Fresh Perspectives on Psychometrics & Psychology

Musings on the world of Psychometrics and Occupational Psychology

Politics with a Big P – The Psychological (& Twitter) Profile of a Politician

On May 8th 2015, David Cameron secured his place in Conservative party hall of fame by leading the first majority Tory government for decades. It was by all accounts, an unprecedented and historic result that left politicians eating their hats, journalists red-faced with wildly inaccurate projections and Labour evicted from Scotland. Fundamentally though, it all came down to a battle of personalities. More>


Pleasure now, pain later – the lure of the metaphorical marshmallow

What compels someone to make the decision to forgo a more prosperous future, for an instant reward? Pleasure now, and in many cases pain later. What drives an individual to abstain, resist or control themselves today in order to work towards a desired goal? Pain now, pleasure later. More>

Inside the Psyche of a Negotiator - Seeing the Forest for the Trees

What is the Psychology of an effective negotiator? How does our cognition impact the success of negotiation? And crucially, if negotiation magnifies human interaction, how does the nature of both parties' internal state impact this dynamic?


Venturing beyond bounded rationality - what can intuition give us and should it be cultivated?

Our guest written blog series continues this month with a piece from Nikhita Dost, a Psychologist and Coach, who explores the importance of Intuition in decision making within organisations.

Whether we we like it or not, intuition plays a role in our personal and business decisions. While early theories of decision making focused on rationality as the main driving force, we understand now that this is not really the case. It is for this reason that intuition has been gaining attention from both Psychologists and managers/leaders within organisations.


Defining, Diagnosing and Predicting a Safety Culture

In the first of our guest written blog posts, Aaron Percival, a Business Psychologist working in the energy and manufacturing industry explores the importance and challenges of measuring and predicting safety culture.

Chernobyl. Piper Alpha. BP Oil Disaster. These names may spark memories of news images relating to horrendous scenes of destruction, loss of life and vast environmental damage. Along with the shared element of carnage, the common thread throughout the post incident investigations was the focus on the contribution that Safety Culture (or lack thereof) played.


Moral Intelligence - Does it Belong in the Boardroom?

Embracing the stubborn idealist within me, I've always disagreed with people when they've told me that the good guys always come last. However, this sentiment has frequently been met with murmurs of naivety, contending against lasting personal experiences of ‘snakes in suits' and countless examples of ruthless power figures. The case for the good guys was and still is at times, hard to make. However, following economic/political landscape shifting events such as the 2008 financial crash, the issue of morals and integrity have very much been catapulted into the mainstream.


Measuring Motivation: Understanding What Makes Us... Mad, Sad & Glad

Whilst we have reached the academic maturity of meta-analyses and calls for integrated models of Motivation (more on this later), the practical application of Motivation theory is relatively infantile, compared to areas such as Personality theory. Since this was a particularly fascinating area for me, and still is - my curiosity as to why this is the case is a question to which an answer has largely evaded me.


Is There an Optimal Personality? The Best of Both Ends of the Personality Spectrum

Personality theory has a long and established history. Perhaps we find ourselves on the brink of a major disruption on that timeline. When individuals look back on this period, will it be described as the era of the Ambivert? That is, the movement which saw the dismantling of the alleged western bias for extraversion and the establishment of a generally more balanced outlook on the personality-performance relationship.


57, 33, 56 - The Keys to Retaining Your Graduate Gen Y Talent

Who'd be a child of the Y Generation? Knowing nothing else in the working world than recession and austerity, competition against ever-increasingly educated peers & unable to shake the stereotype of being lazy, entitled and unrealistic. On the other hand, they have been the children of the digital revolution, masters of the social media platform and accustomed to vast and unparalleled amounts of information at a simple click of a button away. This highly educated, tech-savvy, ambitious group of 20 to 30 something's are indeed the future of management. The question is; how do organisations make the most of their potential and build them into their leadership pipeline? They have to first find a way of retaining them for longer than 2 years.


Management & Leadership Training - The Age Old Problem of Transfer

The simple fact is that management and leadership training is an absolutely huge industry, with billions being spent each and every year on the pursuit of emotionally intelligent, strategically minded and of course exceptionally performing managers and leaders of organisations. However, how do we know that this endeavour is worth the investment of time, effort and resources?


A Narcissist, a Psychopath and a Machiavellian Walk into a Bar...

The bartender asks, ‘who has the darkest personality out of you three?' The Narcissist says ‘me', the Psychopath says, ‘I don't care' and the Mach says ‘it's whoever I want it to be'. All embarrassing jokes aside, the Dark Triad of Personality rather ominously named, is an area of Psychological research which is attracting significant attention. It is however only a young field, in fact it was just over a decade ago that Paulhus and Williams (2002) coined the term ‘Dark Triad'.


Game of Firms: Why Organisational Political Skills May Be a Good Thing

Appraisals are coming. And employee behavior at this time can resemble the chess-like, strategic politicking of that in Westeros (my last Game of Thrones reference, I promise). The fact is Organisational politics do exist. Further, it's an area of Organisational Psychology that has seen a huge increase in interest and popularity over the last 30 years. However further investigation into what ‘Political Skills' consist of and how they manifest, have led researchers to suggest that they are actually beneficial for organisational life in a myriad of ways.


Personality Neuroscience: Unlocking The Mystery Of The Brain To Understand The Whole Person

This month, President Obama unveiled plans to fund a $100 million project to discover how different regions of the brain connect and result in the many complex functions that we as human beings are capable of. The BRAIN initiative, similar in its audacious attempt to push the boundaries of human knowledge as the Human Genome project, will endeavour to discover more about the most complex structure in the universe.


The Power of Control: Secret Weapon of The Super Villain and The Manager

Just as the super villain has the power to take over the world when they control the masses, the manager has the power to reinvigorate, empower and motivate their team, when they hand them back control of their jobs. The power of control - equally effective, whether it's being used for bad or the greater good.


What You Gave Your Partner for Valentine's Day: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence Every Day

A grand romantic gesture or an embarrassing cliché? Spending quality time together or an unimpressive, cheap night in? We make interpretations like this every single day. It just so happens that Valentine's Day brings with it, a sense of romance and love. Love or loathe this hallmark holiday, it provides a great example of one of the core aspects of emotional intelligence.


The Big 1: Can One Factor Truly Encompass The Complexities of Human Personality?

Personality theory has made huge strides since the beginning of the lexical movement, pioneered by Cattell in the 1940's. Through iterative research, the Big Five emerged from the storm of factor analyses, and has ever since been atop of the personality ladder. However a number of decades ago, research suggesting a higher order dimension of personality - a global factor of personality (GFP) analogous to the ‘g' which represents human intelligence emerged. This school of thought has gained ground of late, as was discussed at a symposium at the BPS DOP Conference earlier this month.


Personal Resources vs. External Challenges: The State of Well-Being in Times of Financial Crisis.

Is happiness a journey or a destination? Perhaps it's actually both. Or at least, this is what brand new research on well-being suggests. Such research found that processes (the road to well-being) and outcomes (the subjective feeling of well being) are in fact clearly distinct and influenced by our own personal predispositions. But understanding the ‘key' to our well-being can be complex. For example, is it our inherent personal resources that ultimately dictate our experience of subjective bliss? Or, do the external circumstances that we find ourselves in also play a significant part?


Does Personality Improve Performance? The Promise of Conscientiousness and Engagement as a Motivational Resource.

There is no doubting that we face a difficult few years of stagnation off the back of the greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. But the question here is, how can organisations continue to perform with limited resources and investment? The answer, for me at least, comes down to capitalising on the current resources that organisations have. In particular, the most fundamental resource of any organisation - it's people.


The Wonderfully Plastic Brain: Integrating Disciplines of Psychology for the Greater Good.

Brain-training - ‘optimising your mental functioning...' Is this a reality or just a new self-development craze, amongst the new wave of neuroscience obsessed research and practice? Coming in various forms from online exercises, games on popular consoles and even practitioner based techniques; it has the aim of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of our mental or cognitive functioning. But behind all the excitement, is there any basis for the notion that we can actively improve our performance in this fashion?


Creating Organisational Cultures That Work in the 21st Century: A Myth?

August's blog discusses the concept of organisational culture and the importance of it, relating back to my MSc dissertation which investigated the relationship between culture and organisational effectiveness. I also take a look at our guest speakers for September's Psychometrics Forum event on organisational culture, Professor Philippe Rosinski and Dr. Mark Batey.


From the NEO PI-R, to the MBTI to Psychoanalysis - The many and varying faces of human personality.

This month's blog features a discussion of my final year undergraduate dissertation which was a systematic review of the relationship between the NEO and MBTI. It is also the first blog to have an interactive element, so please feel free to comment and give feedback. I hope it's an enjoyable read.


Bridging the natural gap: Ensuring that Theory and Practice go hand-in-hand.

Theory and practice, the Yin and Yang of Occupational Psychology, are delicately inter-twined, yet seemingly impossible to combine. But is this synthesis of the two distinct wings of Industrial, Work and Organisational (IWO) Psychology what we necessarily want?


Resilience: Not just bouncing back from what life has to throw at you, but thriving because of it.

What is the first thought that comes to our minds when we hear the word ‘resilience'? Is it bouncing back from life's challenges? Is it never quitting? Is it the difference between sinking and swimming? There are undoubtedly a whole host of clichés like these and more, which encapsulate our understanding of what it is to be resilient.


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