Warning Against Faking: Boon or Bane? Effects on Test Score Validity
Hanges, Paul J
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Previous research found personality test scores to be inflated on average among individuals who were motivated to present themselves in a desirable fashion in high stakes situations, such as during the employee selection process. One apparently effective way to reduce the undesirable test score inflation in such situations was to warn participants against faking. This research set out to investigate whether warning against faking would indeed affect personality test scores in the theoretically expected fashion. Contrary to expectations, the results did not support the hypothesized causal chain. Results across three studies show that while a warning may lower test scores in participants motivated to respond desirably (i.e., to fake), the effect of warning on test scores was not fully mediated by: a reduction in motivation to do well and self-reports of exaggerated responses in the personality test. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.