Herrmann Brain Dominance Inventory


There have been many discussions lately on various other psychological personality tests and inventories people have used throughout the years to categorize human behavior. One such method is called the Herrmann Brain Dominance Inventory, or HBDI. This week we’ll find out how it matches up to Insights Discovery and what characteristics the two methods have in common.

The Herrmann Brain Dominance Inventory, or HBDI, was created by Ned Herrmann in 1988. Herrmann was a management educator who worked for General Electric and developed this method as part of his education training with the company. The inventory identifies cognitive patterns in the way people think to find similar traits. The creation and theory behind the HBDI are much like that of Myers-Briggs.

Cognitive Basis of HBDI

Herrmann developed his inventory to help his employees and coworkers at General Electric find out the dominant patterns within their thinking and how this could affect their jobs and how they worked with others. In this way, it is similar to other inventories like Myers-Briggs and Insights Discovery. Herrmann focused on the cognition behind these thoughts and behaviors, creating four categories. These categories were Left Limbic, Right Limbic, Right Cerebral, and Left Cerebral.

The Left Cerebral category includes people who are rational thinkers, problem solvers, precise and analytical, and detail oriented. The Right Cerebral category includes people who are future-leaning, creative, visionary, innovating, conceptualizing, and challenging of existing rules. The Right Limbic category includes people who are strong interpersonally, social, open, caring, expressive, enthusiastic and empathetic. Finally, the Left Limbic category includes people who are structured, detail oriented, good at administrative tasks, consistent, and procedural.

Herrmann used what scientists knew about the entire brain system to create his inventory, which used the idea of dominant brain function to analyze why some people think and behave in a more rational or logical manner, and why others are more social and spontaneous. Insights Discovery uses colors to describe these similar categories.

Comparing Insights Discovery

The four categories of Herrmann’s Brain Dominance Inventory fit in a similar way to the colors of the Insights Discovery system but utilize different vocabulary terms to describe peoples’ strongest personality characteristics. Criticism of the inventory has been that it is too simplistic, but for Herrmann’s purposes, it worked well for the business environment he created it for.

Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves and others.  If you would like further help in identifying yourself or others as part of the four color personalities, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker. I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

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