How I would respond to the prompt today (as promised in Example 1 that I posted last week):
The area of psychology that interests me most is psychometrics (testing and measurement), followed by personality and clinical psychology. Individual differences underlie all three of these areas. If there was no variation in behavior, there would be no reason to study psychology! I am most interested in applied testing and measurement. I have worked on studies assessing the psychometric properties of alcohol abuse and dependence scales for men and women (and men vs. women), psychopathy scales,and ability tests. My most recent work has been on determining the dimensionality of items and tests. In testing, it would be more efficient (and more realistic) to measure more than one ability at a time with an item or test, but many popular psychometric techniques assume primarily single dimension (or unidimensional) items and/or tests.
My interest in psychometrics began at an early age. I was a very good math student and wondering why classmates struggled with math or experienced great anxiety over math tests. This lead me to wonder why differences in ability exist and how one could best measure these differences. I am still fascinated by the constructs of math and test anxiety. Although my siblings and I all are good at math, our mother experiences great anxiety over the simplest of math problems! From having students discuss math anxiety in previous classes, it sounds like the causes are primarily situational (e.g., having a bad teacher or bad experience with math). This video seems to agree:
I would love to do research on math and test anxiety and am filing that away for a later time!
One thing that has surprised me most about this class is that even though it has been a long time since I've taken intro psych, the core concepts and definitions are the same. I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with the overall field of psychology and getting out of my specialized psychometric bubble!