Institute for Behavior Analysis
Institute for Behavior Analysis


"Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler."

Albert Einstein



The Behaviour Profiling system is based on the research of the renowned 20th century behaviourist Karen Horney. She proved that human behaviour is influenced by ten human needs which are present in us all in different proportions. She clustered these ten human needs into three coping strategies shown in the table below. 

(*She added three here, as well, because it is crucial to the illusion of total independence and perfection that you limit the breadth of your life!)

The latest research in neuro and behavioural science provides substantial confirmation of Karen Horney’s work. The development of human behaviour is strongly influenced by the basic need for safety and security. (Basic anxiety). Therefore humans cope in different ways to satisfy this basic need in order not to get “hurt”. Horney defined that we develop our personal way of coping with life in early childhood. The three personality and behavioural influences in our system, which we illustrate in our Behaviour Profiler Index (BPI), has 794 variations and measures the exact strength of the influence of those 3 coping strategies. For ease of reference we have used the colours YELLOW for Compliance, RED for Aggression and BLUE for Withdrawal to represent them.


The Compliant Influence: YELLOW

‘Behaviour and attitudes with the trend of people moving toward people,

such as a need for affection and approval’

The Compliant Influence displays attitudes and behaviour that reflect a need to move towards other people in an affectionate and empathetic way by using the self-effacing solution to life. They have a strong and continuous need for closeness and approval, an urge to be loved, wanted and protected. The stronger the yellow influence the more these needs are displayed towards other people. Yellow influence means to have the drive for self-preservation, enjoyment, pleasure and just to feel good. Everything a strongly yellow influenced person does is down to one major underlying behavioural motive which is: ‘Love me – Please love me!’

A strong yellow influence is the reason that a person will try to please other people, particularly their colleagues and associates, in order to achieve their own goals. They often behave in ways others find attractive or endearing. For example, they are usually empathetic, appreciative, kind, warm and friendly, understanding, and sensitive to the needs of others and try to do everything for them. Strongly yellow influenced people need a harmonious environment, are team and relationship orientated and like to be in the middle of the crowd.

In dealing with other people, yellow influenced personalities need others who are able to work under non-regulated situations, others who can deal with numbers, data and facts as well others who prefer analysis and planning. They are willing to assume blame and to defer to others, never being assertive, critical, or demanding. They tend to do whatever the situation requires, as they interpret it, to gain affirmation and approval in order to be beyond criticism. Horney suggested that compliant influenced people are saying, “If I can make you love me – you won’t hurt me.”

Because the security of compliant influenced personalities depends on the attitudes and behaviour of other people toward them they like to be dependent and tend to have a strong need for constant approval and reassurance. Any sign of rejection, whether actual or imagined, can be highly uncomfortable to them, leading to increased efforts to regain the approval of the person they believe has rejected them.

The source of this behaviour is the person’s strong need for affirmation and approval. They generally have a strong desire to be part of a group or team in terms of their working relationships. Sometimes this can be taken to extremes. None the less yellow influenced people have a natural talent to network.

The Aggressive Influence: RED

'Behaviour and attitudes associated with the trend of moving against people,

such as a domineering and superior manner.'

The Aggressive Influence is the force to move against other people by using the expansive solution to life. They have a strong and continuous need for dominance and superiority, an urge to win, be admired and respected. The strong red influence displays these needs towards everyone. Red influence means having “drive”, being determined, self-confident and strong. Everything a strongly red influenced person does is down to one major underlying behavioural motive which is: ‘If I have power – No one can hurt me!’

By excelling and receiving recognition, they find satisfaction in having their superiority affirmed by others. Red influenced personalities are driven to surpass others, have a need to possess someone or something and have a strong drive for conquest. They have no problem dominating a person or situation and their desire to take the lead is driven by their motive to achieve and retain superiority and power.

They drive themselves hard to become the best; therefore, they may actually be highly successful in their careers, although the work itself will not always provide intrinsic satisfaction. Like everything else in life, work is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Red influenced personalities will appear confident of their abilities and uninhibited in asserting and defending themselves. They will generally need the support, through delegation, of other people who can do the planning and calculating and who have the ability to work systematically. They are delegators who are, nonetheless, prepared to accept responsibility but tend to need the support of a team. Red influenced people need an environment with hierarchy, challenges, new opportunities and they respond well to single incentives for their motivation.

The Withdrawal Influence: BLUE

'Behaviour and attitudes associated with the trend of moving away from people,

such as a strong need for privacy'.

The Withdrawal Influence displays the resigning solution to life that drives a person to move away from other people in order to maintain an emotional distance. They have a strong and continuous need for distance and discretion, an urge to analyze, be rational and reserved. The strong blue influence displays these needs towards everyone. Blue influence means having patience, being thoughtful, thinking things through carefully and being precise. Everything a strongly blue influenced person does comes down to one major underlying behavioural motive which is: ‘If I withdraw – Nothing can hurt me!’

Blue influenced personalities avoid quick decisions, the pressure of deadlines and all things they cannot control. The success of blue influenced people comes through argument and precision in their communication.

They need to feel in control, need to feel the future is manageable and that they are prepared at all times for any eventualities. Because blue influenced people are risk averse and cannot accept uncertainties they will always need the precaution of assurance as to the detail. They have a clear manifestation that they are unique, different and apart from everyone else i.e. total individualists.

Blue influenced personalities often have difficulty expressing their feelings toward other people, particularly feelings of love and hate. For them intimacy can lead to conflict therefore they need a long time to establish relationships with others and it can take even longer to fully trust another person. Because of this constriction of their emotions, blue influenced personalities place great emphasis on reason, logic, and intelligence.

Others need to make decisions and push them through whilst the blue influenced personality will calculate the reasons, risks and outcomes first. They need an environment with access to, and an understanding for, research, investigation, analysis and planning. To really understand the tasks they are given they require a precise and unambiguous job specification.


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