At a recent conference I attended, the topic of neuroscience and its relationship to personality was presented. This is a quick snapshot of the topic – mostly because I think it’s another example of understanding yourself better, and also understanding those whom you regularly interface with better. Better understanding myself allows me to understand what I need in my retirement life to make it my best life. And why some things other people need are so totally wrong for me!
At this conference, Dr. Helen Fishers spoke about how scientific research indicates that personality is 40% biology (nature) and 60% culture (nurture). Her recent scientific research has linked the biological aspect of personality to the levels of 4 neural systems in the brain, and your (individual) biological fingerprint (DNA) defines those levels. She has used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of the brain to physically observe exactly how the personality traits she measures align with the four broad neural systems – the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems
Neurocolor.com captures more info on the personality type assessment, but simplistically, a language of four colors/shapes is used to represent the four brain systems. Everyone has the four broad systems, but the intensity and specific traits are different in each person. One system often dominates and shows up, both positive and negative, in how we interface with others – how we communicate and influence, give and receive information, and even in the words we use.
Here is a snapshot of the four systems:
|Dopamine = excitability||Serotonin = traditional||Testosterone= competitiveness||Estrogen = rumination|
|Idea Generation & Curiosity||Process & Principles||Directness & Strategy||Empathy & Context|
|Born free||Pillar of society||Shoot for the stars||Philosopher king|
|Experiential, risk taking, energetic, sensation seeking, optimistic, enthusiastic, independent, impulsive, open minded, reckless, manic, active, unpredictable, adventure, spontaneous, passion, fun, travel, live life to the fullest, rules are made to be broken, extremes, loves surprises, possibilities, inventive, future oriented||Structure, familiar, conventional, follow the rules, calm, controlled, cautious, modest, social norms, do the right thing, orderly, fact-based, literal, logistical intelligence, organized, loyal, dutiful, dependable, importance of belonging, close-minded, modest, importance of values, respect, trust, procedures, efficiency, details, concrete thinkers||Direct, intent on achievement, ambition, tough-minded, strategic intelligence, rank focused, dominance matching, skeptical, daring, emotionally contained, competitive, sense of fairness, bold, decisive, fact based, demanding, get to the point, aloof, can’t read body language, not empathetic, uncompromising, self-disciplined, brutally honest||Big picture thinker, contextual, holistic, tolerate ambiguity, linguistic skills, nurturing, trusting, introspective, seeks harmony, inclusive, compassionate, emotionally expressive, reads people, can be scattered, gullible, indecisive, placating, consensus builder, hypersensitive, unforgiving, see meaning in everything, team work|
When we interact with someone with a significantly different personality, conflict can arise. Think about a conversation between a consider-all-the-possibilities and crazy idea generation of a dopamine-dominant personality with a get-to-the-point, fact-based, decisive testosterone-dominant personality. Or consider a procedure based, follow the rules, controlled serotonin-dominant personality having a meeting with a holistic, consensus seeking, emotionally expressive estrogen-dominant personality.
|There’s an on-line quiz to figure out your dominance. But in the past I’ve just used the visual cues with teams as an icebreaker: Using images drawn like this, I ask “which symbol do you relate to the most?” Most people can quickly respond to that question. And then I’ve talked to the team about the strengths each personality style each brings to the team; it has always been a fun icebreaker for new teams.
I always thought with this tool that I’m a rhombus – mostly a blue square, but with some of the sharp points of the red triangle. (That concept also displays the math geek inside me.) And I learned to value my yellow-squiggle and green-circle team mates.
In the on-line NeuroColor assessment, it concurred that I have equal Blue-Red dominance. You can see the organization blue-side of me in the above square summary table, and the red – “so what” side of me in trying to share what to do with this information! What was a bit of a surprise was I do have some yellow (future oriented thinking) and green (contextual thinking).
Everyone has a unique profile, and if you understand yourself and others better, you can adjust your communication style to better connect. My blue-red helps me understand my need for structure and planning; my hubby’s yellow dominance explains his love of free-flow days!
So, what’s your color?
And what are the colors of your best friend, you spouse, and/ or your kids?