Error associated with the assessment of ISA concepts


Customised standard and semi-standard instruments

The following lists several sources of potential error when assessing identity processes that may result in misleading interpretations of ISA parameters of identity.

Qualitative features of identity

The primary qualitative features of all facets of self are assessed through discourses, gestures, imagery, and other non-verbal expressions that represent the person's positive, negative and possibly conflicted aspirations.

  • Aspirational self.
    Error: When discourses that relate to significant features of the aspirational self (positive, negative and conflicted) are omitted.

    Error: When a person functions with multiple 'aspirational selves' that differ substantially (as when 'me as I would ideally like to be as a business executive' is radically different from 'me as I would ideally like to be as a parent to my children') and assessment is attempted in terms of a single notion of aspirational self. 
  • Contextualised past and current facets of self
    Error: When salient social and mood contexts for the person are omitted, for example, 'self at school', 'self when performing on stage', 'self when depressed', 'self at work', etc. Which contexts and mood states might be the most significant for the person should be assessed through appropriate pilot work with the individual. A degree of standardisation can be achieved for particular studies using preliminary pilot work with a small representative sample.

Other entities, including people, institutions, agencies, emblems, icons, and events
Error: Too great a focus on 'self' without encompassing the nexus of other agents that are represented in the person's past and current interactions. At least 50&percent; of all entities should refer to agents beyond the self that provide for the person's significant identification processes.

Discourses and non-verbal expressions
Error: Simple texts and words (e.g., 'is trustworthy') that are inherently ambiguous should be incorporated only sparingly, since their meaning is often obscure giving rise to difficulties in interpretation, as for example when only members of one's own group are appraised as 'trustworthy' while those of the other group are deemed 'untrustworthy'. A more informative construct in a sectarian religious climate would be 'is trustworthy even when taking into account religious affiliation' contrasted with 'is untrustworthy even given their religion'.

Quantitative features of identity: Computed magnitudes as estimates of ISA identity parameters
Assessments of identity parameters are estimates. A degree of assessment error is always present. Assessments may be made with greater or lesser accuracy. Note the practical limitations on the extensiveness of what may be assessed at any moment, the consequences being that any assessment will entail compromises. When careful comprises are made, the most likely deficiencies will have to do with the omission of information. With well-constructed identity instruments, assessments will be meaningful estimates of the underlying parameters. The nature of scalar standardisation of the parameters listed below references the critical features that affect the degree of error associated with each parameter, which in turn depend on the sources of error listed above.

Evaluation of another; evaluation of self.
[Scalar standardisation using individual's own value and belief system: differing evaluative connotations of bipolar constructs referenced to 'aspirational self']

Ego-involvement with another; ego-involvement with self.
[Scalar standardisation using individual's own value and belief system]

Idealistic-identification with another.
[Scalar standardisation based in the elements of the aspirational self]

Contra-identification with another.
[Scalar standardisation based in the elements of the aspirational self]

Empathetic identification with another.
[Scalar standardisation based in the elements of the aspirational self]

Conflicted identification with another.
[Scalar standardisation based in the elements of the aspirational self]

Identity diffusion.
[Scalar standardisation based in the elements of the aspirational self]

Structural pressure on a construct.
[Scalar standardisation using individual's own value and belief system]

Emotional significance of a construct.
[Standardisation using individual's own value and belief system]

Identity variants
The classification of identity variants depends on criteria that are external to the individual. While the parameters of 'self-evaluation' and 'identity diffusion' are standardised internally (as above), the cut-off points that provide the classification are derived nomothetically from a large sample (as standard-deviations about their means for these two parameters). In other words, the identity variant classification is based on normative characteristics of the reference population, which are likely to differ according to culturally influenced norms of socialisation. Evidently, error will arise when inappropriate norms are used for the classification of identity variants (e.g., in a Japanese study should British cut-off points be used instead of ones referenced to Japanese norms; e.g., in a multicultural contexts such as Britain, should Afro-Caribbean British norms be applied to Pakistani British people, etc.).

Generating effective identity instruments
The greatest difficulty in generating identity instruments that effectively assess a person's identity structure and processes has to do with:

Incorporating aspects of self representing the most significant contexts or psychological states (likely error is in not appreciating which are the most informative self-contexts and self-states for the person);

Selecting the most relevant nexus of others and agencies (likely error is in omitting significant other entities of especial relevance, for good or ill, to the person);

Inclusion of discourses that have the maximum informative content (likely error is the inclusion of highly general - often simple one or two word - discourses that are generally ambiguous or may be interpreted with a wide variety of meanings).

Graphic Design and Content Managed Website by
Bluegator Creative