Understanding Statistics

August 18, 2013
Jaap Hollander

When you’re working with MindSonar, it can be important to have a basic understanding of statistics. Why? First of all, it’s good to know as much as possible about a system you’re working with. For instance, if you want to construct a real solid benchmark profile, it is useful to understand what correlation is. Or when you see a standard deviation in a team profile, it’s good to understand precisely what that means.

But also, answering questions about things like ‘validity’ or ‘Cronbachs alpha’ can be important if you want to be seen as a MindSonar expert. It’s good to know about these kinds of statistics, for instance, when you are discussing a large project with a potential client – or with the experts they bring in. And it’s not all that difficult, really. Especially since I scoured YouTube and found you some well designed instructive movies.

Reliability and Validity

The two statistical terms you will come across most often are ‘Reliability’ and Validity’. For some reason those two are usually presented as a duo. Maybe because these are the two most basic concepts to evaluate a test with. Reliability asks the question: “Are the test scores consistent?” The principle is, that if you are measuring the same thing repeatedly, you should get the same result each time. Validity asks a different question: “Does the test measure what it is supposed to measure?” With validity the basic idea is that you cannot measure temperature with a yardstick, you need a thermometer.

Reliability and validity can vary independently. All combinations are possible: reliable but not valid, valid but not reliable, neither reliable nor valid and finally the holy grail of test psychology: both reliable and valid. This graphic illustrates these four options:


In this first video, Donna Gregory gives you a very quick and easy overview of reliability and validity. The basics are really that simple!

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnF2hrLZHoA” autohide=”1″]


In the next video Andrew Conway, Senior Lecturer at the University of South Carolina, explains reliability and validity in some more depth. He also describes how reliability and validity may be measured in different ways.

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iMSlsZlaPE” playlist=”NLP Meta Programs MindSonar” autohide=”1″]

About the author 

Jaap Hollander

Psychologist, living in the Netherlands. Founded MindSonar in 1995. Directs MindSonar Global, which manages the ICT development, applications and the curriculum of the MS Certification Trainings. Working part time as a trainer, writer and coach as well as being an expressionist painter (artist name JAAPH, see jaaph.com). Has written 10 books on NLP and Provocative Coaching.

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  1. MindSonar really does have the potential to bring the change necessary to all firms and organizations in this day and age. The potential here is endless.

  2. I really appreciate all the digital resources, including the videos here on the page. Super interactive and informative, that’s for sure. Always a pleasure.


  3. I’m totally digging these video resources too. What a great way to showcase the product and learn a bit more about why it’s so vital to the leadership/business world. -al

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