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The High Society:  Putting 
Some Color Into I-O 
Psychology

Paul M. Muchinsky*
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

*Unamused, indifferent, or entertained readers can contact the author at pmmuchin@uncg.edu.


I-O psychology has been very good to me. It has provided me with a lifetime vocation and has yielded many sources of gratification. Accordingly, I feel badly when some people (mostly undergraduate students) describe I-O psychology as lacking zest and pop. These people say it comes across as dry and sterile. Even if you try to disguise it with fancy color wrapping, if the fundamental message is bland, the customer will not be fooled more than once. As such I wanted to find a way to bring some panache to a discipline that is unfairly characterized as colorless. I think I found it.

The other day my wife informed me our hallway was starting to look like I-O psychologys reputation: dull and lifeless. She told me it was going to be repainted in a color that would give it some zap. She went to a huge building supply store and returned with something that was about the size and shape of a ruler, except this ruler was about three inches thick. It was strips of paint chips, depicting seven colors per strip, and contained about 200 strips. I never knew there were over 1,400 colors of paint. But the sheer number of colors was not what impressed me. What floored me was that each of these 1,400 colors was given a sexy, snappy name by the paint company. Many of these names bore absolutely no relationship to the color it represented. These paint strips can grab you in one of two waysby the color or by the oh-so-chic name attached to it. I think the paint company hired a few unemployed English majors, gave them some LSD and a thesaurus, and told them to have at it.

So what we have here is a continuous variable, color, that has been polychotomized into 1,400 segments, each with its own name. I began to realize that I-O psychology also has a continuous variable at its root. It is the Pearson correlation. The correlation is to I-O psychology what water is to aquatics. I defy anyone to go to any empirical I-O psychology study and not find at least one correlation. These correlations are the DNA of our discipline we would be nothing without them. I believe these ubiquitous decimals are at the core of why some people think I-O psychology is colorless. So here is my idea. If they can divide color into many segments and give each segment a sexy name, why cant we divide correlations into ranges and give each range a sexy name? I bet our disciplines interest ratings would go through the roof.

This is what I did. I created 40 ranges for correlation coefficients, ranging from .000 to 1.00. Each range is .025 correlational units. I excluded negative correlations because nobody likes negative correlations. They are sometimes more difficult to interpret than positive correlations, they are often reflected to produce a more appealing positive correlation, and quite frankly there is just something negative about negative correlations. I took 40 of the actual names of the paint chips and applied them to the range of correlations. You talk about a makeover! These dry, lifeless correlations are now transformed into a panoply of colors. Here are the new names for our old, bland statistical indices of association.

r = .000.025  Lost Atlantis r = .101.125  Anastasia 
r = .026.050  Castile Foam r = .126.150  Mushroom Basket 
r = .051.075 Razzberry Fizz r = .151.175  Twisted Brandy 
r = .076.100  Stucco Griege r = .176.200   Cavalier Cooper
r = .201.225  Majorca Melon r = .301.325 Sedona Clay 
r = .226.250  Ocatillo r = .326.350  Loggia 
r = .251.275  Esplanade r = .351.375  Palisade 
r = .276.300  Quail Crest r = .376.400  Galleria 
r = .401.425  Zircon r = .501.525  Chanticleer 
r = .426.450  Turtle Creek r = .526.550  Sassafras Tea
r = .451.475  Romanesque r = .551.575  Kypros 
r = .476.500  Brassine r = .576.600  Artemesia
r = .601.625  Borage r = .701.725  Aubergine 
r = .626.650  Distant Thunder r = .726.750  Neutrino 
r = .651.675  Urban Putty r = .751.775  Peche
r = .676.700  Vizcaya r = .776.800  Mariposa 
r = .801.825  Oat Cake r = .901.925  Enchanted Evening
r = .826.850  Coquette r = .926.950  Warm Glow 
r = .851.875  Gloxinia r = .951.975  Magic Night
r = .876.900  Knubby Wool  r = .9761.00 Jewel of Heaven 

corrected r in excess of 1.00       Fantasy

Dont these names just make your blood rush? Cant you just read the new, revitalized Results section of our articles? The KR20 reliability coefficients for the 7 subscales ranged from Urban Putty to Knubby Wool. The convergent validity coefficients were most supportive, in the range of Brassine to Aubergine. However, many of the divergent validity coefficients were disturbingly high, more in the range of Galleria to Kypros rather than the theoretically postulated range of Stucco Griege to Ocatillo. Nevertheless, upon application of correction formulas for range restriction and predictor unreliability, the adjusted correlation was Oat Cake. Now tell me, does that sound colorless to you? Its all about marketing ourselves to a generation that grew up on MTV and video games. And incidentally, the color my wife eventually picked for our hallway was r = .51.

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