Cognitive neuroscience

The neuroscience model and Assess Manager, DISC or HBDI

Origins, use and overall understanding of the model

Neuroscience in personality and management tests.

Cognitive neuroscience – What is it?

The term cognitive neuroscience is recent, having been coined in the late 1960s, but the study of the brain is much less so. Advances in sciences such as chemistry, psychology, computer science and physics have largely contributed to the progress of this science. Philosophy has also played a part, coming into direct confrontation with the cognitive sciences when scientists try to identify the location of the soul in the brain. Descartes located it in the pineal gland and was already tackling the neurosciences… Gustav Jung also took a great interest in the subject by integrating personality types, and was one of the precursors of the neurosciences with his segmented approach to profiles.

Cognitive neuroscience: what does it mean?

Cognitive neuroscience deals in particular with the lateralization of the brain, i.e. areas with genetic attributes, influenced by the environment and the expression of genes that cause dominance. This is also known asepigenetics.

Cognitive neuroscience makes an important contribution, particularly in terms of our awareness of “who I am and how I function” (introspection), but also in terms of our ability to adapt to others and our understanding of “how they function and what they need”. These two questions help to pinpoint the points of convergence and understanding between two or more individuals. Emotional intelligence also plays a part in this, and can be linked to cognitive neuroscience.

If we talk about “gene expression”, we can clearly see that the terrain is shifting and evolving, and that pigeonholing a person into a box is out of the question. That’s why we talk about functional tendencies and not fixed personalities, which would indicate a sclerotic form, even though the solutions we propose are designed to open up the individual’s potential in terms of who they are and what they want to become. NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) supports the theory of a certain shift in personality, even if this subject is rather controversial among psychologists. The most advanced end of our approach to personality and management assessment is “MyCampus Management”, a solution for assessing and supporting individuals in changing who they are and what they are capable of doing (behavioural evolution).

What tests are inspired by cognitive neuroscience?

There are quite a few models inspired by cognitive neuroscience. They include

  • mBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator),
  • marston’s DISC (Dominant, Influential, Stable, Conforming) or colour test,
  • the HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument),
  • the Radhar by Olivier Du Merle,
  • process Comm is also inspired by these tests, even though this model does not claim to be based on neuroscience, etc

The Assess Manager test is inspired by the work of Herrmann and Olivier Du Merle, both of whom have written and inspired some very interesting books, including: “Manager avec l’approche Herrmann, l’art de conjuguer les intelligences individuelles”, by Stéphane Demilly; and “Cerveau, communication et management” by Olivier Du Merle.

How to identify your profession using cognitive neuroscience?

Herrmann’s approach to cognitive neuroscience involves segmenting the brain into 4 poles, using a horizontal and vertical cross-section.

Initial findings on cognitive neuroscience dominants:

People with a high dominant tend to function cortically, in the head, thinking and analysing. When the dominant is low, the functioning is more limbic, in the emotions, sensitivity (sensitivity in relationships and what they generate, sensitivity through the senses).

For vertical segmentation, we talk about left and right brain, the left brain being more based on experience and turned towards the past and evidence; the right brain is more into the imaginary or the future.

This model gives rise to 4 zones whose archetypes each have their own name and operating preferences, making it possible to associate job typologies with them:

The more developed a zone is, the easier it will be for the individual to mobilise the qualities associated with that zone, and vice versa. To analyse your major tendencies, you can take the personality test, which shows these results, as well as your recent changes (natural temperament versus changes): Personality Test

This cognitive neuroscience approach enables us to identify both the profile’s operating tendencies and its changes (outer circle). We can deduce professional orientations and preferences in terms of professions.

The expert according to cognitive neuroscience – what characteristics, what professions?

With their rational way of thinking, experts process information one after the other. They are precise, although at ease with abstract concepts and long-term projects. The expert also has a critical mind that enables him to identify the weak points in a project. More at ease in controlled situations, experts often make high demands on themselves and those around them.

Driven by a competitive spirit, they generally like to evaluate, progress and achieve a social status that will guarantee their professional success. Motivated by money and comfort, they draw their energy and motivation from these elements to achieve their goals. Some may describe them as individualistic, but they will be recognised for their professionalism.

Naturally curious, their thirst for learning is rarely quenched and is a source of genuine pleasure and motivation. Those around him may perceive him as brilliant.


Their choices tend to be guided by reason, without emotion or intuition having too much influence. If you perceive an expert as a communicator, it’s because they have qualities of another type (communicator or strategist), as this is not the point on which they are generally most recognised, often preferring written communication to oral communication.

Experts like to learn in order to develop real expertise on a subject. Working in a technical field can be both attractive and reassuring, because they can master it.

This means that experts could opt for careers that require long, technical, advanced studies, such as engineering studies, or studies in a very specific field.

If their second main area of interest is organisational skills, they may enjoy careers in finance, for example: management control, CFO, etc. They may also be engineers specialising in specific technologies. They may also be engineers in proven technologies. Business intelligence could also be an attractive sector. They are less likely to go into manual work.

The strategist according to cognitive neuroscience – what characteristics, what professions?

Strategists think by association of ideas, which can give their interlocutors the impression of a form of complexity or of being disorganised, not always seeing the logical links that drive their thinking. They often have an inventive imagination, which is a sign of originality.

Unwilling to abide by rules and conventions, strategists prefer to be daring and like to stand out from the crowd. They also enjoy exchanging ideas, and sometimes have a rebellious streak that gives them a spontaneous sense of joy. Learning history by heart was certainly not his favourite area, preferring to synthesise and understand history rather than mechanically learn dates or events.

Often a visionary, the strategist is more at ease imagining the future than remembering the past, which can nevertheless be a source of partial inspiration.

Dreamers and epicureans, they can imagine projects that are almost impossible to achieve, or develop projects that are ahead of their time.

Many managers who set up their own businesses are predominantly strategists. If they have a second dominant expert, they will set up their business in an area of expertise where they feel they can add real value by innovating, or by being opportunistic.

If they have a 2nd dominant profile of communicator, their strength lies in their ability to develop commercial partnerships to ensure the commercial growth of their company.

Apart from executive profiles, strategists can be found in the following professions: marketing professionals, consultants who provide advice to companies, project managers in cross-functional areas, etc. Generally speaking, these profiles will be on the lookout for new ideas and may even create their own if they have developed expertise in a specific field.

What are the characteristics of a cognitive neuroscience communicator?

Seductive, communicators are easy to talk to, which they both seek out and facilitate. Empathetic, they often have a chameleon-like way of getting their ideas across. Expansive and spontaneous, communicators do not necessarily try to hide their emotions and feelings, which are expressed quite easily.

They are often recognised as having real orator’s skills, so they can speak in public without feeling too much stress, unless the messages they want to get across are negative. In this case, he may lose his natural ease or simply prefer to cancel his participation in this exercise, which is not like him. He dislikes conflict and generally seeks approval or cohesion in a team or any other context.

He may try to mediate to avoid conflict. Rather intuitive, he has a good sense of who he is dealing with. This insight is not necessarily conscious but intuitively guides his relationships.

Being appreciated and valued is one of his major motivators. Faced with a difficulty, if they don’t feel supported or encouraged, communicators will easily abandon a project out of discouragement. On the other hand, with a manager who knows how to congratulate them and make them feel valued, they will work hard. They could be described as an extremely kind and devoted person if their “communicator” tendency is very marked.

In terms of careers, they may work in the commercial field because of the interpersonal skills it requires. Social professions are also often a favourite field for communicators.

The second dominant will have a strong impact on career choices. If this is the expert, it will enable the person to move into a technical-commercial career or into teaching, for example. The transmission of expertise will also be important.

If the second dominant role is that of organiser, cross-disciplinary careers will be another possible direction: QWL, process and quality, etc.

What are the characteristics of a cognitive neuroscience organiser?

Attached to tradition and tried and tested methods, organisers are more likely to buy a recognised product than an innovative product that has not yet proved its worth. Because they are more inclined to look to the past, they may appreciate history and have developed a very good memory.

Organisers don’t let their feelings get in the way, even though they are very present, but they have learned to control them. His colleagues often know very little about his private life. He keeps things separate and prefers to keep the professional and private spheres separate.

Nonetheless, he is sensitive to the quality of relationships and appreciates working in a serene atmosphere. They like to feel secure in their working environment. In their approach to work, Organisers generally prefer to organise tasks one at a time. Carrying out several projects in parallel could give them the impression of being dispersed, inefficient or a waste of time.

They are methodical and show perseverance in their actions. They are also keen to see projects through to completion. If he commits to a job and says it will be completed by a specific date, he will be relentless in his commitment. Highly reliable, they have a natural form of anxiety and don’t need to be put under pressure; they’re too keen to live up to their commitments to need extra prodding.

Organisers are fairly resistant to change; they need stable points of reference and will be most loyal to a company in which they feel comfortable.

In terms of jobs, Organisers will be interested in any job where they can establish a form of regularity, where their organisational autonomy allows them to control their work and feel in control.

Jobs such as accountancy offer stable points of reference that will reassure them. Working as an assistant also allows them to take on responsibilities while being protected by a line manager. Many organisers can be found in jobs offered by the state or the public sector, where job security is offered.

It’s the second of these skills that can give you a sense of direction in your career. Coupled with a communicator, you could go into special education, for example. If the second major is expert, it’s easier to go into technical professions, potentially involving figures or processes.

Complementary approaches:

The cognitive neuroscience model, which is based on major functional tendencies, will be all the more reliable if it is correlated with other psychotechnical approaches to refine a person’s personality traits. Assess Manager’s ZOOM-ER personality test complements its cognitive neuroscience approach with other theoretical models: Transactional Analysis, NLP, etc.

Other useful links

To go further with Assess Manager