Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

Faking on Personality Tests: The Relationship Between Intelligence and Personality

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Michael Zickar (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Kenneth Borland (Other)

Third Advisor

Eric Dubow (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Samuel McAbee (Committee Member)


This study’s main argument was that faking on personality tests is a function of intelligence, personality (adaptive and maladaptive), and values. I expected that highly intelligent fakers would successfully fake the job-relevant traits for the job they were either already holding (incumbents) or have been applying for (applicants). I used archival data provided by Hogan Assessment Systems, and respondents were either applicants (N=1073) or incumbents (N=793) within the managerial job family. All respondents had taken the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), the Motives, Values, and Preferences Inventory (MVPI), and the Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory (HBRI). I used the method of mixedmodel item response theory with covariates (MMI-IRT-C) and the statistical software Latent Gold to estimate latent classes of respondents on the HPI items. To isolate the latent classes, I entered HBRI’s raw scores and the assessment reason (applicants or incumbent) as covariates and used the items of each HPI’s main scale as observed indicators of these classes. I extracted between two and four latent classes of respondents for each of the seven HPI main scales. Using various indicators of faking such as significantly more applicants than incumbents within a latent class, higher HPI scale scores for applicants, decreased internal reliabilities, and very low difficulty parameters, I identified and categorized three groups of respondents – honest, standard faking, and a third group which I tentatively called deceptive faking. Although the deceptive faking group represented the most intelligent respondents, their HPI main scale scores were not significantly different than honest respondents’ scores, whereas standard faking respondents’ scores were significantly higher than honest respondents’ scores except for the Sociability scale. In terms of maladaptive personality, which was explored through the HDS, contrary to hypothesized, deceptive fakers were not more Machiavellian, more narcissistic, nor less psychopathic than honest respondents. In terms of personal values, which was explored through the MVPI, contrary to hypothesized, deceptive fakers were not more power-oriented, lesstraditional, or less-altruistic than honest respondents. However, deceptive fakers were seeking more recognition than honest and standard faking respondents. The latter were the least manipulative and psychopathic, as well as most traditional and altruistic group of respondents, which brings into question if they have faked the HDS and MVPI tests as well. Intelligence appears to not help test takers fake better, whereas exaggeration across all personality items appears to be successful faking strategy. Respondents’ personality or higher intelligence might not be the driving factors of faking. In contrast, respondents’ motivation and the test-taking situation itself might be more consequential for faking. Personality researchers, psychometricians, and human resources practitioners are encouraged to use situational constraints, multidimensional personality inventories, biographical and other-report data to limit the practice of faking.