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Personality Validity: The Role of Schemas and Motivated Reasoning


*Address for correspondence: Zvi H. Aronson, Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030. E-mail:


We explored the role of schemas and motivated reasoning in personality assessment. Utilizing a sample of 299 participants, we investigated whether applying for a specific job leads applicants to adopt a schema. Once adopting the schema, the respondents use that schema in a way that inaccurately reflects what their behavior is. Consequently, as hypothesized, there is a lowering of validities, in comparison with assessing personality in a neutral setting. An intriguing implication of our research is that personality measurement for selection might be shifted from the employment setting to more neutral settings, such as a counselor setting, in order to be optimized.