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Using the Bogus Knowledge Scale to Detect Individual Differences in Faking: Examining the Impact of Variance in Applicant Faking Open Access

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Practitioners and researchers have debated about the extent to which applicant faking impacts the validity and usefulness of non-cognitive measures as well as how response distortion may impact subsequent job performance. One reason for the disagreement may be due to the fact that most previous research has not accounted for individual differences in applicants' faking. Individual differences include both the amount of response distortion applicants engage in, and magnitude of faking, and the extent to which individuals differ in their faking behavior, or variability in faking. The current study used a bogus knowledge scale, which asks individuals to indicate their knowledge of or familiarity with fictitious concepts or items (Anderson, Warner, & Spencer, 1984; Pannone, 1984), to assess differences in faking behavior across individuals. First, the extent to which individual differences in faking impacts the criterion-related validity of non-cognitive measures in predicting task performance in an assessment center (AC) was investigated. Next, applicant AC scores were examined to determine whether there were performance differences among individuals who distort their responses relative to those who respond honestly. As part of the application process for a government-wide internship program, 970 individuals completed a biodata inventory, bogus knowledge scale, and participated in an AC. Results indicated that individual differences in applicant response distortion did not impact the extent of faking on the prediction of task performance in the AC. Further, no differences in performance were observed between applicants who engaged in high faking magnitudes relative to those who respond honestly. The implications of this study are discussed as well as directions for future research.

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