Vienna Test System
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The Vienna Test System (VTS) is a test system for computerized psychological assessments. With it digital psychological tests can be administrated and it provides automatic and comprehensive scoring First and foremost, this saves both time and money in comparison to administrating and scoring paper-and-pencil tests manually. The system includes not only classical questionnaires but also tests that can only be administered precisely by using a computer (time-sensitive test presentation, multi-media presentation, adaptive tests, Psychomotricity, combinations of tests for specific purposes (test sets), differentiated scoring of individual responses, e.g. according to reaction time, etc.).
The Schuhfried company was founded by Dr. Felix Schuhfried in 1947, but initial developments go back to the 1970s and were based on the company’s experience in the field of apparative assessments. An important strand of apparative assessments in psychology was the development of devices for measuring brief and very brief stimulus presentation and reaction times, such as the tachistoscope for assessing perception and attention.
Schuhfried was one of the first companies to realize that computers could replace these very expensive electro-mechanical instruments. This led in the early 1980s to the emergence of the Vienna Test System, which initially had its own hardware and operating system components designed in particular to ensure real-time control and measurement. Electro-mechanical devices were controlled by computer; individual tests required a control module and a special respondent interface for stimulus presentation and input of responses.
The following devices used in applied psychology were developed by Schuhfried:
·DT: Vienna Determination Unit (complex reaction tests)
·MLS: Motor Performance Series according to Schoppe (fine motor skills)
·RT: Vienna Reaction Device (simple reaction tests)
·ART 90: Act and react test system (seven subtests for assessment of fitness to drive)
Standardized respondent desks providing additional optical and acoustic stimulus presentation options and multiple response keys (including number keys) and pedals then supplemented and replaced the individual devices. Presentation was shifted more to the screen. In 1986 the first Vienna Test System was launched; for the first time this used a personal computer as hardware. For many years the VTS was the only available system in this field to achieve professional application maturity. Other systems gradually emerged as the now widespread practice of internet-based psychological diagnostic grew, leading to wide diversification.
The present Vienna Test System
In 2013 a new test system was launched that incorporates various new features and improvements. Four specialist versions are available for use in HR, Neuro, Sport, and Traffic psychology. Interactive interfaces enable the new VTS to be integrated into existing workflows and computer programs such as applicant management systems and hospital IT environments. Many psychological tests can be administered online without the need to install software. This option is particularly suitable for administering tests when the administrator and respondent are not in the same location.
More than 120 tests are now available, including tests to measure intelligence, cognitive ability, executive functions, attention, memory and personality, together with self-assessment tests and clinical tests. All the tests have been validated and normed, and some have been developed in collaboration with various universities. Every year some 13 million tests in more than 68 countries and 30 languages are administered using the Vienna Test System. Here is a short selection of the tests that are typically administered on the computer.
Screenshot of the Determination Test
·DT: The Determination Test (DT) is an accurate test of reactive stress tolerance and the associated ability to react. The respondent is presented with color stimuli and acoustic signals. He/she reacts by pressing the appropriate buttons on the response panel.
·RT: The Reaction Test (RT) provides an accurate measurement of motor speed and reaction speed. The respondent is required to press a specified key on the response panel when relevant stimuli appear.
· INSBAT: The Intelligence Structure Battery (INSBAT) is a modular intelligence test battery designed on a theory-led basis; it provides a fair and economic assessment of occupationally relevant skills. The INSBAT is based on the hierarchical intelligence model of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (Carroll, 1993; Horn, 1989; Horn & Noll, 1997).
· TOL-F : The Tower of London – Freiburg Version (TOL-F) is a computerized test that assesses planning ability in healthy people and neurological and psychiatric patients; it has been comprehensively normed in German-speaking countries. The planning test is based on the Tower of Hanoi as developed by the neurologist Tim Shallice.
Screenshot of the Tower of London
· WRBTV: The Vienna Risk-taking Test Traffic (WRBTV) is an objective personality test that measures readiness to take risks when driving. It is based on the risk homeostasis theory of the Canadian psychologist G. J. S. Wilde.
· FGT: The Figural Memory Test (FGT) is a language-free test of figural learning ability and figural episodic memory. FGT is suitable for use with healthy people and neurological and psychiatric patients.
· OLMT: The Objective Achievement Motivation Test (OLMT) is a computerized, objective and behavior-based personality test for measuring achievement motivation. It provides information about the effort applied when working on tasks under various different conditions.
Special areas of use
Alongside the use of the VTS in neuropsychology and in recruitment, staff development and career guidance, there are also tests and test sets for particular applications:
Early diagnosis of dementia
The World Alzheimer Report 2015 predicted that every year 9.9 million people will be newly diagnosed with dementia. That means that on average someone is diagnosed every 3.2 seconds. Because dementia cannot be cured but its progress can be slowed, early diagnosis of symptoms is particularly important. The DSM-5 classification system defines special diagnostic criteria for neurocognitive disorders in this field; these are assessed by the test set CFD – Cognitive Functions Dementia. Using a touch-screen, the test set assesses attention, verbal long-term memory, executive functions, expressive language and perceptual/motor functions and combines the results to arrive at a global CFD index.
SCHUHFRIED has been involved with traffic psychological assessment since the start of the 1960s and has from the first been the market leader in this field. Its collaboration with the Austrian Road Safety Board, aimed at developing traffic psychology and hence enhancing traffic safety, dates back to 1980. The ART 90, a computer-controlled test station, was produced at this time; it became the standard device in traffic psychology. Because fitness to drive is a very complex issue that cannot be adequately assessed by a single test, a battery of traffic psychology tests was produced in 1996 to replace the ART 90. The test battery can be used to measure a number of driving-related ability and personality factors including ability to react, stress tolerance, peripheral perception, readiness to take risks, aggression, etc.
Computer-based assessment is also an invaluable tool in aviation, where it is used not only in selection but also with both civil and military pilots in the regular appraisal of fitness to fly. To meet the specific requirements of aviation, a special test set (SAAIR Safety Assessment Air) was developed to assess psychological factors relevant to flying such as resilience, memory and spatial ability and other aspects such as psychomotor coordination.
Success in high-level sport depends on strong psychological components as well as well-developed physiological ones. Questions about the role of perception, concentration, decision-making ability, emotions and social interaction in sporting performance can be answered using computer-based psychological assessment. In combination with other tools such as structured interview guidelines, the information thus acquired contributes to decision-making. This enables sports psychology to make an enormous contribution to professionalism and quality in competitive sport.
Since 2000 the Schuhfried company has been entitled to use the Austrian coat of arms. This award is bestowed on businesses that demonstrate a high level of exports, a first-class credit rating, innovative ability, good quality management and significant investment in research and development.
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