The History of DISC


The DISC model dates back to 400 B.C. – the time of Hippocrates.  He observed similarities and differences in human behavior and classified four basic types of behavior.

In 1912, C.G. Jung spoke of four “types” oriented by four psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition.  He further divided the types into “introversion” and “extroversion.”

More recently, in 1928, Dr. William Moulton Marston published a book, “The Emotions of Normal People,” that describes the DISC theory in use today.  Marston believed that people behave along two axes with their actions tending to be active or passive depending on the individual’s perception of the environment as either antagonistic or favorable.  By laying these axes at right angles, four quadrants were formed, each denoting a separate behavioral pattern.

Marston believed that people tend to learn a self-concept, thus allowing behaviors to be studied scientifically and accurately categorized according to these four patterns:

  • Dominance – Challenge

    • How you respond to problems or challenges

  • Influence – Contacts

    • How you influence others to your point of view

  • Steadiness – Consistency

    • How you respond to the pace of the environment

  • Compliance – Constraints

    • How you respond to rules and procedures set by others

“All people exhibit all four behavioral factors in varying degrees of intensity.”
                                     - W.M. Marston



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