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  • Michelle Nasser Group Int

Predicting Human Behavior

What do you see?

What is a Psychological Evaluation? By: Dr. Robert Levine, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist

Psychological evaluation is defined as a way of assessing an individual's behavior, personality, cognitive abilities, and several other domains. The purpose behind many modern psychological evaluations is to try to pinpoint what is happening in someone's psychological life that may be inhibiting their ability to behave or feel in more appropriate or constructive ways; it is the mental equivalent of physical examination. Other psychological evaluations seek to better understand the individual's unique characteristics or personality to predict things like workplace performance or customer relationship management.

The real purpose of a psychological evaluation is an attempt to answer a question. In business, two of the most common usages of psychological evaluations are to determine (1) what is wrong with one of my employee and (2) predicting employee candidate’s future behavior.

When there is something wrong with an employee, the employee may have a decompensation in his/her performance or are engaging in unusual behavior. Both instances could have a psychological basis.

Employers often request for a psychological evaluation, called a fitness-for-duty evaluation, on incumbent employees to answer questions such as: does the employee have a diagnosable condition, is the employee suffering from a condition which is impairing judgment and reliability, and is the employee likely to cause harm to self or others?

These evaluations are valuable in helping to determine if there is something wrong with the employee. They are also valuable in terms of liability prevention. In the event that an employee does engage in harmful behavior or needs to eventually be terminated, the employer can say that efforts were made to mitigate the employee’s behavior.

Psychological evaluations can also be used to predict human behavior.

No…psychologists do not possess a crystal ball or use therapy couches to have information travel by way of osmosis. However, psychologists use a compilation of learning about past behavior which is the greatest predictor of future behavior as well as administering psychological tests.

The goal is to evaluate an individual’s past and present in order to predict the future about things which include judgment, reliability, and ability to succeed.

A common way that non-psychologists try to do this is through the college admission procedure. Universities take a student’s standard tests, high school grades, and use this to determine if the student will be successful at the university. However, some other situations may require more in-depth analysis that need to be done by a psychologist. As an example before one becomes a law enforcement officer, one often needs to go through a series of tests and an interview to determine if one has the judgement and reliability to perform in a weapon carrying capacity. Many other high stakes positions can use psychological evaluations for similar reasons.

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