Central role of g in military pilot selection.Int J Aviat Psychol. 1996; 6(2):111-23.IJ
The role of general cognitive ability (g) in the selection of military pilots is discussed. Four seminal issues that threaten the interpretation of the results of ability studies are introduced and examined. A brief history of the use of g in pilot selection is presented, going back to the World War I era. At that time, many countries used tests such as perception and reaction time, later shown to be mostly measures of g. The World War II era brought the age of the multiple aptitude batteries, and with it, the theory of differential abilities. However, most militaries still used highly g-saturated measures. More recently, an awareness of the prominence of g in job performance has led to a series of studies that showed the central role of g in predicting pilot success. In comparative analyses, g was found to be a better predictor of pilot criteria than specific abilities. However, some specific abilities or measures of job knowledge were found to increment the predictiveness of g. Several selection variables that appeared to measure characteristics other than g were found to measure, at least in some part, g. These include psychomotor tests and structured interviews. Finally, speculation on the future of the measurement of g is presented.