Values & Morality

This republished article on Linkedin resonates well with the learnings taken from the Values Arrangement List (VAL) assessment, available on your administration account system, namely the benefit of Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 3.28.26 PMranking

your values to identify what your priorities are and taking time to reflect upon what your values are and how they link to your behaviors.

Are you a good person? Morality experts say this is how to find out

, USA TODAYPublished 12:44 p.m. ET Dec. 26, 2017

At the end of each year, we take stock of who we are. We think about our diets and exercise routines. We wonder if we’re frugal enough, ambitious enough, whether we’ve read enough books or spent enough of our time wisely. We question if we’re in the right job or the right relationship. We try to imagine how we can better enjoy our lives.

But in the last couple of years particularly, many are thinking less about waistlines and paychecks and more about how the things we do matter in the wider world.

Marist Poll found “being a better person” was the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2018. It was also the No. 1 resolution in 2017, marking a shift from the previous decade in which “losing weight” topped the list 80% of the time (in 2018 it tied).

“There’s a crisis in the United States today, that too many of us have lost the sense of collective responsibility for our neighbors,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of the nonprofit T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.  Many people want to regain that.

But what does it actually mean to be “good?” Social psychologists, ethicists and religious leaders say we see eye-to-eye on the big stuff. We believe it’s good to be kind, fair and just; it’s bad to cheat, murder and steal.

“The truth is that when you’re talking broad strokes, no matter where you look, people value similar traits in character,” said David Pizarro, a Cornell University professor who studies moral reasoning, judgment and emotion.

Evidence suggests we’re all born with some innate sense of morality and fairness, which makes us sensitive to the distress of others, Pizarro said.

What influences our values?

So why do we behave so differently? For one, the morality we end up with as adults is influenced by how we’re cared for and socialized. This “central morality” forms through “the experience of being loved with empathy and kindness,” said Darcia Narvaez, a University of Notre Dame psychology professor who has studied the neurobiology of moral development.

The reason we ultimately diverge on so many moral issues, experts say, is because we rank our values differently. Cultural psychologists have found political variations, for example: conservatives place importance on values such as loyalty and authority, while liberals prioritize care and fairness.

These differences influence how we view issues such as abortion, homosexuality and racial and gender inequity. They help determine everything from whether we drop money in a homeless person’s cup to which president we see fit to lead. They dictate to whom we show compassion, and from whom we withhold it.

Time and place also affect how we rate moral issues. Only 1% of Germans said using contraception is “morally unacceptable,” while 65% in Pakistan agreed with that statement, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study. In 2011, Americans were pretty evenly split on whether it was necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values, Pew found. Now, 56% say believing in God is not necessary to having good morals or values.

Morals: Firm or flexible?

Moral reasoning in everyday life is complicated. It might stand to reason that to be a good person, we should aspire to be morally rigid. But Pizarro said while it’s true we may want our leaders to be inflexible for consistency’s sake, we don’t demonstrate that we want this from people in our close circle. We want our friends and family to be partial to us, to take our side. You know the sentiment: “My best friend is the one who will help me bury a body and not ask any questions.” What we think of as a “good friend” is morally flexible.

Many people bend their moral values depending on the situation, Pizarro said. Maybe you say it’s wrong to steal, but then you use your friend’s HBO GO password. You can rationalize it by saying “corporations make too much money, anyway,” but it is, in fact, stealing even if it’s piracy “lite.” Or maybe you believe capital punishment is cruel, until the life of someone you care about is taken.

A well-known thought experiment called the “trolley problem” illustrates a scenario in which a runaway trolley is barreling toward five workers. You can save those workers by pulling a switch to divert the trolley to another track where there is just one person. Do you pull the switch? One choice is morally rigid (don’t kill) the other is flexible, (bend the rule and save the many).

Being discerning can be a virtue, Pizarro said. It may be why we aren’t so keen on programming artificial intelligence with a moral code, for fear it won’t recognize context and consider circumstance.

“We want some flexibility,” Pizarro said. “Part of it might be that the world is so complicated, that there are no rules that actually apply perfectly. That much we know. There is no principle that you can always say should never be violated because you’ll always come up with the messy reality of being in the dilemma or situation where you have to make a tough choice.”

These messy realities can sometimes lead us toward moral tradeoffs. Like whether it’s OK to perform testing on a handful of animals to save thousands of human lives. A recent example is the conflict some people felt over former Senator Al Franken’s resignation — he was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting women, yet he also championed some women’s issues during his time in the Senate, such as introducing a measure to reduce the national backlog of untested rape kits.

“Tradeoffs are essential, because virtually nobody is a saint,” said Peter Singer, a moral philosopher and professor of bioethics at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. But how defensible a tradeoff is depends on the details. Each case must be evaluated on its own merit, he said.

If we consistently make tradeoffs that benefit ourselves while disadvantaging others, ethicists agree that isn’t being a good person.

“We can tell stories about how ‘outgroup’ members are guilty of things and they deserve to be punished,” Pizarro said of the “danger” of moral flexibility.

Do unto others …

So much of morality hinges on how we treat other people. But who are these other people?

“You get different boundaries being drawn,” Singer said. This is why some people are very good to those in their close circle and to people who they may view as being “like them,” but who may not be so good to a person of a different race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Are you good if you’re a guy who is sweet to his mother, but rude to strangers? Are you good if you frequently give money to help refugees, but cheat on your husband?

Moral philosophers say good people are good to everyone — to family and to strangers, to people in their group and especially to those outside of it.

“I would say that a strong basis to knowing you are a good person can be rooted in reflecting on how you treat those who are under-served and under-privileged in relation to you,” said Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of The Islamic Center at New York University. “The ones that I could fully get away with treating poorly or not even doing anything for, what am I doing for them?”

Rabbi Jacobs agrees.“All morality must be grounded in a belief that every single human being is created equal, and is equally deserving of dignity and of just and fair treatment,” she said.

“Tribe” mentality can blind people to behaviors they would otherwise abhor.

“The vast majority of registered Democrats and Republicans — about 80% — vote straight party lines without fail, using a … mental shortcut that because the candidate is from the party I affiliate with, he/she is, by definition, a ‘good person,’” said Ronald Riggio, a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College.

Riggio said he watched during the Alabama Senate race this month as Roy Moore supporters discounted the sexual misconduct allegations against him by insisting that he was a good person.

Where to start

Before you can become good, or determine whether you already are, moral philosophers say you need to self-reflect.

“How much time in the course of your life have you spent just looking at yourself? Like literally in the mirror, combing your hair, getting dressed? There’s nothing wrong with that, but compare that with how much time you spend looking for yourself,” Latif said. “Most people are not taking classes in their entire educational career that are getting them to a place of understanding as to why they love what they love, or why they hate what they hate, or why they really long for the things that they long for. In those spaces, there’s a real absence of that self-awareness.”

Latif says we must first know ourselves, then we can begin to evaluate ourselves. To start, both he and Pizarro said look not at the good things you know you’ve done, but at the bad things you’ve likely done.

Pizarro said in light of #MeToo, he has pressed some of his male friends to reflect on whether they’ve ever treated a woman with disrespect. The common response? “I’m not sexist. I would never do that.”

“I was asking a friend of mine who was acting sort of defensive, ‘Do you think you’ve ever made a woman feel uncomfortable?’ And he was like, ‘Not like that.’ And I was like, ‘No, but seriously, do you think you’ve ever made a woman feel uncomfortable?’ And he was super reluctant to answer the question,” Pizarro said. “Everybody judges themselves on their intentions, and they judge other people on their actions. Take a critical look at yourself.”

For those who resolve to be better people, introspection must not be a yearly ritual, but a lifelong exercise.

“The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God,’” said Reverend Westley West, founding pastor of Faith Empowered Ministries in Baltimore. “Purity comes when you have accepted where you are, but understand that where you are is not where you are to stay.”

Our concept of morality is closely tied to our meaning of life. We can attempt to define it through philosophy, science and God, but no matter how universal our values, we will always struggle to live morally. To some, being the best version of yourself doesn’t mean doing only what feels right. It means using “the heart and the head,” Singer says, to help the most people in the most effective ways.

“I take the view that it’s the impact that you have,” Singer said. “We have the opportunity to do things that make the world a better place or a worse place and … we ought to take those opportunities to do as much good as we can.”


Personality Change

I found the study, Sixteen going on sixty-six: A longitudinal study of personality stability and change across 50 years. by Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., Sutu, A., & Roberts, B. W. from the UnivScreen Shot 2018-08-20 at 5.19.27 PMersity of Houston.  Reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on August 16, 2018.

Fascinating and generally in line with the understanding of personality development supported by the Golden Personality Profiler and described in Learning Module 7’s Advanced Topics.  Understanding personality change across the lifespan is important because it informs our knowledge of the developmental processes and aids people in the conscious development of their personality and how people change as they age?
The University of Houston study sought to answer questions such as: When considering the personality traits (i.e., the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) that one exhibited in youth, how similar to their younger self is that person likely to be 50 years later? Are sociable teens likely to remain sociable adults?  Do people change across their entire lifespan?  Do some people change more than others across the lifespan? Do people’s traits change? Finally, does gender effect how personalities change as people age? Questions regarding the stability and change of personality across the entire lifespan are some of the most interesting, because there are very few longitudinal studies spanning over so many years. The study led by Damian sought to shed light on  these questions by using a large US sample collected as part of Project Talent (1960) by the United States Office of Education (USOE), that followed students form 1,353 public, private, and parochial senior high schools that was followed over 50 years with follow-up studies at 1, 5, and 11 years after high school graduation.  Project Talent participants in grades 9 through 12 were administered an extensive battery of tests and questions that examined students’ competencies in subjects such as mathematics, science, and reading comprehension. Students also completed three separate questionnaires that asked about family background, personal and educational experiences, aspirations for future education and vocation, and interests in various occupations and activities.
The study by was the first to test personality stability/change over a 50-year time span in which the same data source was tapped (i.e., self-report).  Their findings using a sub sample N = 1795 from the larger study of 400,000, suggested that personality has a stable component across the life span, both at the trait level and at the profile level, and that personality is also malleable and people mature as they age. They reported that for those that changed, the shift is mostly in a positive direction.

The study found that people become more Conscientious (Organized), (Emotionally Stable) Calm, and Agreeable (Feeling).  As Damien’s findings were based on earlier studies based on the Project Talent Personality Inventory (PTPI) a 150 item/10 Scale self-assessment normed on 736 high school students from four schools in 1960 as part of the Project Talent study. The 10 scales were labeled Vigor, Calmness, Maturely to be so later on.  “People who are more conscientious than others at 16 are likely to be more conscientious than others at 66,” reported Damian.

re Personality, Impulsiveness, Self-Confidence, Culture, Sociability, Leadership, Social Sensitivity, and Tidiness. A study investigating personality-intelligence links (Reeve et al., 2006), included a small pilot study using the PTPI facets were factor analyzed together with the NEO scales, using the IPIP short form (Goldberg, 1999) found preliminary evidence that the 10 PTPI facets loaded on the five factor model as follows: Social Sensitivity loaded with Agreeableness; Sociability, Leadership, Impulsiveness, Vigor, and Self-confidence loaded with Extraversion; Calmness loaded with Emotional stability; Tidiness and Maturity loaded with Conscientiousness; and Culture loaded with Openness.
Interestingly, the original items were also in part constructed using Allport and Odbert’s 1937 list of traits.  Damien’s study was not able to study individual participant level change due to limitations of the original Project Talent data set where researchers “did not have item-level data available at baseline.”  Researchers therefore “used the cross-sectional data from this validation study to test for measurement.”  Future longitudinal studies of the Golden are planned where individual change in personality is studied.

This is common knowledge for those of us who follow the complex multi theoretical base shaped by Hippocrates Temperament,  Jung’s Psychological Type, Thurston’s Five Factor Model, Allport’s Trait Theory and Selye’s Stress Theory captured by the Golden Personality Profiler.  The University of Houston study, was based solely on the data from a traditional Five Factor Model (FFM) assessment called the PTPI and NEO-PI models model of personality with five factors: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.  Traditional FFM assessment utilizes unipolar item formats where one end of the pole, the high pole, is negative and the other, low pole is positive in description and outcome.  It is better, more positive and healthy to select high responses  than low pole responses.  Descriptions of low pole outcomes reflect negative behavioral descriptions of behavior.  Being positively Open, Conscientous, Extraverted, Agreeable and not Neurotic is better than the alternative.  There is a natural inclination for people who are healthy and positive to be inclined to answer assessments based on the FFM, whereas those who not healthy nor positive don’t complete the assessment, so the result of the study can be skewed as it relates to the studies outcomes.  The Golden Personality Profiler, built on the framework of  Jung’s positive approach and the FFM with five Global Scales including Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuiting, Thinking/Feeling, and Tense/Calm, where both ends of the behavioral continuum are positive, healthy and normal, results in response patterns that are themselves positive, healthy and normal would result in a better approximation of how personality change happens.
When gauging teenage personality in grades 9 to 12, we must understand that young minds are undergoing a period of instability and creation.  Teenager self-concept is framed to a great extent by the influence of parents, other significant adult relationships, siblings, as well as by friends and other youths.  Not to mention, the yet unknown effects of technology, social media and the ensuing avalanche of neural transmitters that flood and alter the brain physiology with serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine caused by excessive use, nor the untracked effects psychological effects of self-absorbtion, cyber persona’s and bullying,  It is during this critical four year period of adolescence that the brains prefrontal cortex and neural network, which controls executive functioning and adult judgment is forming.  By the mid 20s young adult’s executive functioning, adult reasoning skills and the neural network that drive adult behavior are solidly formed.  Personality and the formation of the self-concept is in place.  Basing studies of personality change on the developing (changing) self-concept’s of teenager personality  to track changes in adults requires a deeper understanding of how those base results are formed.  Self-assessment test results in the 1960’s, regardless of sample size, were often collected with little emphasis given to interpreting the results to the participants let alone or allowing the to self-validate their results against their self-image and understanding.

I would answer the University of Houston researchers questions regarding personality change.

How similar to their younger self is that person likely to be 50 years later? The base personality formed at age 20 does not change into an unrecognizable form at the 70.  Over time one’s personality grows, matures and develops.  Jung called this “differentiation.”   The original personality exists, and under extreme stress will present itself.  Even so, maturation and wisdom born from life experience itself provides older adults with skills that help them cope and adapt better to all life events.  Those they are prepared innately for and those that they must adapt new skills for.  Allport called this process “Functional Autonomy.”   With consciousness over time people are able to change.  Some Profiles enable others to change more than others.  Each will have their own path of maturation and development.  Each person changes unique to themselves.
Are sociable teens likely to remain sociable adults? It would depend on the degree of sociability expressed as a teen.  Teens with lots of it are likely to have more of it at an older age.  Those with less of it, the less they will have at a later stage of life.
Do people change across their entire lifespan and do some change more than others?  Yes, Jung’s model of personality development incorporating the Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior functions suggests that changes is determined by each person’s unique Profile, stage of life and pattern of development.
Do people’s traits change?  Traits can be learned to the extent that those learned through experience can become indistinguishable from innate traits.  I believe innate traits don’t change, they are always present and available for use.
Finally, does gender effect how personalities change as people age? Gender is one factor that may explain differences in personality, and may therefore relate to the nature of change as people age.  I have found that Thinking women as a group learn to develop Feeling related traits, such as those related to Compassion and Nurturing faster than Thinking men.  Feeling men learn to develop Thinking traits, like Rational and Analytic faster than women.  This is due to the pressure that society and culture put on female Thinker and male Feelers.  Other than these examples, I think men and women each develop their personalities based on their own unique path and their own unique life experiences.
The Golden Personality profiler was designed to shed light and bring insight into  how much control we each have regarding how much each one of us change.


Support for Functional Autonomy

A recent article appearing in brought me back to a situation I confronted as a younger consultant in

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-47-50-amthe 1990s when an a former employee of one my corporate clients lost her job and was seeking help finding a new one.  Amazingly Mary had returned to work after having her right half of her brain removed.  A Glioblastoma tumor had ravaged her brain and her previous life.  Mary, defying all odds, returned to work, only to have other’s see that her impairment left her functioning at 12 to 13 year olds capability.  Her employer, now my previous client, ultimately fired Mary when she was not able function effectively in her job.  She sought my help, as in her memory she knew that I had been helpful to her before her surgery.
Mary was desperate to return to work in her former capacity.  Her memory drove her to seek meaning work, but no one would hire her.  Most employers would look at her resume and see the impressive track record she had built.  When interviewing, not knowing of the surgery, they would see her awkward responses and know something was off.  A 30 year old woman and an impressive resume with the speech pattern and mental process of a young teen left was difficult to overcome in the job market.  Making matters worse, living at home with her mother, Mary had lost her disability support and was told that her doctors had cleared her for employment.  They said she could return to the career she once had as an account executive at an advertising company.

My assessment was that it was amazing her to be alive, to be talking, walking, eating, even driving a car.  However something was off, and what was off enough was enough for me to recognize that no one would ever hire Mary at a level she had previously achieved.    She would need to accept something less fulfilling.  She knew about the previous work she did, but she could not accept doing less.  She had regained much of her former self as the intact part of her brain took over for the missing part.  Her personality had similar attributes as it did before.  Her past self was there, but in a less mature state.

Ultimately, I tried to help Mary by having her see a neurosurgeon friend of mine, to see if the prognosis of being capable of returning to her former work and career was accurate.  Unfortunately, his medical diagnosis was the same.  I felt that even astute brain physicians were inadequately trained to understand behavior and the finer nuances of work capabilities.  Mary could work, but not as she did before.  That outcome was not to be and I was not able to help Mary find meaning full work as we could not get past the “Gordian knot” that Mary’s life and prospect for work had come to.

The research described in the CNN article by Susan Scutti, also reminds me that Gordon Allport, author of Trait Hypothesis Theory gives credence to the idea that people can grow and change and that change can be permanent.  While Mary may not have been able to recover from the loss of half her brain, but was able to live on.  For those of us with all of our brains, we must take care to use all of what they give us.  Allport’s Functional Autonomy postulates that we are not prisoner to our innate behavior.  With consciousness, practice, patience and persistence people with whole brain’s can develop new behaviors.  These behaviors can alter our personality in permanent ways.  Just as the baby boy’s brain was able to rewire itself after surgery similar to Mary’s, our brains and our personalities can be altered.

Here is the amazing article about the amazing boy UD.

When surgeons removed one sixth of a child’s brain, here’s what happened

Our developing brains find unique ways to rewire themselves as necessary, suggests a new case study of a nearly 11-year old boy referred to only as “UD” (his privacy is respected by never revealing his true name).
The operation when he was 6 years 10 months old eliminated UD’s entire occipital lobe, home of the brain’s vision processing center, and most of his temporal lobe, where both visual and auditory signals land and then get sorted. Yet, UD’s left hemisphere compensated for any losses on the right side of his brain by assuming the roles of both hemispheres. As a result, both his cognitive and visual function are now intact.
“UD’s case [has] essentially shown us that one hemisphere is enough for normal visual function,” said Marlene Behrmann, senior author of the study and a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition.
This is the “key finding” of the new case study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports, said Behrmann, though she added that UD’s vision remains partially impaired by the surgery. Seemingly, a small price paid to be cured of a life-threatening disorder.
close dialog

‘Last resort’

At age 4, when most children have begun to somersault, to dress themselves and to name the many colors they see, UD suffered his first epileptic seizure. Soon, his seizures became frequent and severe.  Over the next couple of years, his doctors made many attempts to try and control UD’s seizures, mostly through medication, explained Behrmann. Though some drugs reduced his seizures, none stopped them.
“As a last resort, the decision was made for him to undergo lobectomy,” said Behrmann, who explained that this procedure requires a surgical plan to remove the focal point of epilepsy without affecting other regions of the brain.
“The surgery eliminates, completely, the seizures in roughly 60% to 70% of the children [who undergo the operation], so it’s really highly effective,” said Behrmann, who took no part in the surgery, which is performed on about 4% to 6% of all patients with uncontrollable epilepsy.
In UD’s case, a localized tumor in his right hemisphere was the cause of his epilepsy. The surgery, which took place when he was age 6 years and 9 months old, removed the tumor along with most of two of his four lobes situated within the right hemisphere.
“We saw him almost a year later, when he was fully stable and no longer on medication and ready to participate,” said Behrmann. Prior to the surgery, he had undergone extensive behavioral and visual testing, which was necessary “because they were going to remove part of the visual system,” she explained.
Over the next three years, Behrmann and her team studied UD’s post-surgical progress using high tech scans to measure his brain activity at five separate timepoints.
Essentially, then, she and her colleagues watched how UD’s brain rewired itself after the surgery.
What they witnessed was the left hemisphere assuming the functions usually performed by the missing regions of his brain. His left hemisphere, then, did its usual work of word recognition yet also took on the role of recognizing faces, usually the responsibility of the right hemisphere.
“So as word recognition was emerging, we could see a kind of jostling for position between word recognition and face recognition in the same left hemisphere,” said Behrmann. “They kind of like pushed each other around a little bit and then settled down.”
“And now [UD’s] face and word recognition skills are entirely normal,” she said, noting that the two skills “sort of settled down in neighboring and abutting regions” of his brain in the left hemisphere.
Both word and face recognition is thought of as “a complex pattern recognition problem,” explained Behrmann. The reason is that words are all “visually very similar” to each other just as faces are.
Even in typically-developing children, the brain takes a long time to acquire these separate recognition abilities, said Behrman, probably because of how “fine-grained the mechanism needs to be” to tease apart similar appearing words and similar appearing faces.
Not only did she and her colleagues compare UD’s abilities to his peers, they also tested him with “the most challenging tests that we could do,” she said. “We really drilled down to understand whether or not there was any loss or alteration of function. And we weren’t able to see any.”

How language is processed by your brain

How language is processed by your brain
Regions of UD’s brain involved in other complex visual functions — object recognition and scene recognition — were present and normal when he was first scanned by the study researchers at age 7 years 10 months. Like his peers, these developed functions became more sophisticated as time passed, proving that part of his brain remained in good shape, said Behrmann.
UD did lose one skill due to surgery and it will not return. Visual information appearing in UD’s left visual field now has “nowhere to go,” explained Behrmann. Still picked up by his functioning eyes, it is transmitted along the visual processing circuit, yet there is no longer any brain region that can receive it.
To compensate, UD moves his eyes and head. We all (unconsciously) do to this cover for our own blind spots that occur where nerves, which run from the eye to the brain, block our sight. UD likely is unaware of doing this and his appearance is not unusual, according to Behrmann.
Now almost 11 years old, UD receives vision therapy and sits on the left side of classrooms so he can take in more of the school scene. His test scores range from average to advanced.


Mark Johnson, associate director of the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck College, University of London, said the case study of UD is “very interesting.”
“While some of the functions of the brain are known to be working from birth, it is clear that many other specialisations require extensive experience,” Johnson, who was not involved in the research, wrote in an email.
Because processing faces is such a crucial skill, some scientists have argued that the areas of our cerebral cortex (mainly in the right hemisphere) responsible for recognizing faces must be “tuned up” for this purpose from birth, he said.
Yet UD’s post-surgical experience — where words and faces competed to capture space within his brain — suggests something more along the lines of the model of brain function called “Interactive Specialization,” which Johnson originally proposed in 2000.
According to Johnson’s model, brain regions develop increasing specialization over time. Like sibling rivals within a family, brain regions interact and compete with each other to acquire their role, which may sharpen or become more restricted as they collectively mature.


Behrmann said that she and her colleagues “are now undertaking a very large scope study that evaluates many kids,” who, like UD, have undergone similar brain surgeries.
“The surgeries are becoming much better, there’s a lot of computer-aided mapping for getting the geography just right, and there’s a lot of work on the drug front as well,” said Behrmann, who has received funding from the National Institutes of Health.
“We are very much in the midst of significant progress and advances in medicine and neuroscience,” she explained, all due to the development of new analytic and statistical ways of handling large data sets alongside the expansion of new technologies.
“There are so many unanswered questions,” said Behrmann.

You Share Everything With Your Bestie. Even Brain Waves.

Pair Wine to Your Personality, Not Your Food, Suggests New Study

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 2.33.06 PM

Food & Wine – Mike Pomranz November 08, 2017

New research from Michigan State University shows that a person’s wine preferences may actually stem from their “vinotype.

Though many foodies and oenophiles alike love to talk about wine pairings, actually executing pairings successfully can be trickier than experts make it sound. At the heart of the problem is that though certain flavors of wine and food make sense together, preconceived pairings don’t take into account the person you’re pairing for. Maybe one diner loves big bold reds despite heeding the doctor’s advice to eat less red meat; maybe another is celebrating a new job and only wants to drink bubbly and eat filet mignon. Whatever the reason, traditional wine pairings likely wouldn’t work for these fictional people – and new research from Michigan State University says that’s okay: Pair food with their personality instead.

For the new study, published in the International Journal of Wine Business Research, MSU hospitality scholars examined a theory proposed by Master of Wine and chef Tim Hanni that wine preferences are actually determined by a person’s “vinotype.” Hanni outlines four different vinotypes, each of which is personality-driven and correlates to different wine preferences, which he suggests are influenced by both genetics and environment and can change over time.

To test the vinotype theory, researchers looked at “novice wine consumers” – aka college students – surveying them on their food and beverage preferences as well as having a group rate the food and wine selection presented at 12 different stations in a controlled lab setting. As Hanni suggested, researchers were able to predict what wine people would prefer based on this information – ostensibly better than they would by simply sticking to traditional pairings.

“The palate rules – not someone else’s idea of which wine we should drink with our food,” said Carl Borchgrevink, the study’s lead author. “They shouldn’t try to intimidate you into buying a certain wine. Instead, they should be asking you what you like.” Alan Sherwin, a culinary expert who was also involved with the study, agreed. “At the end of the day it’s going to be the consumer that has the final say,” he said. “They’re going to be the arbiter.”

This study is actually the first to academically dive into the idea of “vinotypes” – and only looked at college students, a notoriously unrefined group of wine drinkers – so plenty of work is left to be done. But if you’ve been searching for some research to throw in your wine snob friend’s face when you order a red wine with fish, well, consider this your starting point.

Do Opposites Attract?

Do Opposites Attract?

My experience and personality profile data lore holds that when it comes to relationships, opposite profiles do attract.  Outgoing, Creative, Emotional, Flexible (ENFAs) are matched with Reflective, Practical, Rational Organizers (ISTZs).  My father always quoted that 75% of all relationships formed couples with at least 3 of four opposite Global Scales.

Interestingly,  a 2004 article by Bridget Murray, Mixing Oil and Water, in the APA Monitor found a parallel finding among couples with clinical Personality Disorders (PDs).  While couple’s with PDs describe extreme examples of normal profiles, they nonetheless support the notion that people are attracted to relationships with people who have opposite tendencies to their own.

Murray shared the insights Florida clinical psychologist Florence Kaslow, PhD, who had “seen the pattern so often among some couples that she labeled it practically a clinical archetype: Both parties have personality disorders (PD)—but on opposite ends of the spectrum. 

The fastidious, stoic spouse with obsessive-compulsive PD clashes with the often messy, flamboyant spouse with histrionic PD. Or, likewise, the self-absorbed, self-important person with narcissistic PD spars with the needy, clingy partner with dependent PD”.

Kaslow says: “These people often literally see the other person as ‘their other half.’ But that half is one they have cut off in themselves, so they’re essentially attracted to the thing they’ve rejected or have a negative attitude toward.”

What does your experience with couples and profile support?  Do opposites attract?

Do Introverts make better CEOs?

Washington Post journalist, Jena McGregor, discusses a recent HBR article that describes characteristics of effective CEOs.  Traits including, introverted (very broad swath of behaviors), reaching out to stake holders, being adaptable/spontaneous, acting decisively, and being reliable/predictable.  These are all traits tapped into by the Golden.

My guess is in particular good leaders self-report: E – Talkative and Participative & I – Reflective, Z – Reliable & A – Spontaneous.   Note that balance in these traits and likely other is evident.  Not only descriptive of good leadership, but of good human being in general.

I think that good leadership may also be driven by what is not present as much as what is present.  That is the lack of extreme and unbalanced traits.

What have you found in your practice?

New Golden Personality Profiler v5.1

New Golden Personality Profiler v5.1

A New Brand

The Golden Personality Profiler is the newest version of the Golden and is available only on’s online assessment platform. The new name reflects a return to the original name of the assessment Personality Profiler and the addition of the Golden brand…Golden Personality Profiler.

Golden Available on

GoldenLLC administers the newest version of the Golden on its own online assessment platform at

With successful completion of the Online Golden Certification course you will be qualified to purchase and administer the Golden Personality Type Profiler from Pearson Talent Assessment on their platform  You will now also be able to purchase and administer the Golden Personality Profiler directly from  In fact, once you pass the course your online administration account can be accessed through your Zone B membership account and have access to other assessments.

Updated GPP v5.1 survey

The Golden v5.1, includes fifteen (15) new questions, representing thirty-four (34) items, historically never scored in v4.0. Seven (7) of the new questions, covering 11 new items, were included to create the Tense Calm’s new Unsettled/Resilient Facet Scale. Eight (6) of the new questions, covering eleven (11) new items, were included to create the Tense Calm’s new Unconstrained/Regulated Facet Scale. Additionally, seven (7) questions, covering eleven (11) new items were revised to improve the reliability and validity outcomes of four original Facet Scales, including the Outgoing/Intimate, Conservative/Trendsetting, Competitive//Nurturing and Concerned/Optimistic Facet Scales. Based on an analysis of findings these four Facet Scales and their item level content primarily made up from Section 2 items, were strategically selected for revision. The outcome of these revisions are two new and important Tense/Calm Facet Scales, an improvement to four (4) original Facet Scales, and the improvement of the statistical robustness of the Golden assessment.

New Tense Calm Facet Scales

The new Unsettled/Resilient and Unconstrained/Regulated Facet Scale are important Tense Calm Facet scales added to the Golden Personality Profiler in 2016/2017. From its inception in the early 1990s, when only two clear Facet Scales emerged from the original item pool to form the Tense Calm scale, it was always our intent to add more Tense Calm facets to make the construct more robust and useful.Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.20.36 AM

Unsettled & Resilient

The foundation of the Unsettled/Resilient scale is found in the psychological concepts originally described by Cattel, Saunders and Stice (1957) as measured by the Sixteen Personality Factor assessment’s (16PF) Scale C: Emotional Stability as also described by Sigmund Freud’s conception of ”Ego Strength” which describes a person’s ability to maintain their sense of self identity in the face of distress, conflict and discomfort.

Unsettled people have unknown, unclear and shifting values and beliefs. They shift goals and priorities when faced with adversity. A self-focus and fear of failure leads to setting unrealistic expectations and goals. Defensiveness and argumentativeness lead to denial and blame which result in seeing only what is happening presently and failing to learn and grow.

Resilient people are described as knowing what behavioral and life values are most important. Being goal focused they recognize the importance of setting aside personal goals for those of others or the group. Seeking win-win outcomes and learning to grow they develop themselves and the other people around them.

Unconstrained & Regulated

Unsettled/Resilient and Unconstrained/Regulated Facet Scale can be traced to the psychological concepts as defined by Cattel, Saunders and Stice’s 16PF, Scale G: Rule Consciousness, and Sigmund Freud’s conception of “Super Ego” which describes a person’s ability to consciously incorporate societal norms and morals into the actions and choices when stressed.

Unconstrained people are unaware and/or unconcerned about what others think and believe. Societal morals and norms are overlooked or ignored in favor of their own self-interests and needs.

Regulated people take into account societal norms, morals and rules when making decisions or taking action. They consider important virtues taught to them in life by their parents and other important people and make decisions based on moral goodness and rightness.

An important historical connection between the Golden and the 16PF

As one of the world’s renowned psychometrician, Dr. David Saunders, worked with Dr. Cattel on the first exploratory study of items developed from Allport and Odbert’s trait lists that originated the 16PF. Dr. Saunders also worked with Isabel Myers and her jungian personality test originally called the Briggs Myers Type Indicator at Educational Testing Service in 1964. Dr. Saunder’s also worked on the early development of the Golden while working with Dr. Edward Golden and Dr. John Golden at ORA, Inc.  Golden LLCs predecessor, in the late 1980s.

Two New GPP Reports to Select From

The Individual Development report reports the 5 Global and 40 Facets including the Unsettled/Resilient and Unconstrained/Regulated Facet Scales associated with the Tense Calm Global Scale. It also includes the Career and Educational Majors Suggestions content. It is designed for use in educational, career, life and spiritual coaching, and general self-development settings.Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.18.40 AM

The Talent Management report is designed for use in place of the original Golden assessment used over the past 20 years. It maintains the original 5 Global and 36 Facet Scale structure that you’ve become familiar with and learned about in the online certification training program.

The Talent Management  report includes the advanced Tense Calm scores , including the Unsettled/Resilient and Unconstrained/Regulated scales on the Summary Page for administrators seeking deeper insight and understanding. In the example below:compare the Advanced TC scores with the Tense Calm Global and Facet Scale scores above.Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.47.42 AM

The Talent Management report is designed for use in business and organization development, human resources, training and development and executive coaching settings.

Administrators can easily select which report they want, Talent Management or Self-Development report, from within their Account settings. 

Advanced Scoring

Both the Talent Management and individual Development reports utilize the advanced scoring of the rare three out-of-pattern facet scale pattern for better initial profile determination.

A 3 Out of Pattern scales on a Global Scale, estimated to occur in less than 1 out of every 25 reports, reflects an important opportunity to examine your clients report.  In past report scoring, a person’s Global Scale was identified by the highest summed score of all the associated facet scales.  Experience in interpreting these 3 Out of Pattern facet reports, more often than not, revealed the best fitting global scale and associated four letter profile, endorsed by the client was the global scale associated with the 3 out of pattern facet scales, not the global scale associated with the highest summed scores.  The result is a more accurate prediction and report description of the best fitting of the 16 personality profiles.  However, it continues to be important to review other likely fitting profiles with your client and ultimately, encourage them to determine the best fitting profile.

The Golden Measures Personal Intelligence (PI)

The Golden Measures Personal Intelligence (PI)

In 2014 John D. Mayer, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, concluded that before 1995, personality psychology appeared uncertain and disorganized, and many thought that personality had a minimal influence on our lives. After 2007, the discipline became more integrated and the power of screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-47-50-ampersonality became more widely appreciated than before.”

Mayer proposed a new theory of personal intelligence proposing that people use their abilities to problem solve in four areas:

  • To identify clues to personality
  • To use those clues to form (sometimes) accurate models of people (both of oneself and others)
  • To use information about personality to guide oneself and others
  • To systematize one’s plans and goals

Mayer, concluded that “no coherent tests existed to measure that reasoning and that —such an assessment still did note exist to measure his theory.  I love the term Personal Intelligence, it is more effective a lable than Emotional Intelligence.  As for Mayer’s proposed abilities, I think the Golden is perfectly designed to measure and execute them.  What do you think?