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Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 1971, 24 (85), 352.

CORRESPONDENCE: Regarding the Lynn N-ach test



John J. Ray

School of Sociology, University of New South Wales

I feel that your readers should be made aware of a lapse appearing in The British Journal of Psychology of 1969, Vol. 60, p 529ff. I refer to Lynn's article on a non-projective N-ach test. No reliability data for the scale are given in the article and when the present writer applied it to an Australian sample quite similar to Lynn's, a reliability coefficient "alpha" of only .17 was obtained -- which is, of course, quite hopeless.

People who might otherwise have used the scale need not despair, however. Both Lynn and the journal's referees would appear to have been unaware of the several previous (more successful) attempts to produce a scale of this sort. This literature is briefly catalogued by Fisch & Schmalt in Zeitschrift fuer experimentelle und angewandte Psychologie vol. 17 (1970) pp. 608-633. To their list should be added the Achievement Orientation subscale of the Edwards Personal Preference Inventory.

POST-PUBLICATION ADDENDUM

The full references to the two articles mentioned above are given hereunder. Sequelae to this letter are to be found in Ray (1970 & 1975). A very large update on the range of self-report achievement motivation scales available can be found in Ray (1984 & 1986)

Although this letter would seem to be of no interest to anyone many years after it was written, it does have the minor significance of being the first of very many occasions on which I have noted how little psychologists usually know of the literature of even their own area of specialization. Perhaps the most extreme such denunciations can be found here or here.

This letter is also the earliest occasion on which I have noted the "insular" tendency of U.S. and British psychologists to know nothing of work published outside the USA and the UK. Were I as loose with my terminology as most psychologists are, I would undoubtedly use a much harsher term than "insular". (Maybe I would even call it "The march of modern Fascism"!). As I have noted here, psychologists often seem to embody in their own actions the attributes they most condemn in others. Freud would have called it "projection".

References

Fisch, R. & Schmalt, H.D. (1970) Vergleich von TAT und Fragebogendaten der Leistungsmotivation. Zeitschrift fuer experimentelle und angewandte Psychologie, 17, 608-633.

Lynn, R. An achievement motivation questionnaire. Brit. J. Psychol. 1969, 60, 529-534.

Ray, J.J. (1970) Christianism.... The Protestant ethic among unbelievers. J. Christian Education, 13, 169-176.

Ray, J.J. (1975) A behavior inventory to measure achievement motivation. J. Social Psychology 95, 135-136.

Ray, J.J. (1984) Self-report measures of achievement motivation: A catalog. Document ED 237 523, ERIC Clearinghouse on tests. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Ray, J.J. (1986) Measuring achievement motivation by self-reports. Psychological Reports 58, 525-526.






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