New approaches to measurement of personality: translational thoughts towards applied and clinical settings


PhD students

Organizing committee

Prof. Dr. B. De Clercq, UGent, Prof. Dr. Joeri Hofmans, VUB, Prof. Dr. Karla Van Leeuwen, KUL

Scientific committee

Barbara De Clercq, Joeri Hofmans, Karla Van Leeuwen, Filip De Fruyt, Lize Verbeke, Bart Wille & Leonard Simms

Topic and Theme

The field of personality is increasingly challenged to explore innovative strategies for assessing personality constructs across the life course and within a variety of contexts. This trend can be understood from the upcoming interest in a diversity of research areas to embed personality‐related variables within designs that often require sophisticated data‐analytic procedures, including the growing availability of rich designs that represent longitudinal personality data across different developmental periods, and often incorporate alternative sources of data collection such as diary studies or psychobiological data. This creative thinking about measurement also calls for a renewed attention for psychometric issues such as reliability and predictive validity, but also for process‐based dynamics of personality development. Whereas the past decades have primarily focused on the stability feature of personality in this regard, there is now an increasing consensus that also change should receive greater empirical attention, not only at the population level, but also at the level of the individual. From this perspective, issues such as assessing within‐person variability and interactive person x environment processes are important topics to examine in view of capturing all sources of personality‐related variance.


The objective of this two‐day expert meeting is to bring together international experts on personality assessment in order to stimulate an active discussion about the value of new assessment strategies within the field of personality psychology. The relevance of this objective can be framed within the increasing interest across diverse research areas to incorporate personality measures in empirical studies, which has over the years resulted in an assessment that is fragmented along very different operationalizations. Several innovative trends are notable, but these are in need of further consideration. Bringing together some experts on this matter, a first objective aims to streamline the current evidence towards a number of promising and concrete guidelines concerning the applicability of various new assessment strategies and perspectives that will stimulate ongoing research projects to address important research questions on personality development and change, as well as on its predictive power. From a psychometric point of view, a second objective of this expert meeting is to set up some recommendations that should increase the reliability and validity of personality assessment. These two objectives should move the personality assessment field toward a deeper anchoring in social sciences. From an overarching applied perspective, the most tempting objective of the current meeting is to translate these insights into their clinical or applied value and to delineate their specific contribution in improving diagnostics. From a scoring perspective, Likert type scales are well‐established, but also struggle with irrelevant construct variance as people often tend to complete items irrespective of their content. These and other response styles ask for new approaches that handle potential sources of bias, and may facilitate the identification of true construct variance. Grounded in the latest research trends and needs, these different themes of personality operationalization, assessment and relevant psychometric issues will be the subject of the current expert meeting.


The format of the course will be set up along the mutual benefits for senior and junior researchers. Each of the invited senior researchers will bring along a junior researcher in order to stimulate crossover between junior researchers from abroad and the Ghent University doctoral students. This will stimulate international collaboration at the junior‐level, and will offer the Ghent university PhD students opportunities to connect their own research with internationally‐oriented projects. More broadly, attending this course will increase the international appearance of the ongoing research for the doctoral students, as attendance will undoubtedly create opportunities to participate in future projects or meetings. Juniors will also have the opportunity to present one of their own ongoing studies, followed by feedback of the senior researchers. Given that the methodological topics that will be addressed in the current course are applicable in diverse research areas, also doctoral students that focus on other dispositional constructs than personality, can deepen their knowledge and skills by attending this two‐day course.


Sessions will be organized along the following themes:
-    Ideal point models and scaling of personality data
-    Assessment of within-person variance
-    Multiple ways to address response tendencies in personality data
-    Methods of objective testing
-    Assessing continua of normal and abnormal personality

  • Sept 22 Sept and 23 Sept, 2016

9.30 am ‐ 11.15 am: Session
11.15 am ‐ 11.30 am: Coffee break
11.30 am ‐ 1 pm: Session
1pm ‐ 2 pm: LUNCH
2 pm ‐ 3.30 pm: Session
3.30 pm ‐ 4 pm: Coffee break
4 pm ‐ 5.30 pm: Overarching Session - Discussion

  • Sept 24 Sept, 2016

9.30 am ‐ 11.15 am: Closing remarks - Panel discussion


Hof Ter Duinen Nieuwpoort, Albert I‐laan 141, 8670 Oostduinkerke‐aan‐zee

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the Doctoral School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Ghent University


Number of participants

Maximum 50

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% attendance