Assessment center procedures: Cognitive load during the observation phase

Nanja J. Kolk*, Marise Ph Born, Henk Van Der Flier, Juliette M. Olman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the traditional procedure of observing assessment center exercises while taking notes vs. an alternative procedure where assessors merely observe and postpone note-taking until immediately after the exercise. The first procedure is considered to be cognitively demanding due to the requirement of simultaneous note-taking and observing. Also, dual task processing (concurrent observing and note-taking) is considered to be especially demanding for assessors without rating experience. The procedures are evaluated using a 2 × 2 design (with note-taking/without note-taking × experienced/inexperienced). Some 121 experienced and inexperienced assessors rated videotaped candidates, observing either with or without taking notes. Results showed that experienced assessors yield significantly higher differential accuracy than inexperienced assessors. We did not find an effect of observation procedure on accuracy, interrater reliability or halo. Implications for future research are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Selection and Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


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