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Christiansen, Neil

Director - Industrial & Organizational Psychology



Neil Christiansen received his B.S.E. from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. After a brief experience teaching in the public schools, he completed an M.A. in Social Psychology from Southern Illinois University, followed by a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology from Northern Illinois University. Prior to coming to CMU in 1997, he chaired the I/O program at Florida Tech and worked as a consultant in test development and personnel selection.

More about Neil Christiansen

Christiansen, N.D., Robie, C., Burns, G.N., Loy, R.W., Speer, A.B., Jacobs, R.R. (2021). Effects of applicant response distortion on the relationship between personality trait scores and cognitive ability. Personality and Individual Differences.

 Fisher, P.A., Risavy, S.D., Robie, C., König, C.J., Christiansen, N.D., Tett, R.P., Simonet, D.V. (2021). Selection myths: A replication, extension, and comparison to HR professionals' beliefs about effective human resource practices in the United States and Canada. Journal of Personnel Psychology.

Robie, C., Christiansen, N.D., Bourdage, J., Powell, D., Roulin, N. (2020). Nonlinearity in the relationship between impression management tactics and interview performance. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 28, 522–530.

Fleming, A. C., Hlebasko, H., Adams, S. C., Roach, K. N., & Christiansen, N. D. (2020). Effects of sexism and job-applicant match on candidate evaluations. Social Behavior and Personality48, 1-8.

Christiansen, N.D., Fisher, P.A., & Robie, C. (2019). Tilting at windmills and improving personality assessment practices. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 12, 177-183.

Speer, A.S., Christiansen, N.D. & Siver, S.R. (2019). Applying theory to the black box: A model of empirically scoring biodata. International Journal of Selection and Assessment28, 1-17.

Fisher, P.A., Robie, C., Christiansen, N.D., Speer, A.B., & Schneider, L. (2019). Criterion-related validity of forced-choice personality measures: A cautionary note regarding Thurstonian IRT versus classical test theory scoring. Personnel Assessment and Decisions, 5, 39-61.

Speer, A.B., Christiansen, N.D., Laginess, A., (2019). Social intelligence and interview accuracy: Individual differences in the ability to construct interviews and rate accurately. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 27, 104-128.

Fisher, P.A., Robie, C., Komar, S., & Christiansen, N.D. (2018). The impact of psychopathy and warnings on faking behavior: A multisaturation perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 127, 38-43.

Christiansen, N.D. & Speer, A.B. (2017). Putting situations into personality assessments. European Journal of Personality, 31, 441–502.

Robie, C., Christiansen,N.D., Hausdorf, P.A., Fisher, P.A., Keeping, L.M., Murphy, S.A., & Risavy, S. (2017). International comparison of group differences in general mental ability for immigrants versus non-immigrants. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 25, 347–359.

Jeong, Y.A., Christiansen, N.D., Robie, C., Kung, M., Kinney, T. (2017). Comparing applicants and incumbents: Effects of response distortion on the psychometric properties of personality measures. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 25, 311-315.

Christiansen, N.D., Robie, C., Burns, G., & Speer, A. (2017). Using item-level covariance to detect response distortion on personality measures. Human Performance, 30, 116-134.

Tett, R.P., Hundley, N & Christiansen, N.D. (2017). Meta-analysis and the myth of generalizability. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 10, 421-456.

Prewett, M., Brown., M., Christiansen, N.D., & Goswami, A. (2017). Effects of team personality composition on member performance: A multilevel perspective. Group & Organization Management, 72, 1-33.

Effects of Personality on Work Strain: The role of job-person fit

The role of personality in determining job-person fit (P-J) was examined in the context of how the misfit can result in stress-based responses and strains. Drawing on Trait Activation Theory, the model posits that personality affects the work activities employees seek out on the job and how comfortable they are performing required activities. When workers have trait elevations that result in better fit (based on the congruence with the tasks performed), they will experience more positive work outcomes. To examine this, managers (N=334) completed a personality inventory, rated the frequency of task performance and their discomfort when performing those activities, and evaluated their perceptions of person-job fit, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety. Results indicated that managers who were low on Five-Factor Model traits avoided tasks where higher elevations were related to success and that they experienced more discomfort when performing them. The results also confirmed that these factors were related to evaluations of whether managers perceived that the fit the job and more emotional exhaustion and anxiety.

Departures from Linearity as Evidence of Applicant Distortion on Personality Tests

Three studies examined how faking impacts the normally linear construct relationships of personality tests by partitioning samples and measuring the effects on validity across different ranges of test scores. Study 1 constructed samples (= 300) in a simulation using data from a laboratory faking study and systematically varied the proportion of distorted responses. Increase of faking in the samples predicted departures from linearity, with decreased convergent validity and increased saturation with social desirability at the top of the samples. Study 2 investigated validity decay across score ranges of applicants to a state police academy (= 442). Personality test scores from the top of the distribution poorly predicted subsequent performance but strongly predicted social desirability scores. This pattern was not found for the partitioned scores of a cognitive test. Study 3 directly compared personality test scores and performance ratings of applicants (= 97) to those of incumbents (= 318) in a customer service job. Departures from linearity was observed in the applicant but not in the incumbent sample. Effects of applicant distortion on the validity of personality tests are especially concerning when validity decay increases toward the top of the distribution of test scores.