What is Benzinger's Personality Assessment Model?
Dr Katherine Benziger is a true pioneer and leading expert in her field. Her work has for the past 30 years focused on the proper and ethical development and application of personality assessing in the global business environment.
- Significantly, Dr Benziger prefers the term personality assessing, rather than personality testing, to describe her approach.
- Katherine Benziger is keen to distance herself from the 'personality testing' industry, for which 'falsification of type', and the interests of the individual - rather than the organisation - are not generally seen as a priority concern. For Dr Benziger they are.
See also the Personality Models and Types section which includes more about Benziger's theory in relation to Jung, Myers Briggs, Eysenck, and other personality theories.
Additionally, Benziger's systems are not psychometric tests. Many non-scientific people now use the term 'psychometrics' to cover the wide range of systems and tools used in testing, measuring and assessing all kinds of attributes in people, but strictly speaking, this is incorrect.
- The term 'psychometrics' actually means the psychological theory or technique of mental measurement.
- Psychometrics and psychometric tests in this pure sense are often (and in certain countries necessarily) practised and administered only by people holding a PhD in psychology.
- This inherently can cause 'pure' psychometrics theory and testing tools to be less accessible for typical business and organisational applications.
Benziger's work, model and assessment systems are instead based on the measurement of brain function and energy consumption in the brain.
- This study of brain function is a different science, and a more recent one than psychology and psychometrics (the study of brain function has for instance been particularly aided by the advent of recent brain scanning technologies such as PET and MRI).
- The accessibility and application of Benziger's work and systems do not suffer the same restrictions and limitations as pure psychometrics and as such offer potentially enormous benefits to organisations.
Benziger is keen to focus on the common tendency of people in work, whether being assessed or not, to ' falsify type'.
- She rightly says that when people adapt their natural thinking and working styles to fit expectations of others, normally created by work and career, tension and stress results.
- People are not happy and effective if they behave in unnatural ways, and much of Benziger's work focuses on dealing with these issues and the costs of falsifying.
Relating directly to this is the work Arlene Taylor PhD, a leading specialist in 'wellness' since 1980 and collaborator with Benziger for much of that time.
Arlene Taylor's work has confirmed, and builds on, Benziger's observations about the cost of falsifying type, notably the identification anecdotally of a collection of symptoms (in persons who were falsifying type) which Taylor has labelled Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome (PASS).
PASS initially featured in the 1999 Taylor and Benziger paper 'The Physiological Foundations of Falsification of Type and PASS', and remains central to Benziger's and Taylor's work.
The complete family of symptoms which Dr Arlene Taylor identified within PASS (Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome), as linked to Benziger's Falsification of Type, are:
- Immune system alterations
- Memory impairment
- Altered brain chemistry
- Diminished frontal lobe functions
- Discouragement and or depression
- Self-esteem problems
Benziger's principal assessment system is called the BTSA (Benziger Thinking Styles Assessment).
Each of us possesses natural strengths in only one of these specialised areas, which causes us to favour and use a certain style ahead of others. (Outside of that one style, we may have strengths and weaknesses which are based on what competencies we have been exposed to or developed, and indeed which competencies we have not been exposed to).
Dr Benziger illustrates a person's brain dominance (preferences and tendencies) in terms of a brain diagram (viewed from above) when the relative strengths for each specialised area are plotted using scores from an assessment to produce a rhombus or kite shape. There is no right or wrong shape. The diagram is simply a way of visualising the bias of a person's brain, and the parts used more and better than the others.
Brain Type Model
Dr Benziger's model uses this representation of the brain (viewed from above, top is front) and the definitions below.
|Response to stimulus
Order and habit
|Remembers definitions. What is, is as described.
Rhythm and feeling
|Picks up the emotional tone and the presence or absence of harmony (including harmony between people). What is, how we feel about it.
Metaphor and imagination
|Sees the essence of things, in pictures and metaphors. What is, is something meaning or enabling something else.
Prioritising and logic
|Converts into logical results or effects. What is, leads to, or produces results.
Benziger says that people can have one and only one natural lead in which their brain is naturally efficient.
- They can and often do develop competencies in other modes.
- When they do in practice they will be using more areas of their brain, and when they do this the competencies outside their natural lead are always very draining.
Using the Benziger methodology and descriptions, here are some examples of brain types (which determine thinking and working styles), starting with the four modes and descriptions of each, shown as single-brain patterns.
Basal left - mode 1
Basal right - mode 2
Frontal right - mode 3
Frontal left - mode 4
Dual-brained - double left (modes 1 and 4)
Dual-brained - double right (modes 2 and 3)
Dual-brained - double frontal (modes 3 and 4)
Dual-brained - double basal (modes 1 and 2)
Triple-brained pattern example
The three other triple brain patterns:
bl/br/fr, br/fr/fl, fl/bl/br.
Only 5% of people are whole-brained.
Benziger gives examples of jobs that are often comfortable with people who have developed a particular combination of modes.
The list is by no means exhaustive:
|Lawyers, physicians, intensive care nurses
|Double lefts, with frontal left leads
|Accountants, MBA's, electrical engineers, hospital directors, implementer leaders,
|Double lefts with basal left leads
|Bankers, machine operators, machine repairers
|Ordering and purchasing clerks, record-keepers, filing clerks, book-keepers, personnel clerks, supervisors, head nurses, personnel officers, school administrators
|Receptionists, communications specialists, paediatrics, nurses, staff nurses, teachers, staff development specialists, trainers, community and public relations,
|teachers, head nurses, supervisors
|Entrepreneurs, geologists, architects, illustrators, wood craftsmen,
|Organisational development specialists, teachers, emergency doctors, dancers, painters, poets,
|Double rights with basal right leads
|Counsellors, psychologists, therapists, actors, musicians, interior decorators,
|Double rights with frontal right leads
|Counsellors, psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists
|inventors, chemists and chemical engineers, research scientists, economists, surgeons, hospital administrators, poets, composers, painters
|Basal left/frontal rights
|Journalists, librarians, community organisers,
|Triple-brain double right (right basal leads) with frontal lefts
|triple-brain double left with frontal right leads
|Leaders of large complex concerns
Benziger Model and Other Systems
Katherine Benziger makes several fascinating comparisons between the Benziger brain type model and other personality and behaviour systems:
Irwin Thompson's Archetypes in History (c 1970)
|leader in impossible situations
|authoritative, decision-making, results-driven
|double frontal, extraverted*
|motivates, inspires, enthuses, leads, persuades
|double right, extraverted
|reliable, listens, follows routines and rules
|double basal, introverted
|detailed, critical thinking, accurate
|double left, introverted
*See the Carl Jung definitions below of extraversion and introversion.
Carl Jung - Four Functions (c.1930)
|analytic, objective, principles, standards, criteria, critiques
|past, realistic, down-to-earth, practical, sensible
|subjective, personal, valuing intimacy, extenuating circumstances, humane, harmony
|hunches, futures, speculative, fantasy, imaginative
|behaviour directed inwardly to understand and manage self and experience
|behaviour directed externally, to influence outside factors and events
Brain Type, Friendships, Marriage and Mating
Dr Benziger also makes interesting observations about relationships:
- Most of us select friends who mirror our brain types. We do this because we feel comfortable with people whose mental preferences are like our own. If we find a friend with a near-identical brain type they are likely to become a 'best friend'.
The four most common brain developed patterns are:
- Double Basal
- Double Left
- Double Frontal
- Double Right.
- Single-brained people and multi-dominant triple- and whole-brained people find it more difficult to find friends, especially close friends because simply there are not many people who have developed so many modes.
The search for a marriage and mating partner is different.
- Rather than try to 'mirror', we tend to choose marriage and mating partners with brain types that will complement our own, that will cover our weaknesses.
Understanding your own brain type, and therefore strengths and weaknesses are helpful for self-development, managing relationships, managing teams, and generally being as fulfilled in life as we can be. Knowing your own strengths gives you confidence to take on responsibilities and projects in your own skill areas, and knowing your own weaknesses shows you where you need to seek help and advice.
- The Brain Type model also explains very clearly that hardly anyone is good at everything, and even those who are, have other issues and challenges that result from their multi-skilled nature.
If you want to know more about Dr Benziger's theory visit we'd strongly recommend you read Katherine's book, Thriving in Mind. The book enables the reader to perform a basic personality assessment using the Benziger model, which is highly illuminating.
- Benziger's Personality Types and Thinking Styles Theory
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Erikson's Psychosocial Theory of Human Development
- Graphology - Handwriting Analysis
- Kolb's Learning Styles Theory
- Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
- McGregor s X-Y Theory and William Ouchi's Theory Z
- McClelland's Achievement Motivation Theory
- Generational Nickmnames Model/Theory
- Personality Theories and Types