Standard Article

Face Validity

  1. Ronald R. Holden

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0341

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Holden, R. R. 2010. Face Validity. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Queen's University, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Face validity is a characteristic associated with a psychological test and its individual items. Distinct from more technical types of validity, face validity is the appropriateness, sensibility, or relevance of the test and its items as they appear to the persons answering the test. Do a test and its items seem valid and meaningful to the individuals taking the test? More formally, face validity is defined as the degree to which test respondents view the content of a test and its items as relevant to the context in which the test is being administered.


  • relevance;
  • criterion validity;
  • faking