Thursday, 18th June 2020

The Psychometric Forum’s First Virtual Seminar 

Speakers: Pavlos Stampoulidis, CEO and Founder of Psycholate; Ben Williams Founder and MD of Sten10; Maria Kolitsida, Founder & CEO, Winning Minds

In response to government guidelines for regulations around Covid19, The Psychometrics Forum decided to follow a different format and go virtual for the first seminar of 2020.  The topic was one at the very heart of psychometrics  – the measurement of personality. We’ve become very used to self-report as a quick and easy way of providing a lens through which to view personality. Well aware of the drawbacks of the method it endures due to its practicality and accessibility. This session provided a fascinating look at the ways in which we can realistically start to think about measuring personality in the future by leveraging emerging data-gathering methods. Pavlos Stampoulidis started with an explanation of the technical side of the potential ‘black box’ that is Artifical Intelligence (or AI), with  practical tips to understand different offerings in the market. Ben Williams followed with an overview of the new methodologies and how they are using para-data to predict personality traits. After a break Maria Kolitsida shared some real-life data from inside one of the AI ‘black boxes’ and explained how her company WinningMinds is working with the Canadian Government to help improve the real-time effectiveness of conversations between counsellors and clients on a suicide helpline. Full reviews of this seminar available soon.

Ben Thornton

Pavlos Stampoulidis

CEO and Founder of Psycholate

Modern AI Systems: Under the Hood, A driver’s Guide

AI systems are already everywhere and we need to understand what they are and how they work. This way we will be able to better understand their strengths, their limitations and ultimately, the dangers they pose to the survival of our race.  Pavlos in his talk looked at different issues such as: What exactly is machine learning? How is it different to statistical models of prediction? What does cost function, gradient descent, back-propagation, convolution and other terminology actually mean? What types of research can we engage in today? How does a neural network learn and how can someone start using them to understand people? 

Ben Thornton

Ben Williams CPsychol, AFBPsS, MA (Oxon), MSc.

Founder and MD of Sten10

Beyond Self Report: Neurological, Biological and Physiological Markers of Personality And The Use of These Assessment Methods in the Workplace. 

Self report questionnaires are psychologist’s ‘go-to’ method for appraising people’s personality preferences; but they are not without their drawbacks. Whether it is differing levels of self-insight, an unwillingness to be truthful, alternative interpretations of the statements to be rated or other external influences such as temporary mood states; there are plenty of potential sources of error when using this technique to assess personality. However, there are an alternative range of methodologies that do away with self-report and seem to do reasonably well at identifying these same traits, especially when paired with advanced predictive algorithms. Whether it be voice analysis, eye tracking, facial muscle movement recognition or the assessment of ‘micro behaviours’ via the paradata gained from playing a game: could these methods be the answer to gain greater insight into people’s true personalities? And how might they be applied – and their use defended – in a workplace context? Ben presented a selection of methods currently being touted for use in an organisational setting and reviewed the strength of evidence for their use, along with an assessment of their practical usefulness.

Ben Thornton

Maria Kolitsida

Founder & CEO WinningMinds 

Understanding the Behaviour of AI: a Multi-disciplinary Approach to ‘Thinking’ Technologies for Accurate Behavioural Analytics 

Maria talked about Content AI technologies and how they have been perceived as the new tools that are capable of supporting organisations to drive productivity and growth. AI analytics can increase business value more than traditional analytics and rule-based systems, by providing additional content to the decision data pool. She identified that conversation is the richest data source to understand the impact of behaviour in organisations. They provide insights into how human collaboration and ways of interaction relate to business outcomes. However, as organisations enter the Reasoning and Adaptability era they need to utilise analytics tools to gain an in-depth understanding of interpersonal interactions and organisational dynamics to transform human capital management.  Maria also gave us background information on the important work her company WinningMinds is doing in terms of support mechanisms, in conjunction with the Canadian Government, working on a suicide helpline in order to improve the real-time effectiveness of conversations between counsellors and clients.