The Origins of iTYPE
Biologist and perception researcher Dr Alexander Ribowski and coach and therapist Frieder Barth jointly developed a test based on visual perception that would reflect several aspects of the human personality. They sought to create a test based on the theoretical scientific findings from Gestalt Psychology while also incorporating key features of design and advertising effectiveness research. That’s why iTYPE uses visual elements to evaluate participants.
This is how they developed the first version of iTYPE. This preliminary work became the basis for a success story. Since then, iTYPE has continuously developed, evaluated, and contributed new fields of application. Currently, four strengths profilers are available, each with a special analytical focus on different target groups and contexts.
The Scientific Findings of iTYPE
The latest neuroscientific findings show that our perception and thought patterns are determined by over 95 percent by visual stimuli. That means many of our decisions are not made consciously. Instead those decisions are based on unconscious perception processes taking place in our brain.
iTYPE takes these findings into consideration and relates them to principles from Gestalt and cognitive psychology, thus making the unconscious perception processes transparent. Together with the scientific work by Prof Dr Julius Kuhl, a motivation researcher at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, these findings constitute a sound neuroscientific explanatory approach which is the groundwork for the description of the iTYPE types profiles.
Here you may find further information concerning iTYPE’s scientific background:
Measurement Procedures, Amplitudes, and Evaluation
The world originates in the brain
Every day, we are confronted with millions of visual stimuli. Yet, our brains are able to turn lines, shapes, and colors into visual objects like furniture, computers, cars, and even people. And although we see a world of constantly changing stimuli, it’s never overwhelming. That’s because humans have evolved to have selective perception. Selective perception is the ability to filter out certain elements and recognize specific patterns in our environment. In fact, our brain is always searching for patterns to better absorb that information into an existing schema. The following example illustrates this theory.
Most viewers probably see a face rather than an array of four circles.
Gestalt psychology focuses on the perceptual capacity to recognize structures and create organizing principles. This can be explained by Gestalt laws, which describe how people tend to group individual parts into an holistic image that makes sense. Here are some examples of Gestalt factors:
The Law of Proximity
Elements with shorter distances are perceived as belonging together. In this depiction, most viewers see four columns rather than eight lines.
The Law of Similarity
Similar elements are more likely seen as belonging together than dissimilar ones. In this depiction, most viewers recognize units consisting of five pairs of black and yellow lines.
The Law of Continuity
Elements that seem to be a continuation of preceding elements are seen as belonging together. Most viewers recognize here two crossing lines rather than V‑shaped figures touching.
When there are two structuring elements simultaneously, one of them prevails. Thus, in the following example, the Law of Similarity dominates over the Law of Continuity:
In this depiction, most viewers see two angled lines touching rather than two crossing ones.
As a result of modern research findings in perceptual psychology, many scientists now believe that the human brain does not simply pass on the visual stimuli received from the retina and optical nerve in a “one-to-one” manner. Instead, it filters, sorts, and steers the incoming information. These visual constructions can differ from person to person, allowing them to draw unique conclusions as part of their own "reality".
The iTYPE approach
Most personality tests use questions to determine the participant's personality, which basically makes it a self-assessment. Of course, no-one truly interested in a real result will want to make-up a different personality. However, it's clear that some questions might be answered based upon one’s ideal self-image, therefore distorting the results of the test.
This is the main advantage of iTYPE. Because iTYPE merges scientific findings from Gestalt psychology and Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of psychological types, the results aren’t affected by perception distortion. The test itself also incorporates the Gestalt laws into its methodology. With iTYPE, there are no right or wrong answers, but instead individual differences caused by different personalities. Those lines, shapes, patterns, and colors are perceived differently by each participant, which makes the test virtually unalterable. In addition, iTYPE can also provide a personality description (based on C.G. Jung’s theory) which is supplemented by neuroscientific findings of brain research.
The iTYPE approach is based on science. It has been validated in numerous studies and confirmed through comparative exercises with other established personality tests, including MBTI, KTI, CPI, NEO-FFI and many others.
Images rather than words
Instead of verbal questions, iTYPE only uses images and symbols. Think of it as a visual questionnaire that doesn't need language, where depictions may be perceived and interpreted in different ways. With iTYPE, experiences and opinions aren't verbalized. Instead, the symbolic language of the unconscious mind plays a crucial role. It can predict preferences and inclinations in a playful manner and with great accuracy without focusing on specific topics.