[IPAC-List] Yelling Fire?

Joel Wiesen wiesen at personnelselection.com
Thu Jan 8 13:53:13 EST 2009

Hello IPACers,

The e-mail responses on yelling "Fire" show the question has been around
for a long time.

Now please indulge me in a few more requests for assistance.

1. Does anyone have a copy of the test administration and scoring
instructions for the question?

2. Is the question on the current form of the test (the WAIS, I am told).

3. Would anyone like to offer an opinion on the reasonableness of the

My take is that the question is antiquated, dating back to a time when
movie theaters were larger and less safe than today (due to a shift from
since large theaters to suites of small theaters, and to more stringent
fire codes concerning signage and exit and aisle size and the like).
Supporting this view is the operation of the little red fire call boxes.
When you pull one the house lights don't come on. All that happens
immediately is that the fire alarm sounds. That seems to be making an
announcement like shouting Fire.

Would anyone like to make a case for the question still being a
reasonable measure of judgment?



Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
Applied Personnel Research
27 Judith Road
Newton, MA 02459
(617) 244-8859

Joel Wiesen wrote:

> Hello IPACers,


> Does anyone know when the question about a fire in a crowded movie

> theater first appeared in a major intelligence test? My guess it dates

> to a time of lax building codes concerning exit signage, exit size,

> aisle size, aisle length, and (no) fixed seating, and a time of larger

> movie theaters.


> How is yelling fire different from pulling a fire box in a theater? When

> one pulls a fire box the fire klaxon sounds so all call hear it. What am

> I missing?


> Thanks.


> Joel



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