The Relation of Cognitive Ability and Personality Traits to Assessment Center Performance


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Paul E. Spector, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa. FL 33620. e-mail:;


The aim of the current study was to examine cognitive ability and personality correlates of assessment center exercise ratings. The sample included 429 individuals who participated in a 2-day management development assessment center during a 5-year period. The assessment center yielded scores on 8 exercises. Assessees also completed a measure of cognitive ability (Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal) and the California Psychological Inventory (CPI). The CPI scales were incorporated into 4 of the Big Five personality factors for easier interpretation. Our hypotheses were partially supported since ratings of exercises that were largely interpersonal in nature tended to correlate with interpersonal personality constructs (emotional stability, extraversion, and openness to experience), and ratings of cognitive problem-solving exercises correlated with cognitive ability and conscientiousness.