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The Press Test

The Press Test measures the ability of an individual to perform a task under stress. This test is based on a long history of investigations in colour-naming, learning, perception, and personality and temperament. In the case of the Press Test, stress means interference caused by distracting stimuli.

On the job, a person may be called upon to make either automatic or novel responses. Work situations can present people with stress in terms of external and internal distractions which can detract from the individual’s performance. Because of temperament and personality differences, individuals vary in their ability to perform effectively under these distracting conditions. This test measures the extent to which people are capable of functioning adequately despite distracting conditions.

Using a relatively simple and structured task, the test measures generalized responses to distracting conditions. The Press Test incorporates distraction as part of the test itself. This is achieved by having the same cognitive tasks repeated under two conditions, first with no interfering background and second with an interfering background. The results of each section are then compared to give a measure of performance under distracting conditions. The lower an individual’s performance on the second section, the less the individual is able or willing to maintain adequate performance under distracting or stressful conditions.

Part III and III of the Press Test consists of four (4) columns of words which are the names of colours. Only four colour names are used. There are four corresponding columns of circles.

In Part 1 of the test, the individual is asked to put the first letter of each word in the circle which corresponds with that word. Since the same four words are used repeatedly, verbal comprehension is not involved. The score is a measure of the individual’s reaction time to simple verbal stimuli.

Part II measures his/her reaction time to colour stimuli.

Part III measures ability or willingness to work under stress.

When the score for Part III is compared with the score for Parts I and II (reaction time to verbal and colour stimuli without distraction), a measure of the effect of distraction on the individual is obtained.


Press Test scores are interpreted by comparing them with the scores of others who have responded to the instrument. Normalized standard scores ( NSS) are used for these comparisons. The NSSs are based on the results for all individuals who have completed the test, and are revised periodically as further results are collected.

NSSs may be subjected to any needed mathematical operation. Therefore, the NSS for any of the three Press Testscores will immediately show how the respondent scored in comparison to the normative group available. Press Testscores for different test-takers may also be directly compared.

It is sometimes convenient to convert NSSs into centiles. The value of centiles is that they immediately place a given score in relation to a score level for a particular normative population. For example, a score that translates to 84% indicates that the respondent’s score falls above 84% of those of the normative population.

Administrative Procedure

  • The Press Test is a paper-and-pencil test which may be individually or group administered.
  • The overall test may be administered in approximately 10 minutes. The time limits that test-takers are given for each section are:

Part I - 90 seconds

Part II – 90 seconds

Part III– 90 seconds


Above or Beyond is a trusted boutique Management Consulting firm with offices in Kingston, Jamaica and Florida, USA. With 70 years of combined expertise we work with individuals and organisations to solve problems and deliver outstanding results.

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