Answers to frequently asked questions about Perceptual Styles
  • What can I expect from the Perceptual Style Assessment (PSA) 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.

    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 Celebrate You action guide written for your specific Perceptual Style. Celebrate You provides a detailed description of your Perceptual Style that will allow you to understand how it influences your natural strengths and every level of your behavior.

  • What can I expect from the Recognized Strengths Profile (RSP) 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 (NACs) – complex groupings of skills and abilities that people perform as they interact. You have developed some of your NAC and use them all the time. And you also have some NAC lying dormant waiting to be recognized and used! There are 18 different and distinct NACs described by PST.

    The results of the RSP are delivered in the form of a personalized report about your Preferences for Interaction and specific point in time information about your awareness and use of your NACs. Also included is the Live Your Talents action guide, which 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 natural strengths and skills.

  • What theory are the assessments based on?

    Perceptual Style Theory, or PST for short, is the underlying theory from which the PSA and RSP were developed. PST was developed by Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D., and Lynda-Ross Vega.

    PST is a perceptual styles and behavioral capacities theory 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.

  • 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.

  • What does the Recognized Strengths Profile assessment measure?

    The RSP measures where you are on the path to claiming your natural strengths. It does this by measuring your Preferences for Interaction and assessing the extent to which you are consciously performing the Natural Actions Capacities 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).

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

    Both PSA and the RSP are self-report assessments that provide results based on what you report about yourself, and they provide information in a way that you will experience as both insightful and helpful. The core concept of the 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 Natural Actions Capacities and reduce the use of actions and activities that are not supported by your Perceptual Style. This type of information is not available anywhere else.

  • What is the research behind the PSA and RSP assessments? Are they reliable?

    Research on Perceptual Style Theory has been on-going since it's creation. Both reliability and validity studies have been conducted, and the results of these studies are presented on the Research page of this site – click Research Information to get the details

    The bottom line is that the studies performed to date have proven that both assessments measure what we say they measure (validity) and perform that measurement consistently (reliability).

  • Can I retake the PSA and RSP profile assessments? Would retaking them affect my results?

    The PSA can be retaken. Because it measures your Perceptual Style, which is an innate and unchanging part of who you are, PSA results very rarely change, but you are welcome to retake it if you so choose.

    The RSP is a point-in-time snapshot of how effectively you are using the Natural Action Capacities (NAC) that are part of your Perceptual Style. Since it is point-in-time, it can definitely be retaken. Taking it a second time will reflect any skill development you’ve focused on during the time between the first set of results and the retake.

  • 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 you believe to be "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.

  • 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 NAC, 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 NAC.

    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. You can learn more by selecting the Career Planning Information link.

  • Isn’t it really skills that matter? If I can learn any skill, why does my Perceptual Style matter?

    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.

  • 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 combine with your Perceptual Style to mold and shape your actions into the unique expression that is you.

  • Can I change my Perceptual Style?

    The simple answer to this question is no, you cannot change your Perceptual Style anymore that you can change the color of your eyes. It is part of you. The focus of Perceptual Style Theory is to help you celebrate who you are and tap into your natural strengths. This requires that you accept the strengths and limitations of your Perceptual Style and explore how to fully develop the natural action capacities it supports.

  • Are some Perceptual Styles better than others?

    All six Perceptual Styles are normal and healthy ways of perceiving the world. None is better than or more accurate in its perception than any other. They each have unique strengths and specific blind spots. They all shine in some situations and struggle in others. It’s part of being human.

  • 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 is too diverse to explain 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.

    The challenges each Perceptual Style commonly experiences with each of the other Perceptual Styles is covered in the last section of the Celebrate You action guide.

  • Will the results of either of the assessments 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 (NAC) you most often use. Some of these NAC are naturally supported by your Perceptual Style others are not. The RSP tells you how consciously you are using those NAC that are supported by your Perceptual Style.

  • If Perceptual Style doesn't change, why am I different at work, at home, or with my friends?

    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.

  • These assessments require a lot of time to complete. 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 than knowing that when we report your Perceptual Style, Preferences for Interaction, and NAC that 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.