Gamifying a situational judgment test with immersion and control game elements: Effects on applicant reactions and construct validity

Richard N. Landers, Elena M. Auer, Joseph D. Abraham

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18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Assessment gamification, which refers to the addition of game elements to existing assessments, is commonly implemented to improved applicant reactions to existing psychometric measures. This study aims to understand the effects of gamification on applicant reactions to and measurement quality of situational judgment tests. Design/methodology/approach: In a 2 × 4 between-subjects experiment, this study randomly assigned 315 people to experience different versions of a gamified situational judgment test, crossing immersive game elements (text, audio, still pictures, video) with control game elements (high and low), measuring applicant reactions and assessing differences in convergent validity between conditions. Findings: The use of immersive game elements improved perceptions of organizational technological sophistication, but no other reactions outcomes (test attitudes, procedural justice, organizational attractiveness). Convergent validity with cognitive ability was not affected by gamification. Originality/value: This is the first study to experimentally examine applicant reactions and measurement quality to SJTs based upon the implementation of specific game elements. It demonstrates that small-scale efforts to gamify assessments are likely to lead to only small-scale gains. However, it also demonstrates that such modifications can be done without harming the measurement qualities of the test, making gamification a potentially useful marketing tool for assessment specialists. Thus, this study concludes that utility should be considered carefully and explicitly for any attempt to gamify assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 19 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding statement: PSI Services LLC provided participant payments for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Richard N. Landers, Elena M. Auer and Joseph D. Abraham.


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