Are dark motives related to the use of brainteaser questions?

Have you been on a job interview and been asked “how many windows are in New York city?” Tech companies like Google and Microsoft are known to ask these questions to their job applicants. More recently, however, companies started realizing that these questions may not be so useful and often serve to make interviewers feel “smarter” than the applicant. In this collaborative research, we found that “dark traits” such as narcissism and sadism are in fact, related to interviewer’s intention to ask brainteaser questions. To learn more, check out this paper published in Applied Psychology: International Review.


Highhouse, S., Nye, C.D., & Zhang, D.C. (in press), Dark motives and elective use of brainteaser interview questions. Applied Psychology: An International Review. pdf


Undergraduates research assistants: Sarah Graff and Paige Resnick have each accepted offers to Middle Tennessee State University and University of Texas: Arlington for their Masters program in I/O Psychology! Congratulations and we wish you the best of luck in your career! You will be missed!


Do you understand what a correlation means?

Almost every psychology major has learned about the correlation coefficient: the little number that indicates the relationship between two variables. But what does it really mean in the real world? In reality, most business professionals do not find the correlation coefficient very useful or informative. Luckily, there are many alternatives. In this recent article published in The Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, Dr. Zhang discusses alternative displays of effect size. (


Duck-size horses or horse-size ducks?

Have you ever been asked a weird question on a job interview? Like “what books are on your night stand?” or “which of the seven dwarfs would you rather be?” The research team from PAAM lab is conducting research that examines the effects of odd-ball questions on job applicant’s reactions.

PAAM Lab Members John-Luke McCord and Brian Doyle recently presented results from this research Louisiana Psychological Association.



The PAAM Lab stands for the Personnel Assessment and Applied Decision Making Laboratory. The goal of this lab is to leverage basic judgment and decision-making principles in the study of work. Specifically, we focus our efforts in the understanding of employee assessment and selection, personality and individual differences, and the communication of research to lay consumers and organizational stakeholders.