Profiling for Team Development and Improved Communications

History of the DISC Language



As early as 400 BC, Hippocrates observed similarities and differences in human behaviour and classified four different behaviours. In 1921, C.G. Jung spoke of four “types” oriented by four psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. He then further divided the types into “introversion” and “extroversion”.


The Personal Insights Profile uses the Style Analysis Instrument which is based on the work of Dr. William Moulton Marston. Born in Cliftondale, Massachusetts, in 1893, Dr. Marston was educated at Harvard University. He received three degrees from that institution, an A.B. in 1915, a LL.B in 1918 and a Ph.D in 1921.


Most of Dr. Marston’s adult life was spent as a teaching and consulting psychologist. Some of his assignments included lecturing at the American University, Columbia and New York University. A prolific writer, Dr, Marston was a contributor to the American Journal of Psychology, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Encyclopedia of Psychology, all the while authoring and/or co authoring five books.



Although still a consultant psychologist, Marston was most active in the last five years of his life as the originator, writer and producer of “Wonder Woman”, a successful comic strip which first appeared in book form. In this endeavour, he used the pen name Charles Moulton.


Stricken with Poliomyelitis in 1944, Dr. Marston was partially paralysed from that time until his death at the age of 53 in 1947.


In 1928 he published a book, “The Emotions of Normal People”, in which he described the theory we use today. He viewed people as behaving along two axes with their actions tending to be active or passive depending upon the individual’s perception of the environment as either antagonistic or favourable.


By playing these axes at right angles, four quadrants were formed, each circumscribing a behavioural pattern.


  1. Dominance produces activity in an antagonistic environment
  2. Inducement produces activity in a favourable environment ( called Influence in this system )
  3. Steadiness produces passivity in a favourable environment
  4. Compliance produces passivity in an antagonistic environment


Dr. Marston believed that people tend to learn a self-concept which is basically in accord with one of the four factors. It is possible, therefore, using Marston’s theory, to apply the powers of scientific observation to behaviour and to be Objective and Descriptive rather than Subjective and Judgemental.


D – Dominance – Challenge

How you respond to problems and challenges


I – Influence – Contacts

How you influence other to your point of view


S – Steadiness – Consistency

How you respond to the pace of the environment


C – Compliance – Constraints

How you respond to rules and procedures set by others



“All people exhibit all four behavioural factors in varying

 degrees of intensity”  -- W. M. Marston


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