Scientific background of our neuro-assessment games

Psychological and cognitive assessments to predict job performance and cultural fit

The field of psychological and cognitive assessment is expanded and refined continuously. To this day, personality questionnaires and cognitive ability tests have proven to be valuable and are used in a wide variety of settings. Among many others, these tests are applied by employers, e.g. as a tool to assess the cognitive and psychological abilities of job candidates and determine the employee’s potential contribution to the objectives of the company (Hobeanu, 2015). This is based on research, suggesting that psychological and cognitive assessments are shown to be useful for predicting the performance of job applicants (McDonald, 2018). 

In recent decades, conventional personality questionnaires and traditional tests of cognitive ability have been preserved and served as the primary way to provide assessments in various fields. For the specific purpose of predicting job performance, specialized questionnaires and tests, so-called psychometric tests, are utilized to gain insight into the mental processes of candidates and employees (Edenborough, 2007). According to Cronbach (1990), psychometric tests are a means to express psychological and cognitive performance of people in numbers. This allows practitioners to make comparisons and identify differences between individuals (Carver, 1974). The result of such an examination consists of measures of behaviour, observations and self-assessments of test subjects, whereby the evaluations are grounded on known scientific psychological and cognitive theories (Tekofsky, Van Den Herik, Spronck, & Plaat, 2013).

Game-based assessments vs. traditional assessments

According to several studies, participants experience traditional methods as exhausting and frustrating (Lumsden, Edwards, Lawrence, Coyle, & Munafò, 2016). These methods are not engaging in their nature which tempts the participants to show a lack of motivation (Attali, & Arieli-Attali, 2015; Lumsden et al., 2016). Consequently, the negative experience of conventional test methods has a negative impact on data quality (Lumsden et al., 2016). The challenging question now – in order to keep up with modern times – is whether the way in which these traditional assessments are conducted can be adapted and further improved.

To counteract the above-mentioned problems, a more advanced type of assessment has emerged in a wide range of industries in recent years, based on gamification. There are several reasons to use gamification in the personnel selection process.

Firstly, gamified assessment has shown to be more attractive to candidates and consequently more enjoyable to take part in (Armstrong, Landers, & Collmus 2016). Secondly, the games can be tailored to each individual by letting artificial intelligence calculate the examinee’s abilities. Based on this calculation, the game solely presents items that are fitting to the examinee’s abilities and thus makes the assessment and its results more difficult to falsify (Armstrong et al., 2016). This advantage might also hinder a so-called retest effect and consequently increase equal chances for applicants. Furthermore, gamified assessments might inhibit candidates from decoding and identifying favourable results, thereby decreasing chance biases (Armstrong et al., 2016).

Another positive aspect of gamified assessment is the environment and atmosphere it creates by directing the candidate’s attention away from the feeling of being assessed, thus reducing anxiety and contributing to more unconscious behaviours (Mavridis, & Tsiatsos, 2017; Nikolaou et al., 2019).

Lastly, gamified assessments might reduce the aforementioned biases that emerge from the side of the interviewer or Human Resource Specialist during a job interview. Hence, it combines several positive aspects of improvement in comparison to more traditional assessment methods.

Game-based personnel selection procedures can be an efficient instrument for recruitment and selection, as they are based on the integration of game elements into nongame-based activities at the workplace and thus have a more real-life connection (Georgiou et al., 2019). Hence, companies can give job applicants a better candidate-experience during the assessments and, ultimately, an advancement in the prediction of job performance for their benefit (Georgiou et al., 2019). Besides that, according to Georgiou and Nikolaou (2020), companies have the chance to make themselves more attractive to applicants and establish an innovative image as future employers by using advanced gamified assessments.

Equalture’s neuro-assessment games and its validity study

Equalture’s neuro-assessment games are based on decades of neuroscientific research. Neuroscience, also known as Neural Science, is the study on how our nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscience focuses on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions. The branches of modern neuroscience that are used to develop the neuro-assessment games are behavioral neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience. 

To make the games more suitable for work-related assessments, a Bayesian IRT-model in combination with CAT (Computerized Adaptive Testing) is developed and validated in collaboration with the University of Twente. The Validity Study has shown that Equalture’s neuro-assessment games show good to excellent reliability, convergent validity based on the Pearson DAT, are in line with the literature on cognitive neuroscience and are widely applicable for testing cognitive ability and personality. 

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