Specific Aptitude Theory Revisited: Is There Incremental Validity for Training Performance?

Specific Aptitude Theory Revisited: Is There Incremental Validity for Training Performance?

Kenneth G. Brown, Huy Le and Frank L. Schmidt
University of Iowa

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SELECTION AND ASSESSMENT VOLUME 14 NUMBER 2 JUNE 2006

There has been controversy over the years about whether specific mental abilities increment validity for predicting performance above and beyond the validity for general mental ability (GMA). Despite its appeal, specific aptitude theory has received only sporadic empirical support. Using more exact statistical and measurement methods and a larger data set than previous studies, this study provides further evidence that specific aptitude theory is not tenable with regard to training performance. Across 10 jobs, differential weighting of specific aptitudes and specific aptitude tests were found not to improve the prediction of training performance over the validity of GMA. Implications of this finding for training research and practice are discussed.

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