Psychology Alumni Develops “Athletic Intelligence” Test

James Bowman ‘03G, ‘07Psy.D.

Psy.D. School Psychology

James Bowman ‘03G, ‘07Psy.D., has built a successful career as a school psychologist in the Great Neck Public School District. With business partner Scott Goldman, Ph.D., he has also built a thriving company that gauges the Athletic Intelligence Quotient (AIQ) of professional athletes. Dr. Bowman’s work has recently been featured in The New York Times and  Sports Illustrated, in addition to many other media outlets.

While a graduate student at St. John’s University, Dr. Bowman focused his dissertation research on the admissions process in graduate psychology programs. Because psychologists require advanced interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, Dr. Bowman explored how these qualities might be assessed during admissions. He compared results of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) with supervisor and peer ratings of competence for school psychologists and found statistically significant relationships between the two measures, improving the prediction of counseling and consultation skills beyond undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

In addition to work on his dissertation, Dr. Bowman served as a graduate assistant for Dawn Flanagan, Ph.D., and Samuel O. Ortiz, Ph.D. He learned from their seminal work on the Cattell–Horn–Carroll (CHC) Theory of Intelligence.  He also gained clinical experience through his externship at the Albert Ellis Institute during his fourth year in the Psy.D. program.  

From his advanced study of psychometrics and intellectual ability assessment, Dr. Bowman built his own test to measure the cognitive abilities that are most important in elite athletes. The AIQ is currently used by teams in the following leagues: Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Soccer (MLS). They are also being used by major Division I NCAA programs, US Olympic teams, European soccer clubs, and other organizations. It offers a reliable, valid, and efficient way for teams to assess the abilities of elite players during the recruitment process. 

Whereas traditional intelligence tests generally stress verbal ability and other, more academic aspects of cognitive functioning, professional athletes require visual spatial processing, reaction time, quick decision-making, and learning efficiency. The AIQ measures all these aspects of intelligence so that teams can make informed draft decisions and can improve coaching and learning, using strategies geared for the individual athlete. It conveniently utilizes tablet technology for ease of use and engagement and is now available in multiple platforms. 

Dr. Bowman credits his mentors at St. John’s with helping him build the foundation to develop the AIQ. His coursework, internship, and externship experiences provided him with the requisite skills to be successful in his roles as both a school psychologist and licensed psychologist in private practice.  

“Our faculty’s backgrounds in intellectual ability assessment and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) at St. John’s are tremendous assets,” he said.