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Insights Discovery – the science behind the colours


December 8, 2022

The Insights Discovery psychometric analysis is a framework for understanding your own personality preferences and those of others. It uses a four-colour approach to represent four core personality characteristics and calculates the extent to which your behaviours exemplify each colour.

The four colours of Insights Discovery
The four colours of Insights Discovery.

These “colour energies” make the resulting Insights Discovery profile clear and easy to interpret. But they belie the true science which sits behind this accessible output.

A typical Insights Discovery colour energy profile
A typical Insights Discovery colour energy profile. Your ‘conscious persona’ are the behaviours you’re aware of, the less conscious persona shows how people perceive you when you’re not consciously controlling your behaviour. Your ‘preference flow’ demonstrates how you adapt your behaviour between your natural inclinations and how you consciously choose to behave.

In this article we look beyond the colours at the science that makes Insights Discovery such a unique and effective psychometric tool.

The four colour energies

Insights Discovery is based upon the psychological types developed by Carl Jung. He proposed that people have four “functions” or ways of processing information; thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Each of these are influenced by two “attitudes”, introverted or extraverted, which cause the person’s cognitive functions to be generally internally- or externally-focused.

The functions of thinking versus feeling, and the attitudes of introverted versus extroverted are used to form the basis of the four colour energies:

The functions of thinking versus feeling

The functions of sensation and intuition are present in each colour energy, further dividing the circle:

Using relevant colours to represent each personality characteristic makes Insights Discovery very easy to engage with. But, of course, it isn’t as simple as each person having a single colour that represents them. People are more complex than that, which is where the science comes in.

The Insights Discovery questionnaire

When we take you through the Insights Discovery process the first thing you’ll do is to complete the questionnaire. This is made up of 25 sections, each of which ask you to describe yourself by choosing from four options.

An example section from the Insights Discovery questionnaire
An example section from the Insights Discovery questionnaire.

For each section you indicate which option describes you most and which describes you least. You then give the remaining two options a rating of one to five depending on how strongly they describe you.

There are over a quadrillion possible combinations of responses. So, you should expect a pretty unique representation of your personal personality profile!

Validating how well the questionnaire measures your personality preferences

Just having a questionnaire with lots of potential outcomes doesn’t, of course, mean that it’s giving you an accurate, and therefore useful, result.

The intention of the questionnaire is to demonstrate the balance of the four colour energies within your personality. So how do we know that it does this?

Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used in developing the Insights Discovery questionnaire. CFA is a way of taking the expected output from the data (the theory) and then using statistical tests on sample data to validate the theory (or disprove it).

In the case of the Insights Discovery questionnaire, it was hypothesised that each of the colour preferences indicated by each question should demonstrate the polar opposite nature of Fiery Red vs Earth Green and Sunshine Yellow vs Cool Blue (as indicated by their opposite position on the colour wheel).

From a sample of 33,435, they demonstrated that the factors were loading the correct colour preferences (based on >0.3 or <-0.3 being acceptable):

Item average factor loadings
Cool Blue Earth Green Sunshine Yellow Fiery Red
Factor one 0.082 0.521 -0.031 -0.566
Factor two 0.536 0.039 -0.526 -0.044

Are the Insights Discovery results consistent?

The reliability of the Insights Discovery results has been measured in two ways.

Cronbach Alpha

This coefficient of reliability measures “latent variables”, things which are unmeasurable or unobservable but can still influence the outcome of the questionnaire. The respondent’s level of conscientiousness or openness, for example.

The aim is to get as close to 1.0 as possible, with anything above 0.7 being considered an acceptable score.

When the Insights Discovery questionnaire was assessed (again using the 33,435 samples), it scored over 0.9 for each colour preference:

Cool Blue Earth Green Sunshine Yellow Fiery Red
Cronbach Alpha Coefficients 0.924 0.917 0.915 0.930

Spearman Correlation

Insights Discovery has also been tested to ensure that the results are consistent over time, which has been done repeatedly since its initial development. The method for this is to ask participants to complete the test twice, then compare the results. This is done with a gap of 0 to 6 months, 7 to 18 months or 18 months+ between tests.

The Spearman Correlation was used to measure the degree of association between each individual’s pair of test results. A result between 0.7 and 0.9 shows a good level of correlation between the two outcomes.

Cool Blue Earth Green Sunshine Yellow Fiery Red
0-6 months 0.86 0.83 0.88 0.83
7-18 months 0.86 0.83 0.88 0.85
18 months + 0.87 0.81 0.87 0.83

It should be noted that after a longer period of time, say several years, you might naturally see some changes in your Insights Discovery results. For this reason we advocate an Insights Rediscovery every few years, particularly if you have just had a change in circumstances, such as a new job.

Recognition of the validity of Insights Discovery

The Insights Discovery process has been independently assessed and awarded both the British Psychological Society (BPS) Psychological Testing Centre (PTC) kitemark and the Occupational Test Tools Certification Mark from the international assessors DNV GL.


Get more from Insights Discovery

As certified Insights Discovery practitioners we will take you through the process of completing the Insights Discovery evaluator and deliver your report, containing your personal combination of the four colour energies. View a sample Insights Discovery report.

We’ll guide you through the report in a personal “Bring it to life” feedback session, explaining the insights you can draw from the data. We’ll help you decide what to do next with your learnings and how to make the most of them in your work and personal life.

Call us on 01444 702 701 or email to start your Insights Discovery journey.

Further reading about how the Insights Discovery model was validated.

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