Fact and fiction in cognitive ability testing for admissions and hiring decisions

Nathan R. Kuncel, Sarah A. Hezlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Standardized measures of intelligence, ability, or achievement are all measures of acquired knowledge and skill and have consistent relationships with multiple facets of success in life, including academic and job performance. Five persistent beliefs about ability tests have developed, including: (a) that there is no relationship with important outcomes like creativity or leadership, (b) that there is predictive bias, (c) that there is a lack of predictive independence from socioeconomic status, (d) that there are thresholds beyond which scores cease to matter, and (e) that other characteristics, like personality, matter as well. We present the evidence and conclude that of these five beliefs, only the importance of personality is a fact; the other four are fiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • academic success
  • admissions tests
  • cognitive ability
  • intelligence
  • job performance
  • standardized tests
  • test bias


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