Matilda Wren

An opinion about human interaction, support of indie publishing and a love of a Home County

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Are You Intelligent and Sane Enough?

When I begun looking for my ‘dream job’ after graduating from university I was suddenly thrust into a whirlwind of Intelligence and Personality tests that assessed my ‘capabilities’ of performing the numerous roles that I applied for before I could even get an interview.

Officially these psychometric evaluations are a key component in the approach of exploring individual differences. Both of these create a conflict-ridden debate as to the effectiveness of what the test is measuring.

In my case I became only too aware that I am not very good when it comes to having to answer which comes next in a series of patterns! I also quickly questioned how determining which came next in a series of what looked to me like a random set of patterns showed my prospective employer that I was hard working, able to meet deadlines, able to produce high quality reports and possess excellent communications skills. (Ok I am selling myself a little high, but you get the gist of what I mean!)

Whilst I detest having to take any kind of test or exam, and would love to argue that Intelligence tests are not a logical and plausible predictor of the future. There is too much research that indicates quite the opposite and I also begrudgingly have to agree that they seek out potential ideal candidates for some specific jobs such as a mathematician or a physicist or maybe an astronaut for NASSA, but I have to dispute the logic behind a Personality test.

Personality tests are frequently quite deficient in predicting your behaviour, mainly due to the indirect assessment methods that are employed in a personality questionnaire. Individuals have the ability to fabricate their responses on a questionnaire and can also have incorrect self-perceptions. Rosse, Stecher, Miller & Levin This in turn means that the validity of the data that is collected on someone is dubious and problematic.

A serial killer isn’t going to tell you he is a serial killer; is he? No! He is going to form a favourable impression due to wanting that job.

Intelligence tests are a direct measure of your behaviour. There is only one correct answer on an intelligence questionnaire and you either have that particular knowledge or you do not. Responses cannot be falsified.

After a little research I have found that there is some evidence Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham that shows IQ tests are predisposed by performance and performance is predisposed by personality traits, such as Neuroticism, Extraversion and Openness Ackerman and Heggestad which in turn does indicate a slight link between the two and that they are measuring the same thing. Ultimately, our behaviour.

Not so good for my theory that they are unnecessary!