CPI Good Impression (Gi) Scale


The Good Impression Gi scale was designed to measure what people say about themselves when trying to create an extremely favorable impression (Gough, 1987, p. 36).


Following Ruch (1942), test development involved contrast groups. Subjects first took an experimental booklet of items under normal circumstances and then repeated the testing with “good impression” instructions: “Try to give just as favorable an impression of yourself as you would if you were actually applying for an important position, or were trying to create a very favorable impression … “

The items tested included some adopted from Ruch (1942) and others newly written to measure impression management. The 40 best-differentiating items were included on Gough’s (1957) CPI and five were modified for the revised CPI (Gough, 1987). Scores can range from 0 to 40 with scores above 30 suggestive of faking good.


Gough (1987) reported means and standard deviations for a wide variety of samples including 4126 college students (18.5, s.d. = 5.9), 100 nurses (18.6, s.d. = 5.5), and 345 prison inmates (17.9, s.d. = 7.0).


Internal Consistency

Gough (1987) reported alpha coefficients of . 77 for both male and female college students.


Gough (1987) reported test-retest correlations of .68 after 1 year for both male and female high school students.



A total of 400 CPI respondents were rated by their spouses using Q-sorts. The four Q-sort items showing the largest positive correlations with respondents’ Gi scores were: (1) A conscientious and serious-minded person, (2) Well-organized, capable, patient, and in­dustrious; values achievement, (3) Gentle, considerate, and tactful in dealing with others, and (4) Gets along well with others; able to “fit in” easily in most situations. In addition, 793 respondents were rated on Q-sorts by trained assessors. The four highest correlating items were (I) ls fastidious, (2) Favors conservative values in a variety of areas, (3) ls a genuinely dependable and responsible person, (4) Tends toward overcontrol of needs and impulses; binds tensions excessively; delays gratification unnecessarily. These and other validity data suggest that the high scorer is a highly controlled individual who behaves in a socially conventional manner.


Gough, H. G. (1987). California Psychological Inventory administrator’s guide.  Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.


The substantial validity data on the Gi highlight the dualistic nature of SOR measures. According to people who should know (spouses, peers, interviewers), the high scorer actually is a socially desirable person in being dependable, industrious, and cooperative. However, the raters also see the high scorer as overcontrolled, suggesting an un­ willingness to acknowledge undesirable qualities. This defensiveness is borne out by the fact that to score high on the Gi the respondent had to claim desirable qualities well beyond those validated by the judges (e.g., cultured interests, social skills). Other evi­dence of the high scorer’s tendency to put the best foot forward is that interviewers rated him/her as well groomed, well dressed, and polite.

This dualism in the target construct is handled by giving a substantive interpretation to scores up to the cutoff point of 30, after which respondents are assumed to be faking good (Lanning, 1989).

The qualities measured by a scale developed through role-playing instructions depend wholly on the instructions given to the experimental group. As the reader may see above, the instructions used to select Gi items mentioned the job interview, thereby targeting the conventional, dependable, industrious, and cooperative types. This persona is, of course, only one of many possible good impressions.

CPI Gi Scale

Sample Items

  1. I always follow the rule: business before pleasure. (T) TRUE FALSE
  2. I have never deliberately told a (F)
  3. I enjoy hearing lectures on world (T)

Complete Scale

The CPI booklet numbers for the items keyed “True” are 14, l 03, 127, 133, 140, 165, 195, 222, 254. The items keyed “False” are l 0, 30, 34, 38, 42, 44, 48, 56, 66, 70, 78, Bl, 91, 101, 102, 109, 120, 150, 153, 159, 170, 178, 203,207,231,238,248,262,268,273,289,293.