Part reprinted from El Reg in case you weren’t there today:
Bloggers have discovered that the Department for Work and Pensions is using an obviously defective personality test in a bid to get jobseekers off the dole and into work.
The psychometric test in question is supposedly designed to assess an unemployed person’s “signature strengths”. However, it was actually primed to give nothing but positive statements regarding the user’s employability, regardless of whether any information was input at all.
Apparently inspired by the writings of Martin Seligman – the prof whose work in torturing dogs with electric shocks later influenced development of American “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding in the War On Terror – the DWP’s new test was initially used to assess the personalities of dole claimants in Loughton, Essex. Now, however, it appears to be being used across the country.
The programme was created by the government’s Behavioural Insights Team (also known as the “nudge unit”) – a shadowy and ever-so-slightly ludicrous Cabinet Office department which uses behavioural economics and psychological techniques to create a supposedly better society.
Rather than getting people to do what the government would like them to do by way of raising taxes, imposing threats of prison and withholding state support, citizens must be nudged into taking the “right” action, the unit suggests.
Pseudonymous socialist blogger Skwawkbox discovered the faulty test, which tells those taking it that they’re great employment material no matter what answers they input (this includes not inputting any answers at all). He blogs against the government’s welfare reforms and described the test as “sinister psychological bullying”, and indeed went as far as using a pic of an individual being waterboarded to show the torture being inflicted on the jobless.