The next 16PF scale for discussion is the Factor "L" scale, which is Vigilance (Vigilant vs. Trusting). What exactly does this scale measure?
High scorers are described as vigilant, meaning they mistrust others' intentions, expect other people to try to take advantage of them, and expect to be misunderstood. High scorers often report difficulty in relaxing their vigilance, even when it might be wise to do so. Very high scores can be related to animosity towards others.
A high score can be the result of life circumstances, as might be found among members of an oppressed minority group. High scorers often report there is a big difference between what people say they're going to do and what they actually do. Further, they report that more than half the people they meet cannot be trusted and that it's important to pay attention to the motives of others. Finally, many high scorers believe if they are open and frank, others will use that information against them.
Low scorers are described as trusting. They expect to get treated fairly. They believe in loyalty, and the good intentions of others. Trust appears to be related to a sense of well-being and satisfactory relationships. As with other scales, low scorers tend to disagree with the statements made by the high scorers. Those with very low scores can be taken advantage of, as they might fail to consider the motives of others.
Factor L is correlated with the Impression Management scale, as Trust is the socially desirable pole. Vigilance contributes to the Anxiety and Independence global factors.
As with all the 16PF scales, major insights come from the interactions among the 16 scales, and not from each scale in isolation.
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