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Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. What can I expect from the Perceptual Style Assessment results?

    The most important result of the PSA is your Perceptual Style. Your Perceptual Style is the way you take in information through your five senses and make that information meaningful to you. Your Perceptual Style acts as a filter between sensation and understanding.

     

    You have one of six unique Perceptual Styles. The decisions you make, the actions you take, and the directions you choose are all influenced by your Perceptual Style because it defines reality for you. It is at the core of who you are, and it impacts your values, your beliefs, your feelings, and your psychology.

     

    Your results will be delivered in the form of the Your Talent Owner's Manual Volume 1: Celebrate You action guide written for your specific Perceptual Style.  Volume 1: Celebrate You provides a detailed description of your Perceptual Style that will allow you to understand how it influences every level of your behavior.

  2. What can I expect from the Recognized Strengths Profile assessment results?

    Each Perceptual Style has a vast repertoire of natural skills and behaviors that are unique to that particular Perceptual Style and can be grouped into Natural Action Capacities (NAC) – complex groupings of skills and abilities that people perform as they interact. You have developed some of your NACs and use them all the time. And you also have some NACs lying dormant waiting to be recognized and used! There are 18 different and distinct NACs described by PST.

     

    The results of the RSP provide a roadmap for personal awareness and growth by identifying for you which of the 18 NACs are:

    • Talents – strongly supported by skills and abilities aligned with your Perceptual Style that are recognized and used often,

    • Opportunities – supported by unrecognized skills and abilities available to you because of your Perceptual Style but not yet recognized and used, 

    • Endeavors – supported by recognized skills and abilities that are foreign to your Perceptual Style, and

    • Distractions – supported by skills and abilities that you have little interest in performing and that are totally foreign to your Perceptual Style.

    The best route to happiness and success comes from focusing on the use of Talents and the development of Opportunities.  They will always provide the greatest sense of satisfaction and reward. And Talents and Opportunities require less psychological, emotional, and physical energy to perform than any Endeavors or Distractions.  The Live Your Talents action guide provides detailed descriptions of all 18 NACs and provides you with a step-by-step strength based process designed to help you fully claim your Talents, explore your Opportunities and let go your Endeavors.

  3. On what theory are the assessments based?

    Perceptual Style Theory, or PST for short, is the underlying theory from which the PSA and RSP were developed. PST was developed based on observations of differences in human behavior that the developers, Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D. and Lynda-Ross Vega attributed to a radical constructivist view of human experience. This approach starts with the assumption that all experience is essentially subjective and constructed. PST, while honoring the ultimate uniqueness of each individual, asserts that there are common ways of constructing experience and that these can be understood in a system that uses similar ways of perception as the basis of type known in PST as Perceptual Style.

     

    PST is a perceptual styles and behavioral capacities theory and was formulated based on observations made from clinical practice, organizational experience, skill development coaching, and consultation in organizational development. Lynda-Ross and Gary’s work has been influenced by their experience with perceptual psychology, monotheistic religion, the character analytic theory of Wilhelm Reich, Jungian type theory, and radical constructivism as developed in therapeutic application by Paul Watzlawick, Ph.D., of the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute.

  4. What does the Perceptual Style Assessment measure?

    Very simply, the PSA measures your Perceptual Style. The PSA contains 264 adjectives, which you rate according to the degree each adjective is descriptive of you (Definitions for each adjective are presented.). When you submit your assessment a proprietary scoring methodology provides your Perceptual Style result.

  5. What does the Recognized Strengths Profile assessment measure?

    The RSP measures where you are on the path to reaping the benefits of your natural strengths. It does this by assessing the extent to which you are consciously performing the NACs that are innately part of your Perceptual Style. The RSP contains 120 groupings of three action roles which you rank in order of preference (Definitions for each action role are presented).

  6. What can the assessments tell me about myself that I don't already know?

    While both the PSA and the RSP are self-report assessments that provide results based on what you report about yourself, they provide information in a way that you will experience as both insightful and helpful. The core concept of both assessments, Perceptual Style, is powerful and one that people do not usually think about on a regular basis.

     

    While everyone experiences that there are many different attitudes and approaches towards life, all too often these differences are seen as the results of ignorance or wrong mindedness. The PSA results explain these differences from a positive perspective that acknowledges and affirms your personal life experience. Additionally, understanding how your Perceptual Style impacts how you perceive the world will allow you to gain an appreciation for the different ways that others perceive the world.

     

    Understanding your Perceptual Style will give you insight into your innate strengths and how they support a whole array of skills and capacities. While you may be aware of some of these strengths you will discover others that you knew nothing about or have always discounted as nothing special (Nothing is further from the truth!).

     

    The RSP is a unique assessment that will give you a point in time snapshot of the extent to which you are currently using your innate strengths. The RSP results provide you with steps and processes that will allow you to maximize the use of your NACs and let go of actions and activities that are not supported by your Perceptual Style. This type of information is not available anywhere else.

  7. What is the research behind the Perceptual Style Assessment and Recognized Strengths Profile assessment? Are the assessments reliable? Have they been statistically validated?

    Research on PST has been on-going since it was originally created in 1978. Both reliability and validity studies have been conducted and the results of these studies are summarized below.

    The reliability of an instrument refers to the extent to which the assessment results are repeatable or consistent. There have been three separate investigations that have examined the internal consistency of the Perceptual Style scales measured in the PSA.

     

    These studies show that the internal consistency of the Perceptual Styles scales within the PSA exceed the generally accepted levels of .70 commonly used to establish reliability.

     

    Research on the PST Natural Action Capacities (NACs) scales of the RSP revealed that all of the 18 NACs have reliability coefficients that are above the acceptable levels of .85.  

     

    The validity of an instrument refers to the extent to which it measures what it is intended to measure.  Psychologists have established three types of test validity – Content, Construct, and Criterion (consisting of concurrent and predictive).

     

    Construct validity of the PSA was established by examining the correlation of its six scales to the sixteen scales of the 16 PF Questionnaire (16PF). The 16PF, created by Raymond B. Cattell, Ph.D., is an established and highly respected assessment of personality that measures an individual on sixteen bi-polar personality factor scales. PST subject matter experts predicted that a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) of the research subjects 16PF scales would reveal six distinct profiles each of which correlated with one of the six scales of the PSA. The results met the subject matter experts predictions both in number of profiles found and in how each of the sixteen factors  correlated with each PSA scale.

     

    Construct validity was further strengthened in a study that showed that the correlation of each of the six scales to the other five matched what the theory predicted. Scales that are theoretically neighbors showed a higher correlation than scales that are theoretically opposites.

     

    Technical information on the research and psychometric properties underlying the instrument can be viewed on the Research page of this site.

  8. Can I retake the Perceptual Style Assessment or the Recognized Strengths Profile assessment? Would taking them more than once affect my results?

    Both assessments can be retaken, but because of the nature of what each measures the results of both are extremely stable. Additionally, because of your lack of familiarity with the assessment items, your first completion of the PSA  or RSP will yield the most revealing results.

     

    The PSA measures your Perceptual Style, which is an innate and unchanging part of who you are.  PSA results very rarely change. 

     

    The RSP is a point-in-time snapshot of how effectively you are using the Natural Action Capacities  (NACs) that are part of your Perceptual Style. While the use and expressions of your NACs can shift, such changes are slow and evolutionary and would be the result of a conscious effort by you, through coaching or other change process, to use your innate NACs more effectively. The kind of intense focus on your NACs that such a process involves would increase your awareness of your innate talents and NACs to such a level that retaking the RSP would add little additional value.

  9. Can my Talents change?

    In PST, Talents are defined as NACs that are innate to your Perceptual Style, that you have worked to develop, and that you have a conscious preference for using on a regular basis. Closely related are your Opportunities that are NACs that are innate to your Perceptual Style, that you have not developed, and that you have little or no conscious awareness of.

     

    From this perspective, the critical question is not, “Can my Talents or potential Talents (Opportunities) change?”, it is rather, “Am I consciously using my Talents”. Answering this question is one of the key functions of completing the PSA and the RSP. The results will reveal exactly what your NACs are and to what extent you are currently using them.

  10. Are there any external factors that could affect my results?

    Generally external factors do not affect the results of the PSA or the RSP. The extensive research on both the PSA and RSP show that they are very accurate measures. However, because both the PSA and the RSP are self-report assessments it is possible for you to respond to the items as you think you should be rather than as you actually are. We have uncovered three factors that can cause reported results to be skewed:

    • Because of social and cultural biases, you may report a Perceptual Style that is "preferred" in society yet may not be an accurate reflection of you.
    • Your upbringing may have demanded that you act outside of your natural Perceptual Style.
    • You may be experiencing a severe life crisis and may therefore feel confused and disoriented.
    All three of these factors are uncommon, and while their presence can affect results they usually do not.
  11. Can the assessments reveal whether I am in the right career?

    Knowing who you are is critical to finding the right job or career for you. Who you are is reflected in multiple factors such as interests, personality, skills, values, and personal lifestyle needs. The results of the PSA and the RSP can provide valuable information on some of these factors, but neither assessment measures all of them.

     

    Unlike many vocational assessments, the PSA and the RSP results do not provide a list of careers that “fit” your results. Instead, they show you how you perceive the world, reveal your NACs, and describe the skills that are naturally supported by both. People are happiest and most content when they are involved in activities that allow or require them to use the skills that are innately supported by their Perceptual Style and their NACs.

     

    Your PSA and RSP results can be used to develop a list of skills, behaviors, or actions that are the most important to you. This then becomes a “critical skills” checklist against which you can evaluate current or potential employment positions. The greater numbers of your “critical skills” a career will allow or require you to perform on a regular basis the more likely it is that it will be the right career for you.

  12. Isn’t it really skills that matter? If I can learn any skill, what difference does my Perceptual Style make?

    The impact of understanding, accepting, and celebrating your Perceptual Style is enormous, and makes a significant difference in your life.

     

    While it is true that you can learn any skill, there are a large number of skills that are innately supported by your Perceptual Style and for which you have natural capacity. In PST we call these natural skills. They are part of you because of the way you perceive the world. In contrast to natural skills are acquired skills, which refer to capacities, skills, and abilities that are foreign to your natural repertoire and that you have consciously developed over time, sometimes to high levels of proficiency.   

     

    While you can choose to develop and use either natural or acquired skills, you will learn natural skills with comparatively less effort, you can attain a higher level of proficiency with your natural skills, and you will gain greater pleasure, satisfaction, and meaning from the use of your natural skills. Finally, building your life around acquired skills will demand a high price from you psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

  13. Can you build a Talent through practice alone, or does it require some natural skill?

    While it is possible to develop knowledge and skills that are outside your Perceptual Style or the NACs that it naturally supports, they will never develop into true strengths or Talents. 

     

    By definition, your Talents are NACs for which you have innate potential that you have consciously developed. People can and do develop high levels of proficiency in NACs outside their Perceptual Style that are built on acquired skills, but they always require more effort to develop, perform, and sustain than do Talents. Additionally, because of their innate nature, Talents grow and develop in subtle and unanticipated positive ways. This unforeseen expression of your Talents does not occur with NACs based on acquired skills.

  14. Are people born with a particular Perceptual Style?

    Each of us is born with our Perceptual Style. It is an innate and unchanging part of who we are. The manner in which you express your Perceptual Style depends upon your life experiences. These experiences mold and shape your Perceptual Style into the unique expression that is you, but they do not determine which of the six you are or change what you have been innately gifted with.
  15. Can I change my Perceptual Style?

    The simple answer to this question is no, you cannot change your Perceptual Style any more that you can change the color of your eyes. It is part of you. The focus of PST is helping you to Celebrate You and discover Your Talent Advantage. Both of these require that you accept the strengths and limitations of your Perceptual Style and to explore how to fully develop the natural action capacities it supports.
  16. Are some Perceptual Styles better than others?

    No. There are no good or bad Perceptual Styles.  Each Perceptual Style and each person have their own unique set of NACs available for development into Talents. The best Perceptual Style to be is the one you are!

     

    While there are no best Perceptual Styles, in certain situations the natural skills of some may be valued more than others. This is a statement about societal or situational bias, not about the absolute value of any Perceptual Style.

  17. Is every person with my Perceptual Style the same?

    No. Not everyone with your Perceptual Style is the same as you. There are many similarities between individuals with the same Perceptual Style, but Perceptual Style does not account for all the differences in human behavior. When you encounter someone with the same Perceptual Style as you, you will experience an almost instant bond as you quickly relate without explanation. You will finish each other’s sentences and agree with each other’s point of view. It can be a heady experience. But then you will be frustrated and surprised when the seemingly effortless connection is threatened by differences.  Everyone is more than just a Perceptual Style; we’re all composites of our life experiences, Perceptual Style, and unique personality traits. That’s what creates Your Talent Advantage. The bond you experience with someone who shares the same Perceptual Style can be so strong that the differences between the two of you will take longer to recognize. It is important to remember that the Perceptual Style descriptions are intentionally written to highlight the common experiences that people with the same Perceptual Style have, but each individual will express themselves in their own unique way.
  18. What Perceptual Style makes the best partner for me in a marriage or relationship?

    There is no Perceptual Style that makes the best relationship match with any one of the other Perceptual Styles. Relationships are much too complex and, what makes people happy, too diverse to explain them through Perceptual Style alone. Any Perceptual Style can have a successful marriage or relationship with any other Perceptual Style. 

     

    To be successful, every relationship requires work, and all relationships face challenges that must be acknowledged and addressed. Some of these challenges can be attributed to the dynamics of how each person in the relationship’s Perceptual Style responds to and interacts with the Perceptual Style of the other person involved, many cannot. 

     

    The issues each Perceptual Style commonly experiences with each of the other Perceptual Styles is covered at the end of your Celebrate You action guide.

  19. Will the Perceptual Style Assessment or Recognized Strengths Profile assessment results reveal negative thoughts or feelings?

    No. Neither the PSA nor the RSP is a test of personality. As such neither measures psychological health or pathology. 

     

    It is best to think of the PSA as a sorter. By having you rate descriptive adjectives it sorts out which Perceptual Style best fits your self-description, and by inference what your true innate Perceptual Style is. 

     

    Think of the RSP as a point-in-time measure of your awareness and use of Your Talent Advantage. It reveals which of 18 Natural Action Capacities (NACs) you most often use. Some of these NACs are naturally supported by your Perceptual Style others are not. The RSP tells you how consciously you are using those NACs that are supported by your Perceptual Style.

  20. You say that Perceptual Style doesn’t change, but I am very different at work than I am at home or with my friends. Why is that?

    You act differently in different situations in order to fit different requirements and different contexts. Being able to respond appropriately in different situations is one of the hallmarks of healthy individuals.  Flexibility is not the same as changing your Perceptual Style, and while it strongly influences behavior, behavior is not the same as perception. Your Perceptual Style does not change from situation to situation; you are just expressing your Perceptual Style differently in two different settings. Also, keep in mind that most of us overestimate our situational differences. Those who know us in multiple settings usually don’t see dramatic differences.
  21. The Perceptual Style Assessment and Recognized Strengths Profile assessment both require a lot of time to complete. Why are they so long? Couldn’t they be made shorter?

    It is true that both the PSA and the RSP take a little longer to complete than many other assessments you may have taken, but there is a reason for their length. We take our work seriously, and there is nothing more serious for us that knowing that when we report your Perceptual Style or your NAC preferences they are accurate. Both the PSA and RSP were designed using the principles of good test construction. These principles require an assessment to have items with good ability to distinguish differences between people and to do so reliably. The longer an assessment is, the more reliable it becomes. While overly long to some, the current versions of the PSA and RSP are the optimal length to provide the depth and richness of the results with the least number of items necessary to maintain superior reliability. It may take a little more time to complete the PSA and RSP, but we believe the quality of the results you receive make any extra time needed well worth it.