Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Lawrence R. James


The purpose of this study was to further the study of conditional reasoning (CR) methodology to study personality. The direction of the expansion was two fold. First was to increase the content area of the study of aggressive personality by developing justification mechanisms (JMs) for antisocial behaviors. Second, was to determine the feasibility of using different reasoning-based tasks to measure JMs. Thus the development of a CR based reading comprehension task to measure antisocial JMs was undertaken. This study represents the preliminary investigation of the viability of this measure.

The Conditional Reasoning Reading Comprehension test (CR2C) was administered to 833 undergraduates at a large Southeastern university, along with the Conditional Reasoning Test for Aggression (CRT-A), the CPI Socialization scale, and another self-report measure of antisocial tendencies. The student’s records were also accessed for violations of the university’s code of conduct. Items from the CR2C meeting selection criteria were kept to form a preliminary empirically derived key for the measure. The key held up to cross-validation and a confirmatory factor analysis and thus was retained for further analysis. This preliminary key showed solid psychometric properties and was a good predictor of student conduct-violations. The key also demonstrated discriminate and convergent validity with the CRT-A and the self-report antisocial measures.

Strengths and weaknesses of the current study are discussed, as well as future directions for research.

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