Personality Measurement

By Leonard W. Ferguson | Go to book overview

14
PERFORMANCE: OBSERVATIONAL APPROACHES

There is no chapter in this text that does not deal in some way with human performance. But in all the preceding chapters we have started with the performance induced by a specified type of test or by a specific set of directions. And the behavior we have produced by these specific tests, or by these directions, has been of a verbal character. Our subjects have responded with check marks, crosses, or circles, or have told us stories, or have described what they see in ink blots, or have said (on paper) what they would or would not do in certain situations. Or if we have not secured this information from our subjects directly, someone else has supplied the information for us. From the verbal responses induced by our verbal instructions we have tried in various ways to draw implications with respect to the prediction and control of nonverbal performance or behavior.

We come now to a consideration of nonverbal behavior directly and of the ways in which this nonverbal behavior forms a basis for personality measurement. This nonverbal behavior or performance, as we shall call it, may or may not be induced by our special instructions. But it is of a character quite different from that induced in response to any of the measuring techniques we have so far discussed. In nonverbal behavior the subject does something that we can observe--he does not just tell us about it. He gets mad or angry, he laughs or crys, he plays with his toys, he stands up, he sits down, he stamps his feet, he throws things, he prepares a speech, he gives a demonstration, and so forth. We watch him do these things and then draw our inferences from this observed behavior.

We are going to divide our performance-measuring techniques into two categories: observational and experimental. Under the first category we shall discuss the techniques which do not require

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