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John A. Johnson

John A. Johnson

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My research has been aimed at improving the validity of self-report personality tests by testing alternative models of the cognitive, motivational, and social dynamics underlying the act of responding to individual personality items. Factors I have studied include (1) properties of the test items (item content, wording, ambiguity, subtlety); (2) characteristics of the test-taker (cognitive abilities, social skills, personality traits); and (3) social demand characteristics of the testing context. I have been particularly interested in specifying how these three factors affect the validity of personality tests during personnel selection.

I am also interested in methods for improving the validity and pragmatic utility of computer-generated, narrative personality reports for single individuals.

In addition to my research aimed at improving personality test validity, I have conducted research in several specific content areas. These include:

(1) the impact of personality on educational development, vocational choice, and job performance;
(2) personality characteristics related to empathy, deviance, and creativity;
(3) relationship between personality and human evolution; and
(4) psychological factors influencing the conduct of scientific research.


1990-1991: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Research Fellow, University of Bielefeld, Germany
1997: Recipient, Provost's Collaborative and Curricular Innovations Special Recognition Program Award
1998: First place, STAR Project Award, Jack P. Royer Center for Learning and Academic Technologies
2000: The Penn State Teaching Fellow: The Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching

Primary Interests:

  • Ethics and Morality
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Gender Psychology
  • Internet and Virtual Psychology
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Self and Identity

Online Studies:


Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

Courses Taught:

John A. Johnson
Department of Psychology
172 Smeal Building, College Place
Pennsylvania State University, DuBois
DuBois, Pennsylvania 15801
United States of America

  • Phone: (814) 375-4774
  • Fax: (814) 375-4784

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