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Case Discussion

 

The Personality Assessment System (PAS) is a powerful tool for both understanding and predicting behavior.  PAS profiles are derived from the scatter analysis of Weschler subtest scores. Within each profile lies a Primitive profile, a Basic Profile, and a Contact Profile.  PAS theory is based on the premise that we are all born with a Primitive Profile (i.e., EFA, IRU), and that the environmental and social “pressures” placed on us to either change or remain the same shape the direction of what will become the Basic Profile (i.e., EcFuAc, IuRuUc), established around adolescence, and the Contact Profile (i.e., EccFucAcc, IucRuuUcu), which forms in early adulthood.

There are eight Primitive Profiles in the PAS: ERA, ERU, EFA, EFU, IRA, IRU, IFA, IFU.  At the Basic level, there are 64 possible profiles, and at the Contact level, there are thousands of possible profiles.  For more information, refer to A Brief Explanation of the Personality Assessment System.

The following cases, used with permission of the authors of Personality and Ability: The Personality Assessment System*, provide illustrations of PAS-based interpretations.

Case #1

This woman was tested as a research subject.  She was married to a law student and was working as a secretary/clerk in a mental health agency, waiting for him to graduate, when she intended to seek employment as a social worker.  She worked easily with the clientele and the staff, but did not socialize with the staff after work. Her supervisor observed that she was a good worker and that she talked a lot.

Female, age 20, bachelor’s degree in social work.

WAIS Scores

D     A    I     BD     S     C     PA     PC     OA     DS
11   15 15     11     16   17     15     12        9       13

NL = 15

Formula 15(EccFucAcc)M  i*fu*  i/r’a

EFA

This pattern is a common one in the standardization sample for females, and it is usually a productive adjustment.

Because she is externally aware and involving, and aware of relationships among things and people in her environment, and responsive to people, the EFA child should be very attractive to adults and unless there is pressure to assume responsibility, will run the risk of being “spoiled”.
Other people will want to take care of such a psychologically attractive child.  It is easier for a girl with this pattern than a boy child because it is close to the American stereotype of what a girl should be.  Is she succeeds in having people take care of her and do things for her, adolescence may be traumatic, with its demands for increasing independence.

EcFuAc    i*fa

The Ec indicates development of ideational discipline, a control over external involvement and a capacity for responsibility.  Her behavior repertoire is expanded to include both I and E activities, but habitually will be more I.  She has retained F at the basic level exploiting the capacity to perceive relationships.  Usually considerable insight is developed, including the placement of self in relation to others.  She will respect procedures and protocol if she can understand the reasons for them.  She will have a history of learning to live with confusion in new situations and a potential problem is task follow-through.  She has controlled her ability to respond to others, but remains attractive to them.  She will use this skill to avoid close involvements with others because of the Ec.

EccFucAcc      i/r’a

As an Ecc she has learned to discipline the primitive distractibility of an E and has developed intellectual skills.  Her orientation is essentially passive and intellectual.  However, there will still be a need for activity and it will likely be directed into mental activity.  The Fuc has exploited the primitive F ability to see and work with relationships.  There is a potential for originality by seeing relationships that others do not.  The awareness of relationships extends to placement of self in relation to others and insight into others’ social behavior.  Since she is an Ecc this F ability will probably be used to avoid overinvolvement with others in order to maintain the internal direction of activity.  Fuc’s often have trouble with task follow-through.  They also are resistive to external control and direction if they do not understand the reasons for it.  As an Acc she has rejected personal responsiveness as a way of achievement.  Compensation in this dimension mitigates the tendency of the Fuc to leave things incomplete.  She will still be attractive to others and will have to defend against overinvolvement with others.  There is some degree of social anxiety, usually well masked in the primitive A, unless there is a social reason for showing it.

In addition to the tension which always accompanies compensation, this adjustment has the additional problem of the effort necessary to control social and interpersonal relations.   They are attractive to others, but need to defend against overinvolvement to maintain their internal and accomplishment oriented direction.  They tend to be idealistic and responsible, but want to avoid being emotional and personal.  NL is important because at higher NL’s they can use rationality and intellectual activities to maintain their sense of place.  At lower NL’s they may adopt idiosyncratic rituals as a method of self-control.

As a social worker she would be good at those administrative procedures she could understand and use.  She might be creatively resistant to those she did not see as connected to her responsibilities.  Psychotherapist would not be a good choice, because the close emotional relationships of therapist and client would threaten her sense of place in the world.

Case # 2

This 45-year old, male with 7 years of education, was tested in an outpatient treatment program for alcoholics.

WAIS Scores

D     A     I     BD     S     C     PA     PC     OA     DS     V
11   3     10     7       8     9      9         9       11        9     10

NL = 8.9

Formula      8.9(IucFccAuu)M      ir*a e’r/a

For this one we quote from interpretation written by Gittinger (1964, p.272)

“The ir*a(IuFcAu) individual is, then, an actively autistic or schizoid person (because he is i), who is highly self-centered or narcissistic, but yet retains some social versatility (a). In general, he tends to be a succor dependent person who exploits social relationships in order to further his own highly personal and individual interests”.

“There are many similarities between the ir*a and the basic ira, but the former is much more sensitive, autosensual, and diverse. The Basic ira tends to be imitative and perseverating in his autosensuality while the ir*a, since he is much more fascinated with his own sensuality and the subtleties of his autism and fantasy, tends to be more inventive and experimental. Bizarreness is quite common in this group since his autistic inventions have a completely individual quality that have no meaning of except to himself. In spite of his social adaptability or versatility  the ir* a live in a personal world that has meaning (or reality) for him alone”.

“In essence, their ir*a is an ambulatory (socialized) schizoid who seems truly incapable of making reciprocal emotional involvements with others and who, at best, will make only highly superficial attempts to assume responsibility. Drug additions of all types, an fetishes of all descriptions, will occur in this group. Because of his lack of perseveration (or ritualization of ideas) neurotic adjustments of a schizoid nature are more common than clear-cut schizophrenic illness.

“[The surface adjustment] is the most superficially intact and one of the common ir*a adjustments. He is an apparently alert individual who makes short term social relationships. However, under even mild stress, this type of individual will abandon a relationship and either withdrawl into fantasy or make another superficial relationship. . . Drug addiction is common and experimentation with drugs is unusually common. This is one of few types that get a real ‘kick’ out of the variety of experiences that are possible from psychogenic materials. Such people will try anything from sterno to mescaline, not out of desperation, but for variety and subtlety. Apathy and indifference. . . are characteristics. . . On the whole, this adjustment is, socially, very unproductive”.

Case #3

Male, age 21, a junior in college with a 2.1 grade average and a tentative major in humanities.  Referred for evaluation of a possible learning disability.

WAIS-R Scores

D     A    I      BD      S     C      PA     PC     OA     DS     V
9      9   11     14       9    12      11      12       16       9      10

NL = 11.5 Q1 = 0 Q2 = +1

VIQ = 101 PIQ = 117 FSIQ = 107

Formula 11.5(EucRucAuu)L      era i’ra

Primitive ERA

Primitive E’s are attracted to and distracted by external stimuli. This distractibility leads them to physically active and to become involved with the external world. The Primitive R is perseverative, able to learn specific procedures, often by rote. The Primitive A is responsive to people and their requirements. Their need for the external world, rote learning ability and people contact leads them to learn language early, but without adult insistence they may perservate at an early level of learning. They will usually learn physical developmental tasks easily, especially when adults specify what they are to learn. ERA is one of the two most common patterns in attention deficit disorders.

Basic EuRuAu     Era

The formula says that the little compensation has taken place so we should have an adult version of the child’s ERA behavior plus learned content. A and S are close to the threshold. There should be some learning to discipline external distractibility and some attention to overall perception, or relationships. He should be interpersonally responsive and generally make a good impression. There is a need to be physically active and often such skills are used in athletics.

The complete profile is very rare in college student samples, but relatively common in the WAIS standardization sample. The lack of compensation on the E and R suggest difficulty with distractibility and ideational discipline plus difficulty in perceiving relations among ideas. This would be the kind of student who constantly needs to be told what to learn. He might obtain his information in lower division courses by using his Au skills, but more advanced courses make more demand on the skills he lacks. His overall IQ is on the low side for most college students. He would probably run into trouble reading complex material because he cannot hold enough in working memory without being distracted by subsequent material. His Q2 score is higher than expected for major in  humanities. When someone with this profile does appear in college, he might survive in early courses by using Ru skills of going over material often and memorizing enough to get passing grades.

He should be comfortably and habitually socialized. The high information suggests that there is some awareness of his inability to perform mental tasks efficiently and some attention to such functioning but there are probably feelings of intellectual inferiority. The Euc-Auu raises expectations in any area of endeavor in friends and relatives. The Euc awareness of the tendency to get over involved with people usually leads to some defensiveness against involvement, often by developing physical skills, but also sometimes by getting in routine intellective activities.

He might benefit from the usual study recommendations of distraction free environment and a strict routine for studying. However, he might have discovered this on his own and already be using such techniques.

The record for this case includes problems with reading where he has to go over passages several times to get meaning, which causes time problems on tests. He has been willing to spend the time on studying. He has good study habits. He has participated in high school sports and calls himself semi-athletic. He failed the first math course beyond the common university requirement. He was called personable by the interviewer and has used these skills in part time jobs, such as camp counselor.
 

* Krauskopf, C.J., & Saunders, D.R., (1994).  Personality and Ability: The Personality Assessment System. Maryland: University Press of America, Inc.

 

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