Since 2012 Matthias Ziegler has been Professor of Psychological Assessment at the Humboldt University in Berlin. After studying psychology at the Philipps University in Marburg he obtained his doctorate in the field of psychological methodology and evaluation at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. After a post-doc phase he was called to be a Junior Professor of Psychological Assessment at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In his research he studies issues of personality, situations and intelligence. He focuses partly on the structures and measurement of these constructs and partly on the interaction between them in the development of learning and performance over an individual’s lifetime. Prof. Ziegler has advised companies on recruitment, staff development and evaluation in various projects. He is the author of more than 80 scientific publications and a member of the editorial board of several international journals.
What was the aim behind development of the test?
The aim in developing the B5NT was to implement the things I had learned from large numbers of test feedback meetings in a useful and scientifically sound way. I have too often found that the personality tests I have used have been rated as insufficiently job-specific and in particular insufficiently situation-specific. So I wanted to develop a job-related test that enables the different ways in which our working environment influences our behavior to be depicted.
What was the greatest challenge in developing your tests?
At the start there was no widespread and empirically tested model of situational perception. In the course of several years of research, we developed such a model – the Situation 5 – empirically. This made it possible to develop a test that not only reflects different situational circumstances in the questions but can also take them into account in the description of the personality profile.
For what target group were the tests developed?
The B5PS is intended for use in personnel recruitment and development, so its target group is working adults.
What are the special features of the test?
The B5PS measures the Big 5 personality dimensions. In addition, these five can be examined in more detail on the basis of 42 facets. The modular assessment option increases the usefulness of the test in recruitment. In addition, measuring the Situation 5 makes it possible to say how people usually perceive work-related situations. This is where what I see as the really unique feature of the B5PS comes in. By combining the five personality dimensions with the five dimensions of situational perception it is possible to draw up an individual profile that shows how the personality is manifested generally in behavior but also how this manifestation varies depending on the situation. For example, we have seen profiles of people whose emotional stability was apparently similar to that of most other people, but in situations of stress this stability increased sharply. These situationally induced variations make it possible to look at the tested person more specifically, especially in connection with talent management and staff development.
How to you see tests developing in the future? What aspects of this are you particularly interested in?
Because of my research focus on deliberate falsification, I think that new impetus may come from new test formats such as pairwise preference models. In addition I foresee completely new possibilities in the measurement of human personality arising from the combining of virtual reality and adaptive testing.
There is further information on the author’s website: http://www.psychologie.hu-berlin.de/prof/dia