U of T creates fake proof personality test

October 07, 2008

TORONTO, ON. - Psychologists from the University of Toronto have developed a personality inventory that can predict who will excel in academic and creative domains, even when respondents are trying hard to fake their answers.

Study authors note that personality questionnaires have a long history of predicting real-world performance, but have been plagued by the problem of biased responding. "It's very common for people to try and make themselves look better than they actually are on these questionnaires, especially if they know they are being evaluated," said Jordan B. Peterson, psychology professor at the University of Toronto and co-author of the paper. "This sort of faking can distort the predictive validity of these tests, with significant negative economic consequences. We wanted to develop a measure that could predict real-world performance even in the absence of completely honest responding."

The research findings demonstrate that traditional personality inventories fail to predict performance outcomes when respondents have strong incentive to fake their scores. The new measure, by contrast, retained its ability to predict success, even when respondents were consciously trying to make themselves look good.

"Personality remains an important factor in predicting performance," said Jacob Hirsh, lead author of the paper and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. "Trait conscientiousness has consistently emerged as a major predictor of academic success and workplace performance, while trait openness is a good predictor of creative achievement."

Using formulas derived by Frank Schmidt (Iowa U) and John Hunter of (Michigan State), the studies' authors were able to estimate the potential productivity gain associated with using the new measure in a workplace setting. "Because people differ widely in their individual abilities," notes Hirsh, "even a small degree of accuracy in testing can produce significant economic gains." In the present study, the tests were accurate beyond that small degree. In fact, Schmidt and Hunter's formulas indicate that the use of the bias-resistant test over currently available personality assessment methods could result in a productivity gain of 23 per cent per hired employee, when response faking is an issue ($17,000/year per $75,000 of salary). "Potential gains of this magnitude should not be ignored," said Hirsh. "It is very important that the right people be chosen for any competitive position. This questionnaire is a step in the right direction."
-end-
The study findings are published in the October edition of the Journal of Research in Personality.

For more information, please contact:
Jordan B. Peterson
Professor
Department of Psychology
Office: 416 978 7619
jordanbpeterson@yahoo.com

University of Toronto

Related Paper Articles from Brightsurf:

Paper recycling must be powered by renewables to save climate
The study, published in Nature Sustainability, found that greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 2050 if we recycled more paper, as current methods rely on fossil fuels and electricity from the grid.

Your paper notebook could become your next tablet
Purdue engineers developed a simple printing process that renders any paper or cardboard packaging into a keyboard, keypad or other easy-to-use human-machine interfaces.

'A litmus paper for CO2:' Scientists develop paper-based sensors for carbon dioxide
A new sensor for detecting carbon dioxide can be manufactured on a simple piece of paper, according to a new study by University of Alberta physicists.

Researchers grow cells in 'paper organs'
Long before scientists test new medicines in animals or people, they study the effects of the substances on cells growing in Petri dishes.

Moneyball advantage peters out once everyone's doing it: Rotman paper
Sixteen years after author Michael Lewis wrote the book Moneyball, every Major League Baseball (MLB) team uses the technique.

New paper on the phylogeny of the Brassicaceae
A recent study from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, published in the New Phytologist, helps resolve these issues by reporting new insights into the relationships among Brassicaceae species

Write with heat, cool and then repeat with rewritable paper
Even in this digital age, paper is still everywhere. Often, printed materials get used once and are then discarded, creating waste and potentially pollution.

A paper battery powered by bacteria
In remote areas of the world, everyday items like electrical outlets and batteries are luxuries.

Scientists create biodegradable, paper-based biobatteries
The batteries of the future may be made out of paper.

Paper: Surprise can be an agent of social change
Surprising someone -- whether it's by a joke or via a gasp-inducing plot twist -- can be a memorable experience, but a less heralded effect is that it can provide an avenue to influence people, said Jeffrey Loewenstein, a professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business at Illinois.

Read More: Paper News and Paper Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.