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Virtual reality games as a tool in personnel assessment

Can intelligence be predicted through virtual reality games?

Three young people in casual clothes wearing virtual reality goggles sit in a row on cinema seats with blue illuminated buzzers in the armrests.

Virtual reality gamers (VR game) who finished a game faster than their fellow gamers also have higher levels of general intelligence and processing capacity. This was the result of a study conducted by the Faculty of Economics, Management and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne, the University of Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences. The results of the team around WiSo-Professor Markus Weinmann also indicate that virtual reality games can be useful supplementary human resource management tools in companies for predicting the job performance of an applicant. The study “Intelligence at play: game-based assessment using a virtual-reality application” by Markus Weinmann (Professor of Business Analytics WiSo-Faculty) and his fellow scientists was published in the journal “Virtual Reality”.

Several studies have already shown that video games may indicate or even help to develop intellectual and cognitive abilities. As intelligence is one of the most commonly used predictors for job performance, video games could be interesting for the human resource management. Although many companies are increasingly using VR technology to recruit candidates, only few studies have specifically investigated whether and how VR games can be used to draw conclusions about intelligence in this area. The study by Markus Weinmann and his colleagues contributes to bridging the gap between research and practice.

103 people participated in the study by Weinmann and his fellow scientists. Under controlled laboratory conditions, they played the commercial VR game “Job Simulator” and completed the short version of the intelligence test BIS-4.

The researchers' analyses show that participants who finished the game faster than others also had higher levels of general intelligence and processing capacity. An increase of 17% in processing capacity correlated with less time spent playing the game (by an average of 3.7 minutes). The results suggest that VR games can be useful supplementary tools in companies for predicting the job performance.

The results are a scientific novelty, as it has hardly been possible to conduct VR studies with state-of-the-art VR hardware. There are thus few studies that have investigated the correlation between behaviour in VR and intelligence. “There are already some companies that use games, so-called ‘serious games’, for recruiting. The new results are in line with this specific application of VR games and show that they can be used for recruiting,” said Weinmann.

The scientists intend to continue their research on the potential of video games for practical applications. Among other things, they are investigating how people behave towards virtual avatars in the metaverse.