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Barrick Comments

In the fight to secure airplanes against another 9-11 attack, U.S. pilots must pass psychological screening before being given a handgun. Psychological testing - which in its infancy in the late 19th century gave electric shocks to the subjects' ears to see how fast they responded - now encompasses tests of skills, aptitudes, reasoning, and personality traits. Personality tests study five key traits: conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability, openness to new experiences and degree of extroversion - with conscientiousness and emotional stability being by far the bigger indicators of success. "When you're highly conscientious and emotionally stable, you regularly come to work on time, stay with the organization longer, and are less likely to quit," says University of Iowa business professor MURRAY BARRICK. "It also has positives for society in terms of better citizenship."

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