Statistics and dance!

January 14, 2014

Never quite got the hang of some of those pesky statistical concepts? Help is at hand. There are a series of videos that explain what you need to know… through dance. Here’s one explaining sampling and standard error. Have a look:

Blogs and personality

August 29, 2013

Let’s try a little experiment! If you can spare an extremely small amount of time, please answer the survey question below.

Don’t know your Type? Click on the link for a free (and completely painless) questionnaire that will provide the information you require.


The Big Two

April 2, 2012

I guess you’ve all heard of the ‘Big Five’ personality factors, or the five fundamental factors that help to describe most observable individual differences – namely, Openness (to experience), Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. You probably also know that when they are combined in various ways they help to frame all manner of other things like emotion and motivation. I suspect you also have an idea about what happens when you try to break them down into smaller units. For example, that Extraversion is composed of facets that include warmth, gregariousness and excitement-seeking. And that there’s a debate about whether, when you look at all five factors, you end up with 16 ‘bits’, or 30, or 32… But have you ever thought about what happens if you go the other way? What, if I can put it like this, happens before the Big Five?

The Big Two

It turns out there are two higher-order factors. The first brings together Emotional Stability (the opposite of Neuroticism), Agreeableness and Conscientiousness; the second Extraversion and Openness. These new groupings are called Stability and Plasticity, respectively. So what? Well, these two meta-traits capture the two basic human requirements. These are the need to maintain a stable social structure in order to get things done, and what is in some ways the flip-side, the need to be able to cope with change and the unknown (and learn from it). This is quite an elegant distinction as at various times either stability or plasticity is likely to confer a competitive advantage. It’s also useful because it ties in nicely with the action of the neurotransmitters Serotonin (stability and the generation of feelings of ‘well-being’) and Dopamine (plasticity and reward-driven learning).

From a business perspective the tension between maintaining a dependable social structure in order to ensure steady progress and being able to cope with unpredictable change also has a familiar resonance.

More information from Colin DeYoung’s website.

A dating agency for job hunters!

February 20, 2012

Looking for a job on the web is set to get more like using a dating site as reliable psychometrics are used to sift candidates… Keep an eye on this stuff as it’s a growing trend! And my thanks to Angus McDonald for drawing my intention to this article:

In defense of personality measurement

November 5, 2011

BTW if you’re ever asked to defend the use of personality questionnaires, this article by Robert Hogan is a good place to start:

Psychometrics & return on investment

September 6, 2011

It’s self-evident that selecting people who are better at doing a job, whatever that job is, will have an effect on your bottom line. There’s also plenty of research that supports the idea that psychometric tests and questionnaires, amongst other assessment techniques, can give a significant boost to your ability to spot winners. But, how can you show the benefits in terms of hard cash and/or reduced staff turn-over?

A number of psychometric test publishers and occupational psychology firms have started to produce Return on Investment (ROI) calculators. These can be used to estimate the financial gains achieved by increasing the quality of hires, and also provide a guide to the likely reduction in staff turnover. If you want to know how they work, or would like to try putting your own figures through, try one of these:

You’ll also find a very readable and insightful article from Talent Q here: Introduction to Measuring the ROI of Assessment.

Free psychometric tests & questionnaires

August 22, 2011

In my mission to try to steer people towards useful psychometric practice material, I now add interesting thoughts and snippets to this Facebook page:

This provides links to properly stimulating stuff (e.g. tests & questionnaires that can be used to prepare for selection events), amusing free surveys (e.g. do you have a male or female brain?), interesting articles (e.g. do entrepreneurs have lucky personalities?), and even test publishers who will pay you to try their latest products!

Now and again I also add links to the growing number of psychometric apps for smart phones, Facebook and the like. For instance, did you know that more than three million people have used the free (Big Five) myPersonality app at:

Facebook really is changing the ‘face’ of psychological research…


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