Psychological Research on human behaviours
Much of empirical psychological research measuring human behaviours
is flawed as it starts from a biased premise. It chooses a proposition and then
creates a questionnaire with an inherent suppositional focus and structure.
This tendency to ringfence means the results can only have a very qualified
Questionnaires do not and cannot factor in allowances for
personality typing, mood and a whole gambit of influencing factors. Certain
personality types will answer questionnaires objectively and scientifically.
Others will be influenced by the potentially personal outcome it portrays. They
will choose the answer which positively reflects their personality. Other
factors such as mood, gender, culture, education, experience will influence the
candidate’s interpretation and decision process.
Does this mean that all empirical psychological research to
determine human behaviours is meaningless and serves no practical purpose in
terms of better understanding human behaviours? I am purporting that we move
away from the crowdminding approach whereby we treat people on masse. Our focus
must only be on the individual.
I have identified 4 distinct and very individual personality
types and I maintain that any empirical research project must embrace this
empirical methodology to capture at first hand individuality and diversity to be meaningful.
In fact the more candidates I have conducted over 25,000 interviews to date I
realise how much more there is to know in terms of people. I feel incapable of
making a prognosis which can authoritatively identify a common behavioural thread.
My message then is that we must only focus on individuals. The people
collective approach has no meaning. Many articles we read fall into the trap of
‘crowdminding’. View people as a crowd rather than making allowances for the
A forceful endorsement of this point is Lawrence Kohlberg,
the moral psychologist and his development theory of stages. Kohlberg conducted
a large research programme with the help of PhD students to identify the
various development stages from childhood to adulthood. The Kohlberg definition
of the progressive levels were highly regarded as authoritative and he
nominated them as preconventional, conventional and post-conventional.
Carol Gilligan, an eminent psychologist and ethicist,
challenged Kohlberg’s research as being too dogmatic. It failed to embrace
intuition as a personality trait. In her publication, “In a Different Voice”
Gilligan challenges many of Kohlberg’s assumptions in their approach to moral
I purport then that empirical research which focuses on the
determination of human behaviours cannot look for a credible outcome as there
are too many permutations and variables which cannot be qualified within the
questionnaire. I have formulated these observations from my own first-hand experience.
The identification of my 4 personality types are the
culmination of one-to-one meetings whereby I could empirically observe and
evaluate the candidate in terms of age, experience, gender, culture, mood,
articulation, education, work experience, performance, aspirations, reliability
My experience has taught me that human behaviour is too
individual to be measured in crowd form and that an empirical research approach
must incorporate all the personality traits and experiences to be credible.