In the early 1920's, the flamboyant American psychologist William Moulton Marston developed a theory to explain people's emotional responses. Until that time, work of this kind had been mainly confined to the mentally ill or criminally insane, and Marston wanted to extend these ideas to cover the personalities of ordinary individuals.
William Moulton MarstonThe Emotions of Normal People I
In order to test his theories, Marston needed some way of measuring the personalities he was trying to describe. His solution was to develop his own test to measure four important factors. The factors he chose were Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance, from which DISC takes its name.
In 1928, Marston published his findings in a book entitled The Emotions of Normal People, which included a brief description of the test he had developed.
In common with many similar tools (including the IQ test), DISC first came to prominence in the military - it was widely used as part of the US army's recruitment process during the years leading to the Second World War. Having proved its value, it gradually came to be used in a more general recruitment setting.
In those early times, the use of DISC was limited in the commercial sector. To be used effectively, it needed considerable expertise, and this made it expensive. In the days before computers, even the translation of a person's questionnaire answers into a DISC profile was an arduous and complex task.
The advent of the personal computer has made DISC universally accessible, because results can be compiled and interpreted automatically. DISC has finally become a cost-effective solution for everyone, and has grown to become probably the most widely used behavioural assessment tool in the world.
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