The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Industrial/Organizational Psychology: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

John Kulas

Second Advisor

Leslie Valdes

Third Advisor

Mana Komai

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Personality Assessment, Faking, Social Desirability, Response Latency


This literature review has shown that people are distorting their answers during personality assessments in varying contexts. This distortion arises as both a function of items and individual differences. While it is easy to identify, understanding the underlying processes of faking is of vital importance to the field. Investigators have identified response latency as one of the better tools available to aid in understanding faking. By using this method, it is possible to analyze differences in faking by items and situation. Understanding differences in both items and condition should help expand our understanding of faking and ultimately reduce it in the future. The current study examines how social desirability relates to the response latency and reported response difficulty of personality items. Hypothesis 1 bolstered previous research demonstrating a non-linear relationship between social desirability and response latency. An analysis of covariance revealed the strong telationship between difficulty and response latency when controlling for character count. The interpretation of hypothesis 2 is very difficult to make without certain assumptions. Future investigation will be required to explain this effect. Analysis of the difficulty ratings showed that when I told subjects to answer honestly, reported difficulty no longer covaried with social desirability.


I would like to thank my wife, Kayla, for all of her love and support during this process.



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