Blog Post

Dr Alex Forsythe explores the contributions of Professor Peter Saville to Psychology and Psychometrics in her new book: Key Thinkers in Individual Differences

16th July 2019

10x Psychology

10x Psychology’s founder Professor Peter Saville, is featured in a new book on psychology: Key Thinkers in Individual Differences: Ideas on Personality and Intelligence. His work joins a collection of key thoughts from celebrated psychologists including Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Henry Murray and Alfred Binet.

The book, by Dr Alex Forsythe, brings together the work of the 25 greatest thinkers in the field of psychology responsible for shaping and developing the measurement of intelligence and personality.

As the only living Occupational Psychologist, Peter’s chapter explores his early life, career and education, giving the reader a fascinating glimpse into how he created his first psychometric assessments, which have since defined how businesses better recruit, develop and retain new and existing talent.

The contribution also reviews the key stages Peter experienced in developing his approach to psychometric testing, from founding Saville and Holdsworth (SHL), followed by Saville Assessment, creating psychometric measures that are scientifically sound, to the formation of 10x Psychology, and the next leap forward in psychometric testing.

Dr Forsythe recounts the challenges Peter faced in bringing his innovative approach to the world of work, and the resistance he met on replacing the bland and complicated content of the dated tests then in existence, with professionally graphic designed materials for enhanced user engagement.

More significantly, Peter’s role in developing reliable and valid psychometric tests showed the world that psychology had something essential to offer in getting the right person in the right job. As the father of occupational psychology, and “flying the flag for Britain”, Peter is credited with starting an entirely new industry. Today, the personality, motivation and ability measures that Peter Saville has created are completed by over 50 million people around the world every year.

Through his work, Peter established Britain as the centre for psychometric testing and best practice. His contribution to the industry cemented the ideals of fair and objective assessments for business and HR globally.

Peter was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Psychological Society (BPS) in 1999, when his picture hung in the National Portrait Gallery, London. His expertise was further recognised in 2012, when he received the highest award the BPS can bestow — Honorary Fellowship. He was noted by the BPS as ‘creating the global gold standard for psychometric tests’, and ‘producing the first commercially available version of the Big Five personality factors’, used by academics worldwide as a structure to research personality.

Today, psychometric measurement underpins all stages of hiring and developing people at work. They allow staff to understand and identify the best candidates, and also to recognise which attitudes, approaches and behaviours best align with the objectives, culture and vision of the business. Many organisations are now looking for longer term predictive analysis, focussed on employee attraction, retention and wellbeing — enabling insight into how staff are likely to develop over their career and the best methods of keeping employees healthy and engaged.

Peter has continued to innovate, using his vast expertise to build a ground-breaking new suite of instruments for 10x Psychology, using predictive analytics, for use across the entire employee lifecycle from hiring and leadership to employee wellbeing.

For the full chapter and other fantastic insights, please find the full book on Routledge here.

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