Interpretation Guidelines for Truthought Thinking Error Survey

by Dr. Kay Baker


The Truthought Thinking Error Survey was developed in 2010 in order to determine the extent to which participants engaged in Truthought programming use thinking errors as described in the Truthought program.  Truthought is designed to introduce the concept of thinking errors and to help individuals reduce their use of these errors in an effort to reduce their detrimental life choices.

The Survey is a 75 item “test.”  This survey will help us learn what thinking barriers you use most frequently.  You will be presented with statements about your thinking and behavior and you will be asked to select one of 5 responses:  Never,  Seldom, Occasionally, Frequently, or Always.  Your responses should represent whether you believe the statement reflects how you think or act.  There are no right or wrong answers.  This survey test is only one component of how the Truthought program helps individuals explore thinking and how it affects behavior.

Interpretation of Results for Test Taker


As you look at the results of your Thinking Error Survey you will see a list of 9 numerical scores ranging from 8 to 40.  Each score indicates how frequently you engage in that particular kind of thinking. The higher the score, the more frequently you engage in that thinking. The thinking errors are:

  • Closed Thinking
  • Victim Role
  • I’m OK Attitude
  • Reckless Attitude
  • Instant Gratification
  • Fear of Losing Face
  • Power and Control
  • Possessive attitude
  • Uniqueness

You will be learning more about the thinking errors in Truthought class, group discussions and Truthought workbook exercises.

These survey results will give you some indication of which thinking errors may be causing you the most problems in your life.  Truthought curriculum will help you discover more about your thinking  and will allow you to make your own choices so that you can live a more enlightened and less chaotic lifestyle.

Information for Test Givers:
The Truthought Thinking Error Survey can be administered as either a pre-post-test where you administer it prior to any instruction taking place and again at the completion of the instructional program, or as a longitudinal test.  Initial results indicate that the survey will reflect changes in thinking error understanding when used as a pre and post-test instrument.

The Truthought Thinking Error Survey can also be used in longitudinal testing when you have a situation in which three or more opportunities for testing are available.  At the development site, Central Texas Treatment Center, we have residents take the test within 5 days of arrival, again before they move to phase 2 of treatment (about 90 days), again before they move to phase 3 of treatment (about 90 additional days) and lastly, right before they discharge (about 60 additional days).  During the test study of the instrument it was common for the second administration of the test to result in a higher score than the initial administration.  This is probably because at first administration the respondent is afraid to let us know who they really are, and they tend to minimize their faults.  At the second administration they are more comfortable with the treatment staff and process, realize that being honest is in their best interest, and they are more familiar with the concepts contained in the test items.  The third administration may be higher or lower and we believe it reflects their genuine level of thinking error use at that time.  The final administration may be lower or higher, and we believe it reflects either their genuine level of thinking error use at that time or it may be a reflection of their tendency to “puff up” right before discharge.  Longitudinal testing gives the tester more information to guide decision making.  The results of this test should not be the only indicator of success or lack of success in a program.  Some offenders get more out of programming than they are willing to express in their behaviors when in the company of program staff.

A Note About The Inconsistency Scale:
Inconsistency A and B scores are to be compared to determine consistency of the responder.  Low numerical differences between A&B indicate consistent thoughtful answers.  High differentials between A&B scores may indicate a reading problem or random selections were given without reading the test statements.  A difference of less than 8 between A&B may indicate the responder is being consistent and giving much thought to their selections.  If the difference between the A & B scores is greater than 10 less attention is being paid to answering consistently, while greater than 20 may require a closer review of the test responses.

A Note About The Infrequency Scale:
A high score on the infrequency scale may indicate that the responder either did not pay attention to the test items or they have a reading problem.  If this score is over 13, a review of the test responses would be advisable.  It is my experience that poor readers score very high and complacent offenders score around 16 or 17 indicating a tendency to select scores near the center of the options.  In either case, the test can be re-administered, or someone may read the test items to the responder, or just bear in mind that the validity of the Infrequency scale for that individual is questionable.