2012 Thinking Style Survey


Interested in participanting in this ongoing study of THINKING STYLE PREFERENCE tests?
Them download either of these, complete one and send it to me at



received shapes survey stats nov 2012THINKING STYLE SURVEY (.doc format)


downloaded onto this website Sunday, November 18th

(based upon 83 responders collected out of 120+ volunteers)
The following is arranged by country of participants.
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click on survey stats…..to download EXCEL table of results collected…
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83 shapes survey stats by country 2012

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Some of the respondents gave other names to the shapes.
shapes survery terms collected
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Square – blue, triangle – salmon, circle – pale green, squiggle – purple

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Which shape was chosen individually over the other 3?
Circle was chosen more often and square least often.
How were the four shapes organized by preference?
Though circle was chosen as the individual selection more often the triangle and squiggle ended up put in higher order.
How Rated from 1 to 5 (5 highest)
When it came to RATING the four shapes they all scored very close overall.
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Too few people out of the 83 who returned they surveys had taken any of the other tests to make any valid comparisons.
MBTI was the one that people had taken the most yet less than 50% had.
Though many of the first shapes chosen matched what I believed the people I have known and know the second, third and fourth choices would not have.The ratings of the 4 shapes was another area of surprise in more than 1/2 of the surveys returned.
I did this survey to explore a couple hypotheses.1. Pre-knowledge or an experience with a person would make it easy to predict their choice of a single shape.
The results did not support this hypothesis.
2. Ordering of 4 shapes could be predictable based upon first choices.
The results did not support this hypothesis.
3. Rating of 4 shapes would provide a more accurate determination of a person general THINKING STYLE PREFERENCE.Too little data to make an assessment based upon the 83 collected surveys.4. The SHAPES exercise could be used as a predeterminer of scores on other instruments.
Too little data to make an assessment based upon the 83 collected surveys. 

5.  Arrangement of the 4 shapes would coincide with or match the RATINGS.

The results were widely spread and inconsistent to demonstrate this hypothesis as positive or negative.

6. Having played with, experimented with the 4 SHAPES exercise over the past 15 years I thought by adding two more layers to the exercise would show it to be a potentially valid tool.

The results of this one study had not indicated this.  Perhaps a more thorough, better designed, written version of this study may show otherwise..

For now I continue to see it as an interesting, quick exercise to introduce the idea / concept / theory of DIFFERENCE or THINKING STYLE PREFERENCE DIFFERENCE in a workshop or training session.


Do you want to take part in this survey as part of the 4th WAVE?

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Use whichever one is easiest for you to use and send the results directly to me at


or copy the following and add your answers and information and send the completed form to me at.



received shapes survey stats nov 2012THINKING STYLE SURVEY (.doc format)

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If you want to join this on-going study read the following.  My ultimate goal is to collect 1000+ in the next few months


Here is my 2012-2013 THINKING STYLE SURVEY.

My goal is to collect results for 500 to 1000 people from around the world among FB Friends, LinkedIn Contacts, colleagues, clients, people in my workshops/presentations.

Please help by participating




1st exercise

Choose one of these four shapes (share your choice)

2nd exercise
Arrange the four shapes in order of your liking them: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

3rd exercise
Rate them, 1 to 5, as many 5s or 1s you choose to use.

Last part of the survey

Which of the following instruments have you completed?  Provide your approximate scores, at least from memory.

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument


score (Adaptor/Innovator)

the letter code, at least highest 2

Neethling Brain Instrument

L1, L2, R2, R1

SOLAT – Styles of Learning and Thinking

M.I.N.D. Design
Meditiative, Intuitive, Negotiative, Directive
(you can take this at http://www.cre8ng.com)

Other instruments:

Gregorc, Kolb, Human Synergistics, Dunn & Dunn

specify if not listed.

Thank you for your help with this survey.






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Over 30 years I have used my MIND Design since I first created the initial 8 question version in the summer of 1982 when I was living and teaching in Cortona, Italy.
From 1976 to 1983 I studied and used many different THINKING STYLE QUESTIONNAIRES, INSTRUMENTS, TEST, EXERCISES.  Then when I began speaking full time (or trying to that is) I began using my M.I.N.D. Design 9 question version (and other versions I created).
At CPSI and other Creativity Conferences and at short meetings I began using my version of the “classic” four shapes exercise to get people to think about the potential impact or importance of knowing our THINKING STYLE PREFERENCES and those of people we work and or deal with in our lives.
The original I had seen for several years included
square, triangle, circle and the letter Z
My drawing on this survey showed the circle accidentally as an oval as you noticed.
I never liked the Z.  So I replaced it several years ago with a “squiggle”.
While in South Africa and Namibia I followed my gut I created additional ways of using the SHAPES.
1. arrange them in order
2. rate them each individually with no bias or ranking of them.
When I first saw it used the trainer/facilitator/speaker had people choose a shape or choose their favorite and then proceeded to TELL THEM what their choice meant about them and their THINKING STYLE PREFERENCE.
Years ago after knowing that a younger speaker, the son-in-law of my colleague and friend who got me started as a speaker and turned me into a LEADERSHIP EXPERT (word is used very loosely), was using the “4 Shapes” exercise in his Friday afternoon part of the same retreats that I did my session on Saturday morning, I finally attended one of his sessions and watched how it actually used it.
He asked people to choose the shape that attracted them or that they like the most.
Then he asked them to go to one of 4 corners of the room where they were that represent the 4 different shapes.
The next part was to have the people standing in the same corners to talk about why they chose that shape.
I found that “self-interpretation” activity very revealing and interesting.
Then he followed that part of the experience with sharing some info about what the shape choices might indicate about their possible THINKING PREFERENCE.
Both in South Africa and Namibia this time I expanded the exercise by adding some steps to the initial steps I learned from Brandon and had modified over the past 10 or so years.
After asking people to stand in their first choice corners I then asked them to go stand in the corners of their least or last favorite choice shape snd then talk about why they were their last or least favorite.
Following that I shared the stereotypic info about what the shapes might represent about THINKING STYLE PREFERENCE.
After seeing the results of doing that modified approach I added two more
a. Ranking of them
b. Rating of them individually.
Now I am exploring (wandering) to see what I might discover asking many people to do the same and to share the results of other more detailed or longer questionnaires or tests.
Just in the first few responses I have received in the first 48 hours I am seeing some expected, suspected trends or results.
In 1983 after completing my PhD dissertation using Ned Herrmann’s Whole Brain Dominance Instrument, Torrance’s SOLAT, Michael Kirton’s KAI, Anthony Gregorc’s, David Kolb’s and others I did a correlation study using 300 instruments.
The results showed that they all strongly correlated producing mostly the same to the exact same results no matter whether they were 4 shapes, 9 questions, 20 questions, 120 or more questions.
The longer ones provide much more detailed results yet the general high scores on all of them mostly match.
When I have collected units of 25, 50, 100 or more results I will share those results with my impressions or interpretations of what the surveys yield.
Once again thank you for taking the time to help me.

this page is devoted to reporting the on-going results of my 2012 THINKING STYLE SURVEY. As I collect groupings of survey responses (25, 50, 100, etc.) I will report them on this page.

Since 1976 I have been interested in the use of THINKING STYLE INSTRUMENTS and how they impact: Thinking, Learning, Communicating, Teamwork, Leading, Selling, Buying, Marketing and other Human Activities.

My premise is that your PREFERRED THINKING STYLE can greatly influence and impact your STYLE of doing any Human Activity.

If you capitalize on using specific THINKING STYLES you will eventually develop skills in them or create great STRESS for yourself.


If you project a DO IT BY THE RULES, SYSTEMATIC, STEP-BY-STEP thinking style, while thinking that your PREFERRED STYLE is one of being Highly Divergent, Exploratory, Shoot from the Hip, High Risk you will eventually create high stress for yourself and the people you work around.

I.E. #2:

If your preferred thinking style shows up on several questionnaires from short simple ones to highly complex of detailed ones as you being:

a highly sociable, likable, friendly, harmony striving, people person

and you focus on it you will eventually develop a variety of similar skills and will be seen as such a caring person.

My studies and experience have shown me over the past 36 years it is best to accept what your preferred style is and maximize it while adding skills of the other 3 primary styles rather than CHANGING to fit a boss, a team or company or client.

As Steven Covey tried to teach for many years thru his 5th Habit:

“Seek First to Understand, Before Trying to be Understood”

Strengthen and Add to your Growing Strengths rather than trying to change into something or someone else.