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What PERSONALITY Type am I? (First Two Chapters)
What PERSONALITY Type am I?
A Brain-Based Guide to Personality and Relationships
By Gerald Hughes Cathy A. Meyers
What Personality Type Am I? A Brain-Based Guide to Personality and Relationships is not intended to replace sound medical advice. It is written solely for entertainment. Always consult a health professional regarding any physical, mental or emotional issues.
Because the study of personality and personality types is subjective, anyone applying the information contained herein does so at his or her own risk. This book was written for entertainment purposes and the reader agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the authors and their agents against any use of the information contained herein.
What Personality Type Am I?
A Brain-Based Personality ProfileAll Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2019 Gerald Hughes
The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
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Table of Contents
What Personality Type Am I? A Brain-Based Guide to Personality and Relationships is the user’s guide to the FACE Personality Model, a research-based personality model developed at the Neuro-Linguistic Learning Center (NLC).
For more than a decade, the mission of the NLC has been to help children, teens, and adults in overcoming the effects of dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning challenges. It was this research which became the foundation of the FACE Personality Model.
Much to the surprise of Learning Specialists at the NLC, it was observed that, in overcoming their own learning challenges, many students appeared to experience a profound shift in their personalities. It was observed that for many students, these personal transformations included reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, reduced negative behaviors, increased focus and attention, improved memory, and even increased empathy and trust.
At the time of these observations, the prevailing belief was that dramatic changes in personality occur rarely, if ever and if they do occur, they are usually dismissed or explained away.
These beliefs were backed up by numerous studies of personality models such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. These studies showed that people’s innate or neurological personal characteristics and traits rarely change over time.
When NLC students were observed experiencing significant personality changes, and in relatively short timeframes (several weeks up to 18 months), the reaction was pleasant surprise. As research into these apparent personality changes continued, several important distinctions emerged.
The first was that each of us appeared to have, not one, but two distinct personalities. One set of thoughts, feelings and behaviors we identified as our innate or “neurological personality”. The second set of thoughts, feelings and behaviors we identified as our “trauma-based” or “event-based personality”. Together, these two distinct and separate personalities combine to form our “apparent personality”.
Unlike previous personality models, the FACE Personality Model provides tools and insights which enable us to separate a person’s neurological personality from their trauma-based personality. This distinction seems to be a key to making meaningful and lasting changes in our behaviors and our relationships.
The second observation was that the source of personality – our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – is brain function and, specifically, brain dominance. This became a key distinction in the FACE Personality Model because it identified that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are not the source of personality but instead, are the result of specific dominant brain functions.
The implications of this observation are far-reaching and seem to conflict with prevailing therapeutic models. These current models, psychoanalysis or psychodynamic theory, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, etc., all rely on changing a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to change a person’s personality.
It’s no wonder that prevailing therapeutic methods typically take months or years to produce little or no meaningful results. Even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®) offers no explanation as to the cause or source of various personality disorders and relies on descriptions of a person’s behaviors to describe various conditions.
The foundation of the FACE Personality Model is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the result of specific and identifiable brain functions, and specifically, dominant brain functions.
With respect to relationships, the FACE Personality Model provides a new access to understanding, cooperation and communication. Again, by placing the focus on the source of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the FACE Personality Model provides a new access to the source of relationship struggles and successes.
The FACE Personality Model also examines relationships with respect to how we, as individuals, perceive and process information. By opening meaningful dialogue between different perspectives, the FACE Personality Model offers the possibility of taking both personal and professional relationships to a new level.
A note to coaches, counselors, teachers, and therapists: What Personality Type Am I? helps provide direct insights into the source of an individual’s neurological and trauma-based personalities. This can identify exactly where and how meaningful change is possible and advisable.
Our hope is that the FACE Personality Model opens up new possibilities for self-discovery, motivation, confidence, and personal growth.
Gerald Hughes, C.Ht.
My name is Cathy Meyers. I first met Gerald Hughes in 2006 at an NLP Practitioner Training. At the time, I was trying to start my new life after coming off a long struggle with alcoholism and addiction.
At this point in my life, I was really raw. Everything felt so overwhelming. I had no idea what to do with my feelings and I didn’t have any kind of map for what I was going through.
Growing up, my mother and grandmother seemed to be always making me wrong for demonstrating any creative thinking. My experience growing up was if I exercised any independent thought, I would be scolded or even punished.
As a result, I developed the habit of always trying to imagine what other people were thinking so I’d know how to act. I would check with other people over and over and try to ‘see through’ their words and figure out what they were ‘really’ thinking.
It was as if I wasn’t allowed to have my own ideas and desires. It wasn’t safe – I wasn’t safe unless I was acting the way I imagined someone else wanted me to act.
In one of our early sessions, Gerald helped me experience first-hand that there is no way for me to know what other people are thinking. This may seem obvious, but it was a surprise to me.
What I find most valuable about the FACE Personality Model is the guidance it offers to people who have experienced some form of trauma, whether physical or psychological.
Because of my own childhood experience, I was 50 years old and I didn’t even know who I was. Without any conscious awareness, I was pretending to be whatever I imagined other people wanted me to be. I was living with the constant fear that at any moment I would make a mistake.
Working with Gerald, I realized that what I think matters. It was a huge revelation and was probably the first of some major shifts in my personality.
I remember the, “Ah ha!”, moment when I realized what I think is me and what I imagine others think is not me. It was a complete 180 degree shift.
Many persons struggling with early trauma don’t know who they are. They look to others to define who they are. Every decision must be validated and re-validated by others.
In my work with Gerald and the FACE Personality Model, I came to understand the difference between my neurology and my trauma-based behaviors. I realized I wasn’t crazy. I realized I wasn’t broken.
I was able to experience who I am—my ‘real’ personality. I was able to see my Emotional, Extravert side. I was able to understand and appreciate my visual-spatial, creative thinking. I was able to realize that I like working with people and I really, really hate paperwork.
For the first time, I was able to experience self-acceptance. It wasn’t that I was OK because You said I was OK. I was OK because I said I was OK. That was huge for me. I was OK. I wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t have to be perfect. I could make a mistake. I could make a decision.
Oh, my! I spent so many years not being able to make a decision unless I felt that I knew what the people around me were thinking. It was a nightmare. There was no real path to success because I was afraid to really commit. It was like being paralyzed.
Working with Gerald, I was finally able to appreciate my own thinking. I was able to understand how my brain worked, how I was wired. I was able to feel that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to feel like I could be a success.
Of all the benefits I’ve received from working with Gerald and the FACE Personality Model, I think the biggest effect was learning how to be successful. Not by trying to be like someone else or trying to please someone else but by being myself, by trusting myself. Words can’t really describe what that has meant to me.
I’d lived my entire life without any idea of why I was doing what I was doing or why I was feeling what I was feeling. Gerald helped me realize that I am not my behaviors. I am not my feelings. I am not my trauma.
In my experience with the therapeutic community, it seems that conventional therapists and counselors do not distinguish our neurological personality from our event-based personality.
As a Counselor, my goal is to serve my clients as best I can and give them the tools they need to succeed. The more Gerald and I worked together, the more I saw the effects of the FACE Personality Model on my own life, and the more I knew I needed to include this model in my own Counseling.
Work together with Gerald to pull together his research and his experience at the NLC has been an amazing journey. I am both honored and humbled to have had this opportunity to work so closely with Gerald and see, first-hand, the evolution of this important work.
I will be eternally grateful for Gerald, for our work together, and for the life and success that I enjoy today. – Cathy A. Meyers
There may be no more important inquiry in a person’s life than answering the question, Who am I?
What Personality Type Am I? is your guide to the FACE Personality Model, a Brain-Based Personality Model, designed to help us understand the source of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The most important thing about the FACE Personality Model and this user’s guide is to HAVE FUN!
While it may seem like a contradiction, it is important not to take this information personally. I want to caution all readers not to impose morality or judgment on to these personality traits.
The FACE Personality Model is about understanding, not judging or criticizing. It is about knowing yourself. It is about understanding Why we do the things we do: why we think, feel, and behave the way we do.
There are no bad personalities. There are good behaviors and there are bad behaviors, but there are no bad personalities.
This is just one more reason why it is critical to separate personality from behavior. You are your personality. You do your behaviors.
Unlike previous personality models, such as the DISC or Myers-Briggs, which base their assessments on behavior, the FACE Personality Model is based on brain function and brain dominance.
The FACE Personality Model is a breakthrough in personality and relationship analysis in that it goes beyond a mere snapshot of our behaviors and, instead, identifies the specific brain functions and neurological tendencies as the source of those behaviors.
We’ve gone to great lengths to make this information available to everyone. In writing this manual, we’ve tried to keep the language plain and simple.
In some places, we’ve used a formal, more organized structure to present the information. In other areas, we stayed with the original dialogue to give the reader a sense of the personal nature and application of the information.
Please note that in our efforts to improve understanding and readability, we have, in places, taken some “literary license” and strayed from rigorous grammatical standards.
For these deviations as well as any other grammatical errors which we may have missed in our efforts to make this information available, we humbly request your patience and offer our sincere apologies.
If you’ve been wanting to improve your relationships, your job performance, your ability to learn, or if you’d just like to feel better about yourself and your choices, the FACE Personality Model may be just what you’ve been looking for.
As you gain insight into yourself and others, try to remember:
Your past does not equal your future.
Behavior does not equal personality.
Above all, be patient with yourself and others.
Many if not all readers are familiar with one or more personality assessments: Carl Jung’s model, DISC, the Myers-Briggs MBTI, the Four Greek Temperaments… With all these existing personality models (and more), why do we need another personality assessment?
This is an excellent question. It’s important for every reader to understand why understanding the FACE Personality Model is important to them. Why should they be interested in reading this book? What does all this research into brain function and personality mean to them?
So, let’s look at these existing personality tests and their corresponding models. What do they have in common? What do they do? And more importantly, what don’t they do?
Fortunately, there is a lot of research to help us answer these questions. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the DISC and the Myers-Briggs MBTI.
While they each have their differences, the research shows that these behavior-based personality models are effective at taking a picture of a person’s behaviors and organizing those behaviors into patterns.
Even more relevant, from those patterns, we can extrapolate other behaviors that may not have been specifically identified in the actual test.
I can’t emphasize this enough, that with all of these “behavior-based” personality models, such as DISC, Myers-Briggs, and others, what you get is at best, a snapshot in time of a person’s likely behaviors in one or more situations. Moreover, the effectiveness of these models is based on the presumption that these behaviors do not change over time.
So, the first difference between the FACE Personality Model and these behavior-based models is that we don’t base our analysis on a person’s behavior. We base our analysis on the person’s dominant brain functions or you might say their “neurological preferences.”
Cathy: This is so fascinating. For some time, I’ve had questions about my own results using Myers-Briggs and DISC. I’ve often wondered why I seemed to get different results at different times. And I’ve especially struggled with answering some questions regarding my behavior in different circumstances.
Would you please clarify the difference between behaviors and what you’re calling neurological preference?
Gerry: The difference is that a person’s behavior is driven by how that person perceives a situation and how they feel about that situation. And if you change how that person perceives that situation or how they feel about that situation, their behavior will change – often dramatically.
You don’t have to be a psychiatrist or psychologist to know that when a person is anxious or stressed, their behavior will likely be very different than when that same person is relaxed.
Did that person’s actual neurological personality change? No, not at all. But their behavior changed dramatically. So, I think it’s very dangerous to try to equate behavior with personality. What you get, at best, is their “apparent personality” in the context of a given situation.
Now, if your only interest is in gauging a person’s apparent personality in a specific situation, for example, at work or at home, then yes, you can use DISC or the MBTI to get a snapshot of that person’s behavior in that situation. And if nothing changes, that apparent personality should hold up over time.
Cathy: Then, what you’re saying is that a person’s behaviors may not be consistent with their personality: that a person may react differently to a situation depending upon how they perceive that situation and how they process that information?
Cathy: And this perception and process can change from moment to moment?
Cathy: And these changes in perception and process will affect that person’s personality?
Cathy: Then, why does a person’s perception of a situation change? How do they change?
Gerry: Again, great question. And the very short answer is: stress. Stress is the key. How much stress a person feels in each situation, will profoundly influence that person’s sensory access or perception of that situation, their Consideration of that sensory information, and ultimately, how they respond, react, or behave in that situation.
To be clear, I’m using the word “stress” as a neurological catchall. Fear, anger, stress and anxiety are all types of neurological stress. They are all a function of the sympathetic nervous system, which we will discuss in greater detail later.
A word on anxiety and depression. You might say these two emotions are in a class by themselves. While our basic emotions, like fear, anger, sadness and guilt are typically ‘triggered’ by specific events, anxiety and depression are ‘indirect’ or ‘meta-emotions’ and are typically the result of chronic emotional distress.
So, generally speaking, anxiety and depression are not neurologically based. While there are persons suffering from anxiety or depression resulting tome some form of chemical imbalance, for most persons, anxiety and depression are the result of chronic stress or sadness.
For now, it is enough to say that when a person is relaxed, when their Parasympathetic Nervous System is active, they have a specific neurological response to their environment. Conversely, when that person is angry, stressed or afraid, when their Sympathetic Nervous System is active, they will have a very different response to their environment.
It’s very reasonable to conclude that everyone has two fundamental personalities: their sympathetic (stress) personality, and their parasympathetic (relaxed) personality. More importantly, for each of us, one of these personalities is dominant. It is so important, let me say that again: we all have two distinct personalities and one of them is dominant.
Cathy: So, when you take the Meyer-Briggs test it turns out different depending whether you are in sympathetic or parasympathetic state?
Gerry: It’s more complicated than that. Because we can all feel differently about different areas of our life.
Let’s say, for example, you feel good about yourself and the world with respect to your family and relationships, but you have a lot of stress and anxiety with respect to your career or your education.
Many of your behaviors and answers on the MBTI with respect to relationships may score as Judger, while your answers with respect to career and school may score as Perceiver. This is just one of the reasons why people can get confusing or mixed results with the MBTI.
As an aside, the research into DISC confirms that taking the DISC assessment while focusing on different areas of your life will change your results. The instructions for DISC suggest taking the DISC assessment multiple times while focusing your answers on a specific area of your life.
Another reason for getting confusing results with either the Myers-Briggs or DISC is that you may be particularly stressed or anxious when you’re taking the assessment.
There’s even a third reason why your apparent personality in Myers-Briggs or DISC can change. Let’s say you were born parasympathetic dominant – we’ll call this your neurological personality – but later, you were subjected to sufficient trauma or stress to cause you to behave as if you were sympathetic dominant (some call this PTSD).
In this state, if you take the MBTI or DISC or even the FACE Personality Test, it is very likely that you will score as sympathetic dominant (MBTI, Perceiver). But your score is not “natural”; it’s the result of one or more traumatic events. And if you are lucky enough to get the proper counseling or therapy, your personality and your behaviors would likely undergo a dramatic change, as would your personality scores.
The point of this digression is that it is not enough to simply get our scores in any personality test: we need to understand the source of those scores. For example, in the world of education, it is critical to know whether a student is struggling with a stress-related issue, like PTSD, or if they’re struggling with a neurological issue, like dyslexia, ADHD, or autism.
Cathy: When I used to take the Myers-Briggs, all the questions about social stuff stressed me out.
Gerry: So, your answers were totally different.
Cathy: When I was stressed out about social stuff I was tested as a Perceiver and after working with you, when I was no longer stressed out about social stuff I tested as a Judger.
Gerry: Exactly. That is a perfect example of addressing the underlying issue: in your case, PTSD. Once that chronic stress was removed, your underlying, neurological, personality came through and your test results changed.
Unfortunately, that type of radical change is relatively rare, and there is a so-called body of evidence that says personality change can’t happen.
Sadly, most people don’t change over time. Most people don’t get therapy, most people don’t get counseling or coaching.
In addition, most counselors are still using outdated methods or they’re attempting to apply counseling methods appropriate to stress-related issues to neurological issues, like ADHD.
It’s important to understand that issues like dyslexia, ADHD and autism are almost never the result of trauma or emotional stress. These are neurological issues, so all the psychotherapy in the world is not going to fix them.
Cathy: So, I have two personalities and one of them is dominant. Which of these personalities do the DISC and Myers-Briggs measure?
Gerry: Good question. To put it simply, unless all your answers on those personality tests are based on your sympathetic (stress) state or all your answers on those personality tests are based on your parasympathetic (relaxed) state, then all those tests are measuring both of your personalities.
Unless you can separate which of your answers to those tests are stress-based and which answers are relaxation-based, you really have no way of knowing what mix of personalities they are measuring. Your results are a mash up of two personalities.
Cathy: And if a person gets therapy or coaching to reduce their level of stress and anxiety…
Gerry: That mix of personalities is going to change. Ideally, you’ll see more of the parasympathetic personality and less of the sympathetic personality. And, conversely, what do you think happens when a person is suffering from generalized anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Cathy: Is this more of their sympathetic personality?
Gerry: Exactly. Did that person’s underlying personality change? No! Not at all. But their apparent personality changed dramatically and so does their behavior. And we’ll talk more about that later as well.
So, the FACE Personality Model does not focus on behavior, because behavior changes with respect to a person’s level of fear, stress, or anxiety.
To get an accurate picture of a person’s personality, you need to put behavior aside. You need to look at the neurological mechanisms driving that person’s behavior.
The FACE Personality Model places its focus on the four dominant brain functions that determine to a large extent how a person perceives sensory information, how they process that information, and how they respond or react to that information.
Cathy: Brain functions. So, it’s brain function in the form of perception and process that determines a person’s behavior?
Gerry: It’s brain function, or more precisely, the dominant brain functions which determine our perception, our personality, and ultimately our behaviors. Can you reliably extrapolate behavior from brain function? Yes! Can you reliably extrapolate brain function from behavior? No! Not reliably, no.
Cathy: Then how do these behavior-based personality models, like DISC and Myers-Briggs work? Why are they so reliable?
Gerry: They are reliable in the same way taking a person’s picture is reliable. A person’s face does not change from day-to-day. They barely change over time without some outside influence, like an injury or plastic surgery or extreme aging.
So, let’s take the Myers-Briggs MBTI. The person answers a series of questions about how they behave in a variety of situations and then you tally the answers and score that person in the four basic categories and you get a picture of the person’s behavior-based personality: a snapshot in time as to how that person will respond to a given situation.
Unless a profound change occurs in how that person perceives or feels about one or more situations in his life, he will continue to respond and behave the same as he always has. And when you generalize those responses to patterns, those patterns will remain remarkably consistent over time. The available research will bear that out.
Cathy: Then what’s the problem?
Gerry: There is no problem as long as you use these models as you would use a snapshot in time and as long as you assume the same basic perception and the same level of anger, stress and anxiety over time and that snapshot is useful in hiring or choosing a career, improving relationships, even match-making: any decision that might benefit from having a picture of a person’s behavioral patterns or tendencies.
Cathy: If they’re already good at what they do, why do we need another model? What am I missing?
Gerry: What you’re missing is knowing which traits or behaviors are sympathetic or stress-based and which are parasympathetic or relaxed based. What you’re missing is a way to identify which of a person’s behaviors may be the result of trauma or stress.
Cathy: OK. So, we have our sympathetic personality and our parasympathetic personality. How do we tell the difference?
Gerry: That is the $64,000 question. That is where the FACE Personality Model comes into play. That is where the FACE Personality Model picks up where the DISC and MBTI left off.
Because the FACE Personality Model looks at brain function instead of behavior, it automatically identifies the balance between the person’s sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. This makes the FACE Personality Model, for lack of a better word, a diagnostic tool for analyzing personality.
Cathy: A diagnostic tool? How? Why?
Gerry: Let’s put it this way. On one hand, if a person is completely happy with the results he is getting in life and he wants to continue getting those same results, then he does not need to change his personality/behaviors.
However, if a person is not happy or satisfied with the results he is getting in life, and he wants to change, the FACE Personality Model can help him understand why he is not getting and what he might change to help him get the results he wants. The FACE Personality Model can provide him (or his coach, therapist, trainer) the neurological road map to help him make the necessary changes to achieve those results.
If a person has become aware of differences between how he behaves and who he thinks he really is, the FACE Personality Model can help him separate the behaviors associated with his sympathetic (stress-based) personality from those behaviors associated with his parasympathetic (relaxed) personality.
Cathy: What about relationships?
Gerry: We’ll discuss the FACE Personality Model and how anyone can use it in a variety of ways to help them with their relationships (and their love life).
Let’s say a person seems to be experiencing a lot of unwanted conflict or competition with people at home or at work: the FACE Personality Model can help them uncover the source of this conflict or competition. The FACE Personality Model can provide the tools to eliminate the conflict or competition and replace them with cooperation and collaboration.
In short, the FACE Personality Model enables us to separate, deconstruct, and diagnose those aspects of a person’s personality which are likely coming from a relaxed state and which are likely the result of stress, anxiety or trauma.
Cathy: Who can use the FACE Personality Model as a diagnostic tool?
Gerry: Essentially anyone. Individuals, couples, parents, employers, coaches, therapists, teachers, and counselors: anyone interested in making changes in their own life or helping others make changes in theirs.
The FACE Personality Model is the key to separating which personality traits or behaviors may be the result of trauma or stress from those which are, more than likely, part of that person’s relaxed, parasympathetic neurology.
You cannot use behavior-based personality models, like DISC and Myers-Briggs for diagnostic purposes. They do not distinguish between a person’s sympathetic personality and his parasympathetic personality.
That is the FACE Personality Model in a nutshell. It is a tool for deconstructing – diagnosing, if you will – the source of behaviors and their associated personality traits.
If you want to change, if you want to peel back the layers of the onion to rediscover the real you, if you want to help others effect positive changes in their own lives, then the FACE Personality Model is exactly what you need.
I hope that kind of answers the “why” of why do we need one more personality model? I hope every reader will not only find themselves in this text but find a new access to personal growth and empowerment.
The FACE Personality Model is based on the four primary brain functions: Feeling, Access, Consideration, and Excitement – FACE. These are the four brain functions which largely determine how we filter, perceive, process, and evaluate sensory information and ultimately how we respond to that information.
The FACE Personality Model is a detailed look at how a person’s dominant brain functions help determine their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors: essentially, their personality.
This is an important distinction: that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are not random or arbitrary, but are instead the result of understandable and predictable brain functions, and specifically, which of our important brain functions are more dominant than others.
What exactly do we mean by “dominant brain functions”? Simply put, dominant brain functions are those functions upon which we tend to rely on a day-to-day basis.
Think of it this way: a person is born with a certain personality. Strike that. Go back even further. A person is conceived with a certain personality. Let’s call this their “genetic” or neurological personality. As they grow in the womb, and especially in the first few years of life, a person’s body and brain are going to develop according to their genetics (nature) and according to their environment (nurture).
Depending on an almost infinite number of factors, this combination of nature and nurture is going to have a profound effect on how that brain develops and which specific brain functions develop faster or stronger than others.
It is these stronger, more dominant brain functions which caught our attention at the Neuro-Linguistic Learning Center, and specifically, the four major brain functions which appear to be the source of much of our personality.
With respect to brain dominance, and specifically Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Dominance we have to clarify a few things.
There has been much debate about “brain dominance” or “right-brain vs. left-brain”. And this vernacular has absolutely led to confusion. To clear up some of that confusion, we need to go back to the work of Roger W. Sperry.
Sperry was a psychobiologist and a Nobel Prize winner who did some amazing research on the brain back in the 1960’s. What his research revealed was that the two hemispheres of the brain function very differently.
Specifically, he observer that the left brain is more auditory/verbal. It’s better at order and sequence, linear thinking, basic mathematics, organizing by features and characteristics.
Conversely, the right brain is more visual-spatial. It’s more creative and intuitive. The right brain is better at visualization and imagining, big picture thinking, and recognizing patterns and rhythms.
Now given the obvious fact that people have different strengths and weaknesses which correspond to the left brain and right brain functions, a team of neuroscientists set out to see if one hemisphere of the brain actually developed more or faster than the other.
And after conducting MRI’s on over 1,000 people, they found NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that there was any appreciable different in physical development of either hemisphere.
So, to be clear, physically speaking, there is NO SUCH THING as left-brain or right brain dominance. At best, it’s a metaphor or analogy for differences in processing sensory information. Structurally, physiologically, your left hemisphere and your right hemisphere are exactly the same.
However, human beings are NOT a one-size-fits-all. If the two hemispheres are structurally identical, how can there be such a wide variety in human behavior and apparent ability?
The reason is NOT in the physical STRUCTURE of the brain, it’s in the USAGE or ACTIVITY going on in the various parts of the brain.
Years after the work of Sperry, Dr. Daniel Amen conducted over 10,000 SPECT scans (Single-photon emission computed tomography) and confirmed that while the hemispheres are physically similar from person to person, the activity within and between the hemispheres can be radically different from person to person.
Dr. Amen’s analysis of brain activity was so detailed, he was able to identify seven (7) distinct types of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
The conclusion here is that for most people the left and the right hemispheres are physically identical. However, the activity within those hemispheres and between those hemispheres can be radically different. And for the purposes of personality and behavior, it is the activity of those brain functions upon which we will focus.
For convenience, we will refer to these four primary brain functions as FACE: Feeling, Access, Consideration, and Excitement. Before we begin a detailed examination of these primary functions, we’re going to take a moment and examine the flow of sensory information and the order in which sensory information is filtered, perceived, and processed.The following chart illustrates the flow of sensory information: what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch which is ‘processed’ through a series of brain functions. These important brain functions filter, sort, process and store this information in a way that allows us to make sense of our world.
The results of all this filtering, sorting, processing, and storing, are our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, or what most experts would call our personality.
Note that the flow is circular in that the results of each “event” becomes a source of information for all subsequent events.
The first step in the flow of sensory information is our Dominant Feeling. How we feel provides the context or filter through which we will perceive and process this information.
The second step in the flow of sensory information is our Dominant Access. How we access sensory information is critical to our overall perception, organization, and storage of information.
The third step in the flow of sensory information is our Dominant Consideration. This dominant brain function determines how we evaluate information and how we make decisions.
The fourth step in the flow of sensory information is our Dominant Excitement. Our level of excitement determines how we respond neurologically to sensory information.
The results of this process are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which make up our personality.
Our focus will be on four fundamental brain functions: Feeling, Access, Consideration, and Excitement that largely determine how we perceive our world, how we process that sensory information, and, ultimately, how we respond or react to a given situation (feedback).
In our FACE Personality Model, the first dominant brain function is, Feeling. This function has two possible states or traits: sympathetic dominant and parasympathetic dominant.
Sympathetic dominant people tend to be more alert to their surroundings. As a group, they’re more active and physically fit. However, if their stress and anxiety get the better of them, they can become very overweight.
Sympathetic dominant people are more reactive and can be either hyper-alert to their surroundings or hyper-focused and virtually oblivious to whatever is going on around them.
Sympathetic dominance is a personality trait that often bears closer inspection. The issue is that sympathetic dominance can be the result of either neurology or trauma.
If it is part of your neurology, you may find yourself struggling with one or more symptoms of ADHD, OCD, or autism. If it is the result of past events or trauma, you may want to consider some form of counseling, possibly for childhood trauma or PTSD.
As we will discuss at length, sympathetic dominant people may struggle with relationships, impulsivity, sleep, addiction and/or alcoholism.
Conversely, those who are parasympathetic dominant are generally more relaxed and less stressed than those who are sympathetic dominant.
Parasympathetic dominant persons tend to be more focused and more comfortable sitting for long periods of time. They’re more thoughtful and, unless excited or stressed, are generally more responsive rather than reactive.
In our FACE Personality Model, the second dominant brain function is Access. This function has two possible states or traits: Visual or visual-spatial and auditory or auditory-Verbal.
Visually dominant people are generally highly intelligent, creative, inventive, non-linear, outside-the-box thinkers. The visually dominant are often musical and/or artistic and tend to organize information by patterns and associations rather than characteristics and features.
Some visually dominant people may struggle with organization, completing projects, and maintaining even a simple schedule. Those who are extremely sympathetic dominant and visually dominant may struggle with one or more symptoms of dyslexia, ADHD, and/or autism.
Conversely, Auditory Dominant people process information sequentially, are generally highly organized and tend to start what they finish. They are generally good listeners and story-tellers and often have a good sense of order and sequence and enjoy being on time.
The third dominant brain function in the FACE Personality Model is Consideration. This function has two possible states or traits: logically dominant and emotionally dominant.
People who are logically dominant are more likely to evaluate information and make decisions based on logic and reason and for them, rational thinking comes naturally.
Logically dominant persons are typically comfortable taking the opposite view and may be prone to argue. They may tend to dissociate from their emotions and may struggle with intimacy and a lack of empathy.
Conversely, persons who are emotionally dominant will tend to base their decisions on emotions and feelings. Emotionally dominant people will naturally associate into their emotions and have a strong sense of empathy for others. They can make friends easily and naturally enter rapport with others.
The fourth dominant brain function in the FACE Personality Model is, Excitement. This function has two possible states or traits: dominant under-stimulated and dominant over-stimulated.
Dominant under-stimulated people are stimulation-seekers. They enjoy action and excitement and may be easily bored. Dominant under-stimulated are generally extrovert, enjoying loud parties and large events.
Conversely, dominant over-stimulated people are typically stimulation avoiders. These persons can be easily over-stimulated and may avoid loud parties and large events. Those who are dominant over-stimulated are often introverts and may be naturally shy.
Personality Traits are Dominant--Not Exclusive
It is vitally important to remember that these personality traits and functions are not exclusive; they are each dominant traits and only with respect to their respective counterpart.
We might think of these dominant brain functions as the first-string players on a sports team: these are the players that play most of the game. Each player has a backup or substitute sitting on the sidelines waiting to step in if the need arises. But it is the first-string players who tend to “dominate” the game.
You’ll no doubt notice some similarities between the FACE Personality Model and other models, like DISC and Myers-Briggs
The reason for this is that all personality models must, in some way, reflect the basic human functions and behaviors. Whether we’re looking at the Four Greek Temperaments, or Carl Jung’s personality model, or the work of Myers-Briggs and others, we’re all dealing with the same basic human functions and behaviors.
In the FACE Personality Model, we focus on the four fundamental brain functions. As we have described, each of these functions has two possible traits or states. This combination of functions gives us 16 possible personalities.
These sixteen personalities are similar in many ways to the sixteen personalities in the Myers-Briggs and other personality models but there are significant differences.
The principle difference between the FACE Personality Model and others is our focus on brain functions and, specifically, dominant brain functions. It is our dominant brain functions that are the source of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The second key difference between the FACE Personality Model and others is the understanding that our personalities can change depending upon our feeling state (sympathetic vs. parasympathetic).
The third key difference between the FACE Personality Model and others is in separating a person’s apparent personality from their natural or neurological personality, the FACE Personality Model shows us which personality traits and behaviors are amenable to change via counseling or therapy and which traits and behaviors may require retraining or accommodation.
The most important thing to remember is that nothing about our personalities are carved in stone.
People are living beings with a remarkable capacity for change and growth. The point of this book is to increase our understanding and awareness of who we are, why we are the way we are, and how we can change our thoughts, feelings and behaviors to improve our results and find greater enjoyment in life.
Our hope is that the FACE Personality Model becomes an opportunity for self-discovery, motivation, confidence, and personal growth.