Psychological testing refers to the administration of psychological tests. A projective techniques for children of primary school age test is “an objective and standardized measure of a sample of behavior”.
The term sample of behavior refers to an individual’s performance on tasks that have usually been prescribed beforehand. A psychological test is an instrument designed to measure unobserved constructs, also known as latent variables. Psychological tests are typically, but not necessarily, a series of tasks or problems that the respondent has to solve. It is important that people who are equal on the measured construct also have an equal probability of answering the test items correctly. Psychological assessment is similar to psychological testing but usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual. A Song Dynasty painting of candidates participating in the imperial examination, a rudimentary form of psychological testing.
Physiognomy was used to assess personality traits based on an individual’s outer appearance. The first large-scale tests may have been examinations that were part of the imperial examination system in China. The test, an early form of psychological testing, assessed candidates based on their proficiency in topics such as civil law and fiscal policies. Englishman Francis Galton coined the terms psychometrics and eugenics, and developed a method for measuring intelligence based on nonverbal sensory-motor tests. It was initially popular, but was abandoned after the discovery that it had no relationship to outcomes such as college grades. The origins of personality testing date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when personality was assessed through phrenology, the measurement of the human skull, and physiognomy, which assessed personality based on a person’s outer appearances.