The NFL Uses Test Devised by Psychology Faculty

Faculty members in Industrial/Organization (IO) Psychology experienced remarkable success and recognition for their work over the past five years. Most recently, several members of the core doctoral faculty in IO Psychology are receiving extensive media coverage for their work on intelligent test development, specifically for testing applied by the National Football League (NFL).

Harold Goldstein and Charles Scherbaum, both associate professors based at Baruch College and both experts in IO psychology, have been researching intelligence tests with colleague Ken Yusko at Marymount College. Many existing intelligence tests, while predicting job and academic performance, can show score differences between race groups. Through many years of research, Goldstein and Scherbaum et al. have developed intelligence tests that predict job and academic performance, while showing smaller score differences between different race groups.

The NFL’s new player assessment has incorporated many principles of their research. NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche wrote about this development on February 17 in “New combine test will be administered similarly to Wonderlic.” The story was picked up by many media outlets, including Johnette Howard of in “NFL Draft 2.0: There is a new test that hopes to lessen the guesswork of NFL player drafting”; Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports in “Watch out Wonderlic, there’s a new combine test in town”; and Judy Battista of the New York Times in “N.F.L. Tries New Method for Testing Mental Agility.”

This is a critically important area of work and has wide application outside of the football arena including employee selection and development in private sector and governmental organization.  Their research was recognized with the 2011 M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

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