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Old 5th Apr 2015, 12:39
  #3102 (permalink)  
Ian W
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Florida and wherever my laptop is
Posts: 1,344
Originally Posted by 2dPilot View Post
How are pilot candidates tested today?

Around 40 years ago I applied to BOAC to become a pilot, along with 1,000s of other applicants. I passed two selection stages down at Eastleigh.

Besides the math & English tests, I will always recall the day we had 1000 yes/no questions to do in - IIRC - a couple of hours. Simple yes/no questions on the face of it, one I especially recall "Do you like tall women?"

On the face of it this test seemed simple until you realised that batches of questions were being repeated, in slightly different order, or with new questions interlaced. And, one couldn't recall with any certainty what had been answered 10 paged back, or even if I would agree with my previous answer in the light of new questions! The time limit precluded any possibility of looking back through the questions/answers.

I can only assume this was a mixture of 'Psych' test and a stress test.
It was a psychological test, also - at the time - known as a 'speed test'. In the long distance past it was one of my 'majors' specialist subjects.

There is a lot of work put into designing those tests. Asking questions twice with different semantics that 'beg' a particular but different response will flag up those who are trying to 'look good' in their answers. Others will ask questions that cannot be true such as: True or False - I am always early for meetings. Again shows up someone wanting to answer what they believe is wanted. These questions are added to what Eysenck called a 'lie scale' once the value on the lie scale goes above a certain level then the subject fails the test.

There are 'spot the odd one out' questions where every one of the 5 examples could be the odd one out dependent on how your brain works. (imagine a list of animals - each odd one out: only single syllable word, only word that is more than 7 characters, only bird, only domesticated, only carnivorous etc etc) These are very very hard to create.

The 'subject' is then given say 120 seconds to answer 100 mixed questions and told that the number answered is one of the test criteria. Just reading the test may take 3 minutes, so you know that the subject cannot finish but the point is to not have them give considered answers.

These days the tests are more likely to be flashed up or scrolled on a computer screen at a particular rate which provides a similar metric.

These tests will not identify empathy, sociopathic tendencies etc. There are tests that can do that as there are brain scans that can show potential sociopaths. But these tests are not very effective. For example not all sociopaths will be picked up by the tests and scans and some that are picked up are demonstrably not sociopathic. So there are many false positives and false negatives.

Anyone putting their faith in tests of emotions and mental states of subjects will be sorely disappointed. They are far more likely to be counter productive by alienating the flight crew community.
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