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Frequently Asked Questions
01. Why do I need to understand personalities?
Whatever situation you may be in, understanding personality theory helps you to be successful. With a real understanding of what motivates others and what their goals are, you can communicate more effectively, appreciate and tolerate the differences in others, and generally improve personal relationships.
This understanding will dramatically change the way you see yourself and others from now on. It will give you powerful insight into why people think, feel and act the way they do. In fact, it is so powerful that it can enhance and improve just about every aspect of your life.
The Insight Personality Instrument is an approach to temperament theory that instantly creates a sense of understanding and involvement. It combines experience-validated research with the best elements of other typing instruments into an exciting product that is not only accurate, but easy to understand and implement. The strength of the system is in its application. Because of its easily remembered "handles" and the ownership caused by self-discovery, users are more likely to remember the information and put it to use in their day-to-day lives.
The idea of classifying humanity into specific personality types is an idea that has been around for centuries. It has been found in the writings of the ancient Egyptians, Europeans, American Indians and Greeks. In fact, Hippocrates, the "father of medicine," wrote over 2,300 years ago that there are only four basic types of people. He named them after body fluids: the Choleric, the Melancholic, the Phlegmatic and the Sanguine.
In the early part of the 1900's, these ideas were studied in a more scientific manner. Some of the greatest minds in the western world examined human behavior and formed systems to classify people into specific behavioral groups. Carl Jung was probably the first to formalize the notion of different psychological or personality types. He was quickly followed by Ernst Kretschmer, Erich Fromm, Erich Adickes and Eduard Spranger who each developed a system for classifying personality similarities and differences.
In the 1940's, Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs were gathering information on how to classify people based on their choice of living styles. When Jung's works were translated into English, Myers saw that her work fit perfectly with his. In a few years, she published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, one of the first commercial instruments to identify personality types. The MBTI categorizes an individual into one of 16 types. Over the years, volumes of research has been conducted to try to prove the validity and accuracy of the MBTI, which is presently one of the widest-used psychological type assessment instruments available today.
In 1978, Dr. David Keirsey, a "behaviorist" psychologist, made significant contributions to personality theory. He took a fresh look at the writings of Hippocrates, Jung, Myers and others, and developed a fairly harmonious, yet accurate description of four basic personality types, which he called temperaments. Each temperament has four subtypes which correspond to those of the MBTI.
In 1994, Nathan K. Bryce, one of the founders of Insight Learning Systems, used the work of Keirsey and others as the basis for the Insight Personality Instrument, a patented system for identifying an individual's personality style. The Instrument assigns a color (Blue, Gold, Green and Orange) to each type and then systematically identifies an individual's color spectrum-their unique blend of four basic personality temperaments.
Developmental psychologists have debated for decades on whether human characteristics are more influenced by nature (genetics) or by nurture (environment). Carl Jung, the father of psychological type, believed our traits were linked to genetics-we were born with preferences in tact. However, he also believed that our preferences are shaped, strengthened or limited by elements of our environment, including our friends, family, religious beliefs, economic status, occupations, etc. So in other words, he believed, and we believe, that an individual's personality is a reflection of both factors. Both influence the way we see ourselves and the things we prefer. Neither factor alone entirely explains our actions.
There are a number of systems on the market that are used to help categorize behavior. Many share the same research base as the Insight Personality Instrument and correlation can be made between them. However, Insight shows its real strength when it comes to application.
We often ask seminar participants if they have ever taken the 160-item MBTI test. If they have, we then ask if they remember the results-their four-letter code. Most do not. But if they do, they seldom recall what the code means. If they cannot recall their type, or what it means, how useful or meaningful was the exercise? Are they better off than if they hadn't taken the test? Did they really get their money's worth?
The Insight Personality Instrument overcomes this obstacle by teaching people how to remember and incorporate type theory into their personal and professional lives. The true value of any theory or idea is in its useful application to real-life situations. Simply knowing that one is a particular type does little compared to what can happen when an individual fully understands how to use this information.
As one colleague said, "Insight sticks like Velcro to the brain." In fact, we have been told by MBTI trainers that our material and presentation model accomplishes more with participants in a few hours than they can with two days. Even in the briefest of our sessions, we find that people will almost always remember their "primary color" and the basic nature of the four personality temperaments.
Thank you. We've gone to great extents to make it as simple as we possibly could. This product is the result of literally thousands of interviews and decades of research. We've gone from family rooms to boardrooms and from day-care centers to college classrooms, to discover the best way to present these findings. As a result, we've developed a powerful, yet stimulating tool to make it both easy to understand and easy to use-regardless of age or background.
Insight is more user-friendly than other instruments. It allows people the opportunity to determine their own personality styles very quickly. A basic understanding of Insight can be grasped in a short time. People get familiar with the system quickly, allowing them to apply the concepts sooner. It is designed to be accurate, memorable and more simplistic than most. That is what makes it attractive and useable to the majority of the population. Most people, especially youth and children, are not interested in knowing why it works, just that it works. Of course, if you want more substance, then there is plenty for even the most sophisticated participant. We believe in feeding the "spark of interest" with kindling wood-not with the whole tree.
The process of determining temperament style is one of self-discovery. Insight allows people to identify their own uniqueness and feel good about themselves. Most other personality tests require the client or participant to answer a long list of personal questions. Once complete, the results are determined by computer software, hand-keyed masters, fancy colored pens or other tabulation methods. In each of these cases, it is the test that determines the personality type, not the person. Insight is different. It allows individuals to choose their personality types or temperaments through self-examination. This process creates an understanding and ownership of the principles and helps people fully explore their personal motives and see how they differ from others.
Besides, we have found that people prefer to assess themselves. With our materials, individuals can reassess themselves as often as they want. But more importantly, they have the tools and research to better understand the different styles and how to observe these styles in others. Isn't that more important than simply having your type declared to you?
Over the past 20 years, our personnel have worked with hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. We have worked in a variety of industries, including business, education, criminal justice and government welfare. We have worked with business executives, salespeople, clerks and secretaries, trainers, educators, religious leaders, community leaders and families. We have worked with children, youth and adults of all educational backgrounds, including those who have dropped out from traditional educational institutions. In all of these arenas, we have found that our personality products have been accepted by an unprecedented 98% of the people who have been exposed to them.
Over the years, we have also participated in the development of several well-received personality-based instruments, which are still being used today. Because our latest product, the Insight Personality Instrument, is such an improvement over its competitors, it is presently the only personality instrument on the market today which has been patented!
It depends. There are several different ways to identify someone's personality type, depending on the age of the audience, the amount of time allocated, and the degree of accuracy needed.
Full Discovery. The best way to discover a person's unique spectrum is by using the full-length Insight Personality Instrument. It is very accurate in what it does and only takes about 20 minutes to complete. It presents all four personality types in 10 different categories of life. These "categories of life" include: Values, Motivation, Communication, Supervision, Work, Recreation, Childhood, Youth, Education and Love. The person evaluates the text and graphics in the Instrument and assigns points to the items they agree with. At the end, the points are added up to get their color spectrum.
Quick Discovery. The next best way is to use our set of four Quick Discovery Cards. Each card has a graphic on one side showing the kinds of things that each personality likes to have or do. On the other side is a brief summary of the 10 different "categories of life" as found in the Insight Personality Instrument. Show the person the cards and let them pick the one that they most identify with. Over 90% of participants will accurately select their primary color in less than five minutes by simply using these cards. The cards come in three different versions for adults, youth and children. There is also an abbreviated version of the Insight Personality Instrument that is available for adults and youth. There are other versions of these that can be used in large group settings.
The Insight Personality Instrument identifies four different basic approaches to life, or temperament styles. The four different temperament styles are referred to as Gold, Green, Blue and Orange. The purpose of these colors is to serve as "handles" by which people can identify the different personalities. The use of a single color to represent a specific temperament accelerates learning. It gives life and meaning immediately, where word labels or initial codes require the learning of a new and unfamiliar vocabulary.
People sometimes make the assumption that everyone is the same. They think that even though behaviors differ, most people share the same value system and are motivated by the same desires. However, this is not the case. Even though common dreams and aspirations cross all ethnic, racial and environmental boundaries, there remain fundamental differences in how people view the world.
These differences are profound. People do not think alike or interpret information in identical ways. They do not learn in the same ways. They do not communicate in the same ways or place the same emphasis on relationships. They are not motivated by the same goals. They do not value the same ideals or have the same purposes in life.
The Insight Personality Instrument was developed to help people better understand themselves and those they relate to in daily life. It is a simple tool that reveals the similarities and differences in people. It provides a common, non-threatening way for people of all ethnic and social differences to communicate more effectively.
Yes. People who share temperament styles measure self-worth in similar ways. By learning about each style, all people can benefit by learning to appreciate the differences in joys, values and needs of the other temperament styles. Through the Insight Personality Instrument, people can learn to recognize different temperament styles without making prejudicial judgments.
This tool helps people understand the different ways people learn, think, establish personal values and conceptualize. It exposes, in an interactive way, attitudes, wants, needs, preferences, desires and the probable motivation behind behaviors. It helps people understand what others do to feel good about themselves. It provides a substantial base to help people predict behavior in all aspects of interaction. It is a means of opening channels of communication across ethnic, gender and other human barriers.
Of course. Insight also helps people identify their own strengths and sources of satisfaction. Sometimes people literally do not know what they want in life. They try so hard to want what they feel they are supposed to want and be what they think others want them to be that they end up experiencing great frustration without knowing why. Using Insight, people realize it is okay to be who they are and build on their own strengths without pretending they are something else.
The Insight Personality Instrument is not limiting. Because people are dominant in one color does not mean they do not possess some of the traits of another color. It only means they are more comfortable with one style. People of one color can learn to imitate the behaviors of another color, but their real strength lies in their primary color. Insight encourages people not to try to change their personalities.
The goal of Insight is not to pigeon-hole anyone into a neatly defined group. The infinite variety of human nature makes it impossible to exactly define a person by any specific type. The Insight Personality Instrument merely helps a person identify strengths and the primary basis from which he or she sees life.
For more precise classification, the system identifies a personal color spectrum composed of all four colors. An individual may be primarily Orange, but may also possess smaller amounts of Blue, Green and Gold. A person may have an equal amount of two colors, or none at all of one color. Given the possibilities, the variety is endless. Insight does not attempt to explain away every variant in human behavior. It does, however, provide some excellent guidelines to follow when dealing with others. It expands, rather than narrows, one's perspective and helps people view others as different, though not inferior, to themselves.
Every one of us has a unique color spectrum-a blend of all four personality types. Whether or not the Instrument reveals your "true" colors, has a lot to do with your circumstances and frame of mind.
Sometimes you may feel pressured to respond to the test questions the way you think you should, not the way you really do. Or maybe you admire some of the qualities of another type although you don't possess them yourself. Whatever the case may be, the test won't be able to identify those elements, and the results you get may or may not truly reflect your "true" colors.
So as you take the test, pretend you are standing naked in the shower. All of your worries, pressures, expectations, roles and responsibilities have been stripped away from you. All of your past experiences and behaviors are washed down the drain. There is no one around to pass judgment on you. When you get in touch with this person-the person you are deep, down inside- then you are ready to take the test. Remember, this is a self-reporting process. You are the expert on yourself.
Of course, you don't have to agree completely with the results of the instrument. It was only meant to be a starting place for your exploration of personality styles. Over time, as you learn more and more about each type, you may feel more comfortable believing that you have a different combination of colors. Eventually, you will settle on a combination that feels right-and this may be as close as you ever get to precisely identifying your true colors.
Many of the other personality typing systems describe personality types in negative terms, with negative labels. An important part of this instrument is to remove the negative and move into a more positive way of looking at the different types. Insight unveils the strengths of each personality and stresses the importance that people of each temperament style have in society.
It is vitally important to recognize that there are no right and wrong, or good and bad behavioral characteristics. Each personality type has its own set of values and standards that dramatically differ from the other types. It would be unfair to compare one set of values against another. Orange people aren't "bad" just because they like to goof-off and play around with their friends. And Green people aren't "wrong" when they prefer to be reclusive and avoid group activities.
It is also important to realize that each personality type has a collection of strengths that the other types do not possess. The world needs the strengths of each of the personalities in order to function. In fact, the success of almost every organization, relationship, business or enterprise relies on the strengths of each of the different personalities.
Individuals often demonstrate different personality styles at different times in their lives or even at different times during the day or week. For example, you might observe a friend to be one color at work, a different color at home, and a third color at social activities. While this could indicate that she is able to adjust her behavior to accommodate all three styles, it could also suggest that the different environments exert significant influence on her and overpower her natural tendencies.
A work environment, religious environment or family environment may cause people to "do" one color even though their natural tendency, if unfettered, would be towards another. For instance, in order to keep their job, most people have to conform to certain rules and procedures. While this may be a compelling motivation to act a certain color, it can also cause a lot of additional problems.
On the other hand, it is entirely possible to learn to "do" the behaviors of a different style. A Gold automobile sales manager may learn to do Orange behaviors in his workplace because that color more closely matches the style of his associates. Yet when he gets home, he may revert to his more parental nature and check on the performance of his children as to their chores, homework and manners.
Learning to "do" a style is not bad in-and- of-itself. It teaches us to be versatile and better qualifies us to cope with the events of life. It empowers us with the tools to give us more of what we really want in life. However, we must understand our limitations and balance the "doing" with what we can reasonably tolerate to maintain our own personal health and well-being.
The research indicates there is a true type for each individual that does not change over time. However, our ability to perform the behaviors of another color will more than likely improve over time. Young children under the age of five or six do a lot of experimentation with different behaviors, making it difficult to classify them into one particular type. From ages six to twelve, they usually settle on their dominant personality style and work out of that style most of the time. In adolescence and young adulthood, they begin exploring their secondary colors. Finally, perhaps by age fifty or sixty, they have learned how to "do" the behaviors of all the colors-making them more like a chameleon who can change to fit the demands of the situation.
Of course, learning to "do" all four colors is not limited to the old and wise. Each of us can, and should, develop a well-rounded personality. Doing so will only lead to a more productive and fulfilling life. All it takes is an awareness of personality differences and practice-lots of practice.
The Insight Personality Instrument has a wellness framework. The non-native work done to establish its reliability, validity, and other psychometric properties was performed on non-psychiatric audiences. Thus, any use of the test with psychologically disturbed persons should be done with the understanding that the results may not be meaningful. Some individuals have done work with the instrument on persons with multiple personalities and others outside the norm. While current thinking may not include such individuals in the dysfunctional category, such use was not the intention of the instrument. There is, therefore, no reason to assume that the results are meaningful.
We all pick the experts we wish to trust, whether the question concerns the nature of God, whether to have open-heart surgery or chelation therapy, or whether or not we need to take vitamins to supplement our diets. There are some psychologists who trust reliable, validated instruments to provide useful data and those who believe any such paper and pen "tests" are sheer gimmickry. Jung himself would not take the MBTI. As a clinical psychologist, he believed strongly in interview and observation as methodologies. So it is with many clinical psychologists today who are not just a little skeptical about such personality indicators.
Also, we have to realize that for a number of years Jung was not held in high favor in the psychological community. Freudians and others of non-Jungian persuasion are slow to sing the praises of a practical tool based on an "alien" theory. We also should admit that many of us who are knowledgeable in the field often spend our time working and publishing in the fields of management, teaching, and theology and have not had the impact in serious scholarly journals outside our fields of interest that we should. Thus it is only recently that articles on personality types have begun to appear in reputable journals of psychology.
There are also some trite uses made of personality tests, and occasionally those using it have not been properly trained to give quality feedback to clients. Any of these problems are sufficient to raise eyebrows among serious scholars. The most popular books in the field, moreover, Please Understand Me, Type Talk, Life Types, etc. while often entertaining and insightful, do little to advance the scholarship or research in the field, and the "data" remains anecdotal. These books are written, after all, for the layman and do not pretend to have the rigor associated with peer-reviewed scholarship.
Certainly the more a person understands type theory, psychometrics, and what preferences the various questions are attempting to sort out, the easier it is to answer the questions in accordance with the answers expected from different types. Greens seem to have a particular knack for doing this, if not a drive to do so. But to try make the results come out the way you want them to, flies in the face of reasons for taking the indicator.
First and foremost, the Insight Personality Instrument is a self-assessment instrument. It may be valuable to be able to understand colleague's behaviors, learning styles, communication styles, and the raft of issues we use the test for, but the principal use it has is to foster self understanding. Trying to come out any type we want to may be good sport for certain types, but it begs the question of why we take the test to begin with.
Learning styles can be defined as the various ways learners process and organize information as they interact with their environment. Students with different personality styles tackle learning in different ways. They have preferred ways of processing and organizing information. Teachers and students whose styles match each other usually have no difficulty in communicating about content. However, when the teacher's style is different from the student's styles, miscommunication or lack of communication can happen. The effective teacher will adapt teaching styles to meet the variety of styles of students in the classroom. It is not possible to match every style during each activity, but it is possible to address a variety of styles within a few days by using different types of activities.
Rita and Kenneth Dunn were one of the first theorists who popularized the notion of learning styles. In the mid 1970's, they studied classroom experiences and identified four dimensions in which styles differ: (1) environmental, (2) emotional, (3) sociological, and (4) physical.
It is a natural counterpart. Each of the four Insight personality styles uses a different combination of the four Dunn and Dunn factors. For example, a Blue personality type normally prefers a (1) warm, soft, comfortable environment, (2) a nurturing, motivating, student-centered instructor, (3) a stress-free, cooperative, peer workgroup, and (4) an opportunity for them to use their keen sense of intuition and creativity in hearing and sensing new information.
First of all, we need to define what is meant by reliability. In the world of psychometrythe branch of psychology that deals with the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traitsreliability is defined as "yielding the same or compatible results in different clinical experiments or statistical trials." Now let me restate the original question differently: "Does the Insight Personality Instrument work the same way each time you use it? Does it produce the same results time after time? Is it relatively free from random errors of measurement?" If you were to complete the Insight Personality Instrument today, and it revealed that you were a high Green with Gold as your secondary color, and we retest you six weeks from now, we would expect the same results. If however, you tested out to be a bright Blue with a bit of Orange, we would have to conclude that the tool was inaccurate and unreliable. The personality test would be of little value to us.
If a score on a personality assessment was reliable (repeatable), we would expect to see nearly identical scores on a retest. The smaller the variancethe more accurate the measure. The reliability of a measure is based on a statistic called a correlation coefficient which ranges from +1.00 to -1.00. According to statisticians, the correlation coefficient (r) measures the strength between two variables. When a coefficient approaches plus or minus 1.00, we have a very strong relationship, with +1.00 representing a positive relationship and -1.00 representing a negative relationship. A correlation coefficient of 0.00 would indicate no relationship. Correlations of ± .70 between two administrations on test-retest are considered adequate. The Insight Personality Instrument exceeds that requirement. The actual correlation coefficient average is +.92, which indicates the correlation between the results is very strong. Thus, this tool is said to be "very reliable."Of course, statistical research on reliability is an on-going effort. Furthermore, each variant of the Insight Personality Instrument (Spectrum Survey, Discovery Cards, Primary Color Preview, etc.) has a different reliability factor that is only revealed after a significant period of time. However, preliminary calculations indicate that these variants are similar to the original instrument.
Here's the bottom line: no matter which Insight tool you use to identify someone's primary color, chances are high that the tool will reveal the same color over and over again.
Validity basically refers to research that provides evidence that a test actually measures what it is supposed to measured. Is a person who tests out to be a Blue really a Blue? A test can be reliable, yet not valid. On the other hand, validity guarantees some degree of reliability. Huh? Perhaps the following diagram will help explain the relationship between reliability and validity:
If our test is valid, then people who test out to be a particular color really are that color. A valid test will provide a meaningful and accurate report of their personality spectrum.
So how do you know it is valid? Well, without going into our trade-secret methodology behind the Insight Personality Instrument itself that makes use of constructs, proxies, factor analysis, etc., let me provide a simple validity test that stands on its own.
Whenever individuals complete an Insight personality assessment device, we recommend that they are introduced immediately to the general characteristics of the four colors. For example, they can read a summary in the Discovering Your Personality Spectrum course workbook, or a chapter or two from Standing Naked in the Shower. Perhaps the facilitator can use the Discovering Your Personality Spectrum slideshow to compare and contrast the major characteristics of each type. Somehow, the test-takers need to understand the attributes of each color well enough so that they can validate their own test results.
In our live group workshops, we assess validity through the Poster Power activity. Immediately following the test, the audience is divided into groups of people who share their primary color. So all the Oranges are sitting together in one corner, the Golds in another, and so on. Then we give each group the assignment to create a poster that reflects their valuesthe things in life that bring them joy. If a participant doesn't agree with what is being written down on their poster then they may not truly belong in that group. In this case, the test may be invalid for them, and they are encouraged to roam around the room until they find a group where they feel comfortable. Of course, the test may, in fact, be extremely valid, and they are simply denying the results for one reason or another. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know for sure, unless you become an expert on each color and are able to observe attitudes and actions over an extended period of time and begin to see attributes that are characteristic of a particular color.
In our group workshops, the Poster Power activity yields a validity of 95-97%, meaning that 3 to 5 people out of 100 will move permanently to a different group. Of course, this is still a very subjective indicator, since the participants may or may not fully understand the different personality styles well enough to make an accurate classification. Nevertheless, this is still a high level of validity and outperforms many other popular personality tests.
On a more "scientific" level, the Insight Learning Foundation is currently conducting a multi-year survey to assess validity. Essentially, the sample group is comprised of college students who are tested at the beginning and end of a semester-long course which is based on the Insight Personality Instrument. The course is designed to make them experts on the four temperaments. If, after completing the course, the results of the first test jive with what they see themselves to be at the end of the course, then the test may be considered valid. As soon as the results are in, we'll post them here.
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