Test Description

Criteria's test portfolio includes some of the most innovative assessment tools in the world. One example of our proprietary testing IP is the MRAB, a unique battery of tests created by a research team led by Dr. Stephen Kosslyn, Chair of the Psychology Department at Harvard University (and a member of Criteria's Scientific Advisory Board).

The story of the MRAB

The MRAB is a series of nine short tests that measure a person's "information processing" functions. Funded by NASA, Dr. Kosslyn's team originally designed the tests to measure the effects of prolonged space travel on astronauts' cognitive functions. If an astronaut's MRAB score was far below normal on a given day, for example, then maybe someone else should be operating the space shuttle. When not on pilot duty, the astronauts easily accessed the MRAB — which Dr. Kosslyn's team had installed on Palm Pilots for portability. MRAB-equipped Palm Pilots have even been taken up Mt. Everest by a team of climbers, who used the test to measure the effects of extreme altitude on their cognitive functions.

The MRAB has been patented by Harvard University, and Criteria holds an exclusive license for the commercial rights to the test. But why should Criteria's customers care about a test that was designed to measure the cognitive performance of astronauts and mountain climbers?

Recent findings in psychological research point out how the MRAB battery of tests can help companies identify productive future employees.

Exploring the ways in which the human brain works, and the relationship and interaction between mind and body, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists are now rethinking ways in which we measure cognitive ability. Their research reveals that traditional instruments such as the IQ test and related cognitive aptitude tests yield only a partial picture of a person's cognitive competency.

The MRAB is based on a newer understanding of cognitive competency that is broader than the traditional view of what constitutes "intelligence." The MRAB tests a subject's attention skills, powers of concentration, working memory, and problem-solving abilities, and can be seen as a kind of "cognitive fitness test," or a "blood pressure cuff for the mind," as Dr. Kosslyn calls it.

As one of the first assessment instruments to emerge from this new research on the brain's information-processing power, the MRAB has a unique ability to predict a subject's "functional fitness" for various real-world tasks. For example, a portion of the MRAB measures a subject's attention and concentration skills, and can predict such factors as a candidate's ability to drive a vehicle safely or to perform well in jobs that require prolonged periods of concentration.