Where have the investigative occupations gone? Perceptions and misperceptions of occupations

Adi Amit, Lilach Sagiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do people perceive occupations? Three empirical studies examined whether occupations are perceived in accordance with Holland's RIASEC model. The studies varied in measures (reported preferences, similarity judgments) and participants (university students, working adults, and university professors). Taken together, the findings indicate that perceptions of occupations partially comply with Holland's model: All four samples perceived the realistic, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional as distinct environments (with the latter two intermixed). Moreover, the order of these environments is congruent with Holland's RIASEC order. The most notable deviation from the RIASEC model was the consistent misperception of the investigative work environment. Participants in all three studies overlooked the commonalities among investigative occupations, instead perceiving these occupations in terms of their content (as expressed by their second or third Holland letter code). Implications for vocational research, career counseling, and selection processes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-231
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Investigative
  • Perception of occupations
  • Vocational interests
  • Work environments


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