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SIOP Award Winners: Meet Adam Meade—DUAL Award Winner

Liberty Munson, Microsoft

As part of our ongoing series to provide visibility into what it takes to earn a SIOP award or grant, we highlight a diverse class of award winners in each edition of TIP. We hope that this insight encourages you to consider applying for a SIOP award or grant because you are probably doing something amazing that can and should be recognized by your peers in I-O psychology!

This quarter, we are highlighting SIOP’s 2022 Joyce and Robert Hogan Award for Personality and Work Performance AND Jeanneret Award for Excellence in the Study of Individual or Group Assessment Awards. Quite the accomplishment!

 

Share a little a bit about who you are and what you do.

I’m a professor of psychology at NC State University as well as founder of PerSight Assessments. My focus is on innovations in measurement and data analytics using both traditional I-O tools for analysis as well as web development and other programming skills.  My coauthors are Gabriel Pappalardo (then at NC State), John Fleenor (Center for Creative Leadership), and Phillip Braddy (then at Center for Creative Leadership).

Describe the research/work that you did that resulted in this award. What led to your idea?

We first presented research on rapid response measurement (RRM) at SIOP way back in 2014. Rapid response measurement presents a stimulus (such as a personality adjective) on screen one at a time and asks the respondent for a simple dichotomous response (e.g., “like me” or “not like me”). The system then immediately presents the next stimulus and the process repeats. On average, responses take about a second each, and with 6–20 stimuli, we can get highly reliable and valid measures. This means we can administer a 20-facet Big Five measure in around 6 minutes. Also, we capture response time and weight responses by the speed of response so that faster responses count more towards the trait score. This allows us to get a lot of information very quickly.

I was led to the idea by being frustrated with the lack of technology in traditional assessment and from seeing innovations in other areas of psychology (like the implicit attitudes test and other assessments making use of response time in interesting ways).

What do you think was key to you winning this award?

I think it was the novelty of the approach, the benefit of huge time savings, as well as the fact that we spent years collecting data supporting the validity and faking resistance of the process over traditional Likert-type responses.

What did you learn that surprised you? Did you have an “aha” moment? What was it?

I initially experimented with using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure personality but didn’t find it to be very reliable or valid. The aha moment was realizing that it was just too complicated to try and balance blocks and compute difference scores in the IAT scoring. I realized a simpler approach might be better, especially given that concepts more core to self-image are more accessible (and thus you might expect faster responses to things more core to your self-concept).

What do you see as the lasting/unique contribution of this work to our discipline? How can it be used to drive changes in organizations, the employee experience, and so on?

I hope the RRM serves as a general framework used to measure all kinds of traits and attitudes. We have already expanded to things like job satisfaction and some other areas of research where faking is likely (e.g., “dark personality”). I have set up an online system that researchers can use to design and test their own RRMs. I hope it will be widely used.

How did others become aware of your award-winning work/research? 

Mostly through presentations at SIOP and the journal article in Organizational Research Methods. I also try and tell anyone who will listen.

Who would you say was the biggest advocate of your research/work that resulted in the award? How did that person become aware of your work?

Honestly, me. One thing I have learned is that just having a good idea is not sufficient to have it catch on. You also have to promote it via talks, papers, publications, and so on.

To what extent would you say this work/research was interdisciplinary?

A tiny bit in that it uses technology that psychologists are not trained on. I had to take a lot of time to learn how to program in multiple computer languages, learn principles of web architecture and design, and many other things normally associated with computer science. However, I wouldn’t call it interdisciplinary at all.

Are you still doing work/research in the same area where you won the award? If so, what are you currently working on in this space? If not, what are you working on now and how did you move into this different work/research area? 

Yes, absolutely!  My lab group continues to develop new RRMs for different traits and constructs. I’m continuing to build web tools to allow researchers from around the world to use the RRM in their own studies and to integrate with things like Qualtrics, MTurk. I have some videos on my home page for anyone interested. I’d love to see more people use it.

What’s a fun fact about yourself (something that people may not know)?

I have kids as old as 20 and young as 3. I had no idea if I’d be able to get tenure or be any good at this job as I didn’t have a long record of publications coming out of graduate school. I only got into 1 (Georgia) of the 10 graduate I-O programs I applied to so I barely made it into the field at all!

Interviewer’s comment: So, the message seems to be “never give up, never surrender!”

Interviewee comment:  I love Galaxy Quest! 

What piece of advice would you give to someone new to I-O psychology? (If you knew then what you know now…)

Focus on the core foundational stuff rather than more recent research, innovations, and so on. All of the newer stuff (including my work) goes back to the foundations.

 

About the author:

Liberty Munson is currently the director of Psychometrics of the Microsoft Worldwide Learning programs in the Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification programs. Her passion is for finding innovative solutions to business challenges that balance the science of assessment design and development with the realities of budget, time, and schedule constraints. Most recently, she has been presenting on the future of testing and how technology can change the way we assess skills.

Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp with her husband, Scott, and miniature schnauzer, Apex. If she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors, or she’s in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens.

Her advice to someone new to I-O psychology? Statistics, statistics, statistics—knowing data analytic techniques will open A LOT of doors in this field and beyond!

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