DWP ‘nudge’ chief: none forced to take fake ‘test’. DWP FOI: yes they were

Photo:Martin Seligman200px-Flickr_-_The_U.S._Army_-_Comprehensive_Soldiers_Fitness_(1)cropped

Thanks to skwalker and his continuing research of this topic I got interested in the claims Seligman makes about the academic credibility of his theories which underpin the Strengths Test used by the DWP in their unethical ‘random testing’ experiment. Its even more interesting that in the letter cited on skwalker’s post Seligman takes the trouble to assert how his theory of positive psychology has been published in reputable peer reviewed journals. (This is true and he’s published several books on the subject).  However, what he fails to mention is the overwhelming number of equally reputable critiques of his theories also published in equally reputable peer reviewed journals.  By omitting to mention the fact that ALL such theories in psychology – as I found out when I studied it myself for three years at university – are open to debate and conjecture and are not, as he would apparently like us to think his theory is, set in stone. I’m in the process of digging deeper into his theories and will post on this when I get it all together. Watch this space.


Last month I exposed the fake psychometric test the DWP was forcing candidates to take for behaviour-manipulation purposes, under threat of losing their benefits through ‘sanction’ if they did not comply. The story continues to rumble on.

On the 1st of May, the Guardian picked up the story and it became one of their most-read articles of the week. Shiv Malik, the author of that article, told me that the DWP was trying to deny all kinds of things in what seemed clearly to be a transparent attempt at damage limitation. It denied:

  • that the test referred to in the ‘jobseeker’s direction’ (JSD) letter was in fact the ‘my strengths’ test in question
  • that anyone had ever been forced to take the test
  • that anyone could have lost benefits for not taking it
  • that the test was bogus

These denials in the face of the evidence of the JSD letter…

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