After a tragic incident, you almost always hear the same reactions from the neighbours. "He was a bit strange, but he was an amiable guy," one will say to the media. Or, "He looked average," says another, perhaps a resident in the same apartment building. "You'd say hi. He'd say hi. But he wasn't very outgoing."
Dr. Michael McIntyre is an industrial psychologist at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, where he specializes in developing preemployment personality tests. To help companies screen potential employees for aggressive and antisocial tendencies, McIntyre has developed a tool called the Conditional Reasoning Test of Aggression (CRTA).
In the early 1990s, Mir Aimal Kansi, a known terrorist, was issued a visa and entered the United States. He purchased an AK-47, gunned down two CIA agents and wounded three others in front of the agency's headquarters. He then flew out of the country, dodging authorities until his capture in 1997. How did he accomplish all of this while avoiding getting caught? Easy: He dropped a single letter from his name.
Polygraph testing may be an effective plot device in spy movies, but a recent report issued by the National Research Council (an arm of The National Academies) found that when it comes to employee security screenings, polygraphs are deeply flawed. The 245-page report is the result of 19 months of study by a committee of statisticians, psychologists and mathematicians.
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