Independent studies bust myths about game-based assessments

Revelian CEO Cherie Curtis and Head of Psychology Jason Blaik are the kinds of people who like structure and regularity in their lives. While they don’t dislike change per se, they do like to have plenty of notice and time to prepare for changes in advance.


Because of this, they were somewhat stunned to find themselves on a plane traveling from Brisbane, Australia to Orlando, Florida a few weeks ago. It certainly wasn’t something they’d planned for a long time in advance – in fact, they only decided to go two weeks beforehand. And those two weeks passed rapidly in a flurry of shifting appointments, making bookings and preparation.


Jason Blaik & Cherie Curtis at SIOP 2017

Jason Blaik & Cherie Curtis at SIOP 2017


So, what was it that prompted such normally steady and reliable people from Stafford, Brisbane to spend 28 hours on a plane to Florida?


Richard Landers and Team, Old Dominion University


It all began when Revelian Program Manager Salih Mujcic started conversing with Richard Landers, an Associate Professor of Industrial/Organisational Psychology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Richard was intrigued by Revelian’s work on game-based assessments and wanted to study this new area further. He was aware that game-based assessments were increasingly being used to hire job applicants, and also knew that there was a healthy degree of skepticism about the validity of, and reactions to them, with many believing that they’re not ‘serious’ enough, or as robust as traditional assessments.


When Richard shared his findings with Revelian, he also told us he would be presenting them at the 2017 Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists (SIOP) Conference. And because his findings were so positive, we felt it was not only appropriate but highly desirable for Revelian to be there as well, to discuss the ramifications and next steps with such a large contingent of practicing I-O psychologists and researchers.


Cherie & Jason with Richard Landers (centre) and team at SIOP 2017


Richard and his team examined data from Revelian’s latest assessment game, Cognify against a number of separate ability tests. They also looked at how well Cognify could assess General Mental/Cognitive Ability (GMA, GCA or g). Some of the study’s more significant findings were that:


  1. Test takers preferred Cognify over traditional ability assessments, both in general and as part of a job application
  2. Cognify was perceived by study participants to be a fairer assessment than a GCA test
  3. Cognify assessed g as well or better than many standalone cognitive ability tests


Richard believes that the fairness finding is especially noteworthy:

“The justice finding in particular is amazing – our sample thought it would be fairer to be assessed with Cognify than with a cognitive ability test battery if a job were on the line. This is directly contradictory to the worry about games making job applications “less serious” and applicants being angry about not being taken seriously; it seems the opposite is true, at least among those fairly recently entering and just about to enter the workforce in the US.”

Independent Study: Multinational Tech Company


At around the same time, a large multinational tech company was conducting a study of Cognify with newly hired employees in the United States. They analysed the relationship between Cognify and their own cognitive ability assessment, as well as Cognify’s ability to predict job performance, and test-taker reactions to the games.


Their most significant findings were that:


  1. Cognify significantly predicted new hire success in the focus areas of technical expertise, problem-solving, learning and agility for a group of US employees.
  2. Gender had no impact on performance, with results consistent among males and females
  3. Cognify attracted favorable feedback from participants:
    • Positively impacting their perception of the company
    • Positively influencing their decision to accept a job offer
    • Motivating them to recommend applying for a job with the company to others.
  4. Cognify provides a very effective measure of cognitive ability, consistent with the company’s existing cognitive ability assessment.



Naturally, we’re thrilled with these findings, which help to dispel a number of myths around game-based assessments, in particular, the belief that candidates won’t take them seriously, or might even feel offended to be asked to play a game in a recruitment context. The evidence from both studies suggests that the opposite is very much the case.


We hope to have more independent validation findings to share with you shortly, as Cognify is currently being analysed by other organisations and academic groups. In the meantime, if you’d like to play Cognify yourself and see how it works, please feel free to request a trial.


Want to try Cognify for yourself? Request a no-obligation trial now.