experiment was an investigation in the area of

psychological testing and that their part in the experiment would be to

answer a list of standardized questions.

At the end of the second testing session the subjects were given

two copies of the rating scale appearing in Table 1. The subjects were

asked to rate their "first examiner" and their "second examiner" in

order to maintain subject naivete' during this last phase of the exper-

iment. The subjects were then asked not to discuss the experiment with


anyone until they were informed that the experiment was over.

Scale scores for the subtests were used as data in comparing

the effects of the treatments. The Pentads were scored by the exper-

imenter using the recommended scoring which appears in the WAIS manual.




The design of this experiment allowed an analysis of variance

to be done on the subtest scale score totals for the Pentads under the

different treatment conditions. Table 2 presents the results of the

analysis of variance. The missing subject discussed earlier was handled

by replacing his missing score by a value equal to the mean of the other

scores in that subject's treatment-cell and subtracting one degree of

freedom from the degrees of freedom for total and consequently from the

degrees of freedom for error also.

The insignificant F for the variance between examiners indicates

a homogeneity between examiners suggestive of their handling the treat-

ment conditions in a very similar manner. Table 3 suggests this, be-

cause a high degree of correspondence exists for subtest totals from

block to block for both treatments.

The insignificant interaction between examiners and treatments

can also be interpreted along the lines of examiner similarity in han-

dling the different treatment conditions. The main implication here is

that the treatments had the same relative effects throughout the blocks

or levels.

The F of 2.86 for the variance between negative and positive

treatments falls short of the F of about 4.0 required for significance

at the .05 level. This F approaches significance, and there are probably

many reasons for a significant difference not appearing at the present

time. This F is probably the most important phase of the statistical

findings, and it tends to support a hypothesis that the attitude of the

examiner has little effect on test results in well-structured testing.

Variables to be discussed later not included or manipulated in this

experiment suggest that this hypothesis may be unwarranted.

To present the direction of the shift of scores from one treat-

ment condition to the other and to determine general consistency of this

shift, the estimated average Full Scale IQ per block of examiners for

both treatment conditions is listed in Table 3. It is apparent that

the shift represents a consistent decrement in score in the negative

treatment condition. Again there is the suggestion that the Pentads

are equivalent and have little to do with confounding the results because

of the counterbalancing of the Pentads. Although examiners 5 and 4

experience a mild shift while examiners 7 and 8 experience a more

severe shift, it is observed that the difference in shift is not in-

tense enough to create a significant F for interaction.

It was felt that an examination of the effect of the treat-

ments on the individual subtests would be of interest and value.

Table 4 lists the results of a series of t tests done on each subtest

comparing scale scores for both treatment groups.

A general decrement in score occurs within the negative treat-

ment group for Information, Comprehension, Similarities, Vocabulary,

Block Design, and Picture Arrangement. A slight increase in score for

the negative treatment appears for Digit Symbol, Picture Completion,

and Object Assembly, while Arithmetic demonstrates no change at all.

These differences are insignificant except for Vocabulary, which is

significant at the .02 level of significance. Why this particular sub-

test should demonstrate significance will be discussed later.

Table 5 presents a comparison of the direction of the subject's

ratings of the examiners under the positive and negative treatment con-

ditions using the rating scale presented in Table 1. Table 5 also groups

the descriptive adjectives used for the ratings according to major per-

sonality areas.

The comparisons of whether or not the subjects agreed with the

adjective as being descriptive of the examiner were made using the

chi-square technique as a measure of the significance of difference of

the agree-disagree ratings under each treatment condition. Those adjec-

tives which were found to be significant are checked in order to indicate

the direction of the rating under each treatment condition.

Of the twenty-seven adjectives it is noticed that eighteen achieve

a significant level of difference in ratings of the examiners. It is

probably noteworthy that under the personality area of Social Sensitivity

all nine of the adjectives are significant, whereas the area of Domin-

ance yields only three out of eight significant differences, Activity

yields three out of five, and Mood also yields three out of five sig-

nificant differences.

More specifically, examiners under the positive treatment are

seen by the subjects as talkative, warm-hearted, gentle, appreciative,

discreet, unselfish, sensitive, easy-going, and calm. The same exam-

iners under the negative treatment condition are not seen as possessing


these qualities. The negative treatment produced a picture of the

examiners as being forceful, stubborn, dominant, hasty, hurried, in-

sensitive, sarcastic, and worrying. Conversely, the same examiners

under the positive treatment do not receive these ratings.



Source DF MS F P

E: Examiners 3 5.97 < 1 Not sig.

T: Treatments 1 150.66 2.86 > .05

E xT 3 30.19 < 1 Not sig.

Error Term 87 45.75

Total 94



Blocks Positive Treatment Negative Treatment
Pentad Average IQ Pentad Average IQ

1 and 2 1 115 2 114

5 and 4 2 114 1 114

5 and 6 1 117 2 115

7 and 8 2 118 1 111







Digit Symbol

Picture Completior

Block Design

Picture Arrangemen

Object Assembly



Condition Mean Difference SD

Positive 13.35 .35 1.60
Negative 13.00

Positive 13.35 1.00 4.15
Negative 12.55

Positive 12.42 0 3.31
Negative 12.42

Positive 13.25 1.00 3.09
Negative 12.25

Positive 13.43 1.35 2.39
Negative 12.08

Positive 11.69 .15 2.95
Negative 11.82

Positive 12.07 -.39 2.80
Negative 12.46

Positive 12.13 .56 4.26
Negative 11.57

Positive 10.96 .30 2.44
Negative 10.66

Positive 10.17 .87 4.32

t P






- .21

- .66



- .94

Not sig.

Not sig.

Not sig.

Not sig.


Not sig.

Not sig.

Not sig.

Not sig.

Not sig.






A e DF 2 P Positive Treatment Negative Treatment
Agree Disagree Agree Disagree

Aggressive 3 .88 <.80
Forceful 4 12.36 <.01 x x
Independent 3 3.92 <.50
Stubborn 3 25.90 <.01 x x
Dominant 5 17.56 <.01 x x
Outspoken 4 3.54 <.50
Submissive 4 6.98 >.10
Dependent 3 .82 <.90

Quick 3 .24 <.98
Hasty 3 28.92 >.01 x x
Hurried 3 31.20 >.01 x x
Talkative 3 46.02 >.01 x x
Active 3 2.80 <.50

Warm-hearted 3 48.27 >.01 x x
Soft-hearted 3 29.04 >.01 x x
Gentle 3 44.25 >.01 x x
Appreciative 3 38.12 >.01 x x
Discreet 4 10.52 >.05 x x
Unselfish 3 21.90 >.01 x x
Insensitive 3 21.88 >.01 x x
Sensitive 3 11.28 .01 x x
Sarcastic 3 24.06 >.01 x x

Easy-going 4 44.92 >.01 x x
Calm 3 24.80 >.01 x x
Worrying 3 29.12 >.01 x x
Emotional 4 4.06 <.50
Excitable 4 8.72 >.10


With regard to Hypothesis I--that there will be a cornistent

shift in intelligence test performance as a result of the different

experimentally established negative and positive interactions between

the examiner and the subject--little support is received by the results

of this study. There was a consistent shift, but it was at an insig-

nificant level of significance (P > .05).

Perhaps different results could be attained by utilizing a dif-

ferent sampling procedure. Studying class attitudes towards psychiatry,

Redlich, Hollingshead, and Bellis (1955) found that there was a higher de-

gree of rapproachment between the value systems of psychotherapists and of

middle-class patients than between the value systems of psychotherapists

and lower-class patients. Evidence for this conclusion was found in the

facts that lower-class patients did not enter therapy voluntarily, the

therapists demonstrated a greater dislike of lower-class patients than of

middle-class patients, and poor communication existed between therapists

and lower-class patients. The sample used in this study, for both exam-

iners and subjects, were very much alike in class attitude and values

because of their identification with the academic atmosphere.

By generalizing from the Redlich et al. study to motivational

factors and the establishment of rapport in intelligence testing, it is

possible to suggest different sets of variables coming into play with

such groups as maladjusted individuals, minority groups, or persons with

different social norms and values. If these variables were taken into

consideration and manipulated in an experiment similar to the present

study they could well demonstrate their importance by being reflected

in more significant results.

Another possibility is for a related study in which the personal-

ities of the examiners and subjects are paramount. Although the experi-

mental difficulties in such a study are, of course, great--especially in

respect to evaluating the examiner's personality--this interesting prob-

lem merits consideration.

Hypothesis II--that the shift in performance will most likely

reflect a decrement in score for the majority of the subjects under the

negative treatment condition--receives support, although not significant

support, from the results. No explanation of these results can be

derived from this experiment. A. possible explanation may be found in

related research dealing with the detrimental effects of anxiety and

tension upon intelligence test performance. Sarason et al. (1952) found

that, when subjects with a low-anxiety rating were given ego-involving

instructions on a stylus maze, a slight increase in performance resulted.

Subjects with a high-anxiety rating, however, did poorly under ego-

involving instructions. Wiener (1957), using distrustfulnesss" and

"suspiciousness" as independent variables, found that subjects high

in these traits tend to get lower IQ's because they hold back full an-

swers or actually deny the implications of test questions.

The suggestion from such related research is that the "anxiety"

and "distrust" aroused by the negative treatment condition tends to

lower intelligence test scores. Again there are implications for

further research within the present experimental framework.

The results of the rating scale support both Hypothesis III--

that the subject's ratings of the examiners will be clearly different

as a result of the different treatment conditions--and Hypothesis IV--

that subjects will perceive the negative-treatment examiners in an

unfavorable light, whereas they will perceive the positive-treatment

examiners in a favorable light. These results also indirectly support

the experimental reality of the two treatment conditions in that the

same examiners received different ratings in accordance with the treat-

ment conditions.

As a means of studying the effect and operating traits of the

two treatment conditions, the rating scale does an adequate job. It

is a step in the direction of studying the actual interaction between

the examiner and the subject. This study was concerned mainly with ex-

perimentally established interpersonal variables influencing test per-

formance and not with an attempt to determine how these variables

actually affect the subject. Such a study would require an analysis

of the interaction process itself. In the area of research in psycho-

therapy such techniques are being developed (Rubinstein and Parloff,


Of the individual subtests, Vocabulary was the only one demon-

strating a significant decrement in score as a result of the negative

condition. The mental processes involved in this subtest are generally

regarded as the ability to recall previously acquired verbal meanings

with variations in the quality of responses yielded. Perhaps these

processes are upset by negative influences; in other words, the quality

of recall and response may suffer as a result of the negative treatment


Although the results of this experiment do not significantly

demonstrate a decrement in intelligence test scores, the other results

of the experiment and related areas of experimentation discussed in

the previous paragraphs suggest further research along this line with

structured psychological tests. The assumption that structured tests

are not affected by interpersonal and situational variables is still


If examiner-subject relationships can be demonstrated with

structured tests, the interpretation of test results must go beyond a

purely psychometric interpretation. Schafer suggests that the testing

situation be looked upon as a social situation from which to derive data

in order to understand the subject better. This approach to testing

necessarily increases the possibility of personalized interpretation,

but it also allows for a greater inclusion of data. For this "total-

situation" approach to be admissible to psychological testing, a system

of handling accurately great complexities of data must be worked out,

in order to satisfy the criterion of objectivity in test interpretation.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not

experimentally established examiner attitudes--negative and positive--

could influence intelligence test scores. The study was also concerned

with identifying examiner traits of the two treatment conditions.

The subjects used in this study were forty-eight male under-

graduate students, who acted as their own controls by participating in

both the negative and positive treatment conditions. The examiners were

eight male graduate students in psychology sophisticated in intelli-

gence test administration. The examiners received specific instructions

concerning their behavior during the administration of the treatment


The measures of intelligence were two short forms of the

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. These short forms were composed of

five subtests each and correlated approximately .97 with full scale

WAIS and at least .94 with each other. Selected parts of the Chicago Q

Sort were used as a rating scale of the examiners.

The experiment followed a pattern of counterbalancing in order

to control for order and sequence effects. Each examiner tested twelve

subjects and alternated negative and positive administrations. Each

subject received a negative and positive administration from a different

examiner and alternated positions within the examiner's sequence.

The Pentads received equal use in both treatment conditions in order

to control for biasing factors arising from Pentad differences. At the

end of the second testing session the subjects filled out a rating scale

of the two examiners who worked with him in the experiment.

Scale scores for the subtests were used as data in comparing the

effects of the treatments. An analysis of variance of this data re-

vealed no significant F's other than the variance between treatments

approaching significance. It was felt that the utilization of different

types of subject populations, other than college sophomores, might well

yield more significant results. The majority of the scores decreased as

a result of the negative treatment condition.

An analysis of the subtests separately revealed that Vocabulary

was the one subtest which demonstrated a significant decrease as a

result of the negative treatment condition.

Chi-squares of the rating scale data demonstrated clear differ-

ences in the subjects' ratings of the same examiners in the different

treatment conditions.

It was felt that more research with well-structured tests, e.g.,

intelligence tests, with regard to interpersonal and situational influ-

ences should be done. It was urged that psychologists look upon the

testing situation as a social situation capable of delivering more data

than a pure psychometric approach could yield. The problem of personal-

ized interpretation was pointed out and it was suggested that a system

for accurately and objectively handling such complexities be evolved.


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William George Murdy, Jr., was born in New York City, New York,

on June 5, 1934. In June, 1952, he was graduated from Andrew Jackson

High School, St. Albans, Long Island. As an undergraduate, he studied

his first two years at the University of Florida and then transferred to

New York University, where he received, in June, 1956, the degree of

Bachelor of Arts with majors in English and Psychology. In September,

1956, he was admitted to the University of Florida as a graduate student

in Psychology. The following year he entered the United States Army

for six months.

After his marriage to Thelma Louise Baughan in August, 1958, he

resumed his graduate studies at the University of Florida. In June,

1959, he received the degree of Master of Arts and began working toward

the doctoral degree. As a trainee, he joined the Veterans Administra-

tion Clinical Psychology Training Program in Gulfport, Mississippi, in

March, 1961. Since that time, he has been completing the academic re-

quirements and internship necessary for specialization in clinical


This dissertation was prepared under the direction of the

chairman of the candidate's supervisory committee and has been ap-

proved by all members of that committee. It was submitted to the

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council,

and was approved as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the

degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

February 5, 1962

Dean, College of Arts and cidnces

Dean, Graduate School


Chairman /

I ,
. >^ _^ ^