Since the early days, when the NPA manuscript was copyrighted (1982) under a pseudonym, we have always been apprehensive about including intelligence, or mental retardation, in the NPA model. We barely mentioned intelligence in our Book (1985), only to say that we considered that most genes influencing intelligence are separate from the NPA genes, but that the NPA traits certainly play a role. In the USA, the unfortunate fact remains that study of intelligence is verboten, and no sane researcher would risk his or her career by publishing anything on the subject. So, we thought that to include both the genetics of personality and intelligence together would have been doubly inviting mindless attacks from the self-proclaimed defenders of the "blank slate" or tabula rasa theory of human behavior, as well as from other defenders of conventional morality.
But we can avoid any controversy by not making any pronouncements ourselves, but rather by asking the NPA personality test ("Test") what predictions she would make for the case of mental retardation (MR). The NPA test was devised without any thought of intelligence, so Test assures us that any results to be obtained would be devoid of any potential bias, and would simply be the output of a mathematical model.
Test gives us the following reasoning. The NPA test involves the answering of 50 questions with a numerical integer (5 choices, ranging fro 0 to 4). She assumes it to be axiomatic that an individual with severe mental retardation would not be able to interpret the questions in the usual manner, and if forced to make a choice, would answer by giving a random response to each test question.
Now, Test has already thoroughly investigated the issue of randomly answering the test questions, in relation to the R score:
In particular, Test found that answering the test questions with random responses almost always gave the result of NA− type. Thus, she tells us right away that "in severe mental retardation, whatever the cause, the MR individual will give NPA test results of "NA− type with low R score". She stresses that this is not an opinion, but just a straightforward fact.
To investigate how a less severely MR subject would answer the test, Test suggests that a level of partial randomness be superimposed on the answers of the standard test for each NPA category, and the test rerun many times with different sets of random numbers. She says that "this will simulate how subjects of various NPA types with less severe MR would answer the test questions".
So, this is what we did. Superimposing a partial level of randomness on the test questions can be done in a variety of ways. We chose the simple way of averaging each test answer of a standard test with a random number (0 to 4), on the assumption that this would simulate an individual with moderately severe MR. The computer did 50 runs for each of the main categories of NPA type: N, NP, NA, NPA, PA, A, NPA− and NA−. Each "run" consisted of a set of test answers that had been partially randomized as mentioned above.
An assumption of the simulation is that the subject has the same degree of uncertainty in answering all of the questions, while in real life one would expect that a subject with moderately severe MR would answer the various questions with differing degrees of success.
The results are shown in the Table below. For example, for the PA type, the simulated result was the expected PA type in 35 runs. In the remaining 15 runs, 13 runs gave in addition the result of possible NA type, and 2 runs gave possible A type. (In some of the simulations, up to 3 possible NPA types resulted).
So here is what Test tells us for the simulated moderately severe MR subjects of various NPA types:
N type: The test results will frequently be "also, possible NA type".
NP type: The test results will sometimes be "also, possible N or NA type".
NA type: The test results will very infrequently be "also, possible N type".
NPA type: The test results will most frequently give "also, possible NA type", less frequently "also, possible N type", and only rarely "also, possible PA type".
PA type: The test results will sometimes be "also, possible NA type", less frequently "also, possible A type".
A type: The test results will almost always be "also, possible NA type".
NPA− type: The test results will frequently be "also, possible NA− type", and less frequently "also, possible N or N- type".
NA− type: The test results will frequently be "also, possible N or N− type".
We note that:
* In general, the effect of the MR simulation is a slide toward non-perfectionism, as can be seen in the results for the NP, PA, NPA and NPA− types. Of special interest is the NPA+ type, where the results were frequently "possible NA type". In no simulation was there a tendency toward P trait in the N, NA, A and NA− types.
* The type least likely to be influenced by the MR simulation was the NA type. In only 3 out of 50 runs was the test result modified to "also, possible N type".
* For the dominant types having the A trait (A, NA, PA, NPA) the simulated runs did not result in a significantly increased S score (not >40) that would indicate possible A− trait.
I thanked Test for her work and was impressed that she did it all in a "matter of fact" way without undue commentary. But I had to ask her, "Does this really mean that individuals with MR will actually behave like the alternative NPA types generated in the simulations? Does this really mean that an NPA+ type with mental retardation will often behave like an NA type...??" She paused for a moment, and with a trace of a somewhat defensive inscrutable smile that I will remember to the end of my days, she replied, "And why not?"
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