Effective & Accurate

What TTI SI’s Research Team is Doing To Improve Assessment Questions With Response Processing

In the paper ‘Response Process Validation Protocol Using Neurophenomenological Gamma Asymmetry’, the research team explains the process TTI SI uses to observe the brain’s reaction to reading and answering questions during an assessment.

Our research team is looking at the firing of neural-networks, while participants take our assessments. This lets the research team actually see how the mind is processing an assessment question in real-time, and allows them to observe what the brain looks like while making decisions.

“It is important to realize that all decisions have an emotional component,” said Dr. Ron Bonnstetter, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at TTI SI. “When we make a decision, the initial trigger is more emotional than rational. We’re able to read the initial emotion of a decision, and not only that; we are able to follow the neural pathway as the subject reaches a final decision.”

“Statistical analysis of assessment items can tell us when an item may need improvement, but the brain scans give us insights into why it may not be working well,” explained Dr. Ron.


When we make a decision, the initial trigger is more emotional than rational. We’re able to read the initial emotion of a decision, and not only that; we are able to follow the neural pathway as the subject reaches a final decision.


What Happens When an Answer Doesn’t Add Up?

This research, in particular, is looking at when a subject reacts to a question, but answers in a way that indicates the opposite of their true emotional reaction.

The TTI SI research team has been able to discover several types of questions that emerge when there is a disagreement with their answer and what their brain is saying. Here are the most common types of questions that cause this conflict:




A ‘Socially Unacceptable’ Option

While there are no right and wrong answers to a self-reporting assessment, some phrases may have an implied meaning that was not considered when the question was written.

When the brain’s reaction is entirely different from the subject’s answer, the team goes back and revisits the question to determine if there is a socially acceptable ‘right answer’.


Neutral Reactions

Sometimes, the way a question is written does not elicit a strong positive or negative response. Assessment questions, by definition, are intended to identify individual differences.

Neutral brain activity provides clues to why some questions have what is statistically called “low discrimination”. The next step after these discrepancies are identified is to adjust the question after more research.


Double Negative Questions

If a question is grammatically confusing, it is normally reflected in the brain’s reaction. For example, a question like “I am not easily disturbed by events” disrupts the subject’s train of thought and makes them investigate the meaning of the question.


Confusing Wording

If a question is vague, wordy, or otherwise unclear, that is reflected in the brain processing and shows confusion for the subject. This brain research is able to discover if questions are written in a confusing way.

Why Does This Process Matter?

This process matters because it helps TTI SI continually improve our assessments. Dr. Ron explains, “While ongoing statistical analysis of our assessments can point out questions that may need improvement, our brain research provides insights into why the question may not be working. No other assessment company has this ability to uncover the mental processing behind decisions.


Once we understand why a question is not functioning well, we are better armed to make necessary adjustments. In addition, TTI SI has a test bank running in the background of our assessments, so new replacement questions can be proactively tested and updated when required.”

The TTI SI team is constantly working to create the most accurate and effective assessments available. This is just one of the ways our research team is working to learn and advance the science of self.

If You Want to Dig Further Into This Research, Read the Peer-Reviewed Published Paper