Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 154 / JULY 1993 / PAGE 98

Insight. (personality inventory software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Eddie Huggman

A blue-tinted closeup of a human eye shows through a jagged tear on the white cover of the Insight box, just above the full program title: Insight to Greater Personal and Professional Success--A Kahler Process Model. What have we here? New Age software? Palm reading by your PC? Something mystical ... yet practical?

None of the above, actually, though you'd be forgiven for making any of those guesses after a casual glance at Insight's packaging. Unless you're already familiar with the Kahler Process Model, it's hard to tell that Insight is actually a detailed personality inventory, or psychological profile, presented in software form.

Using Insight means answering a series of questions that allows the program to issue reports with details on topics such as Your Personality Structure, Your Success Factors, and Your Distress Warning Signals. It's based on the Kahler Process Model (KPM), developed by Dr. Taibi Kahler in the mid 1970s. The package and documentation include endorsements from businesspeople from around the country as well as from Dr. Terence McGuire, a long-time psychiatric consultant for NASA who has used the KPM in selecting astronauts.

According to Insight's documentation--which focuses on background information and details of the profiles, since Insight is about as easy to use as computer programs get--Kahler's model classifies you as one of six personality types, none good or bad. The program goes out of its way to establish itself as a tool for self-discovery and self-improvement, not something that will "teach you to manipulate others or use this information in harmful ways." Scoundrels needn't apply.

If you're looking for a psychological quick fix, Insight's not for you, either. Although you can copy it onto your hard drive in a few minutes via a standard batch file, once you start Insight, you have a lot of reading to do. You move through the program using nothing but your cursor keys, with a long, colorful series of introductory screens offering background on the KPM, profiles of Kahler and other KPM developers, and amateurish graphic portraits of those people. The picture of the KPM that emerges from Insight's long introductory screens is one that spices basic psychological models with a pinch of humanistic philosophy: "We believe that people are OK, although their behavior is sometimes negative."

When you finally make it to the inventory, you're asked a series of 22 questions with six possible answers each. You can choose up to five answers that fit you, ranking them in order of importance. A short example is "I prefer: people, ideas, values, fun things, excitement, privacy." It takes 15-30 minutes to complete the inventory, after which the program issues a copy of Your Personal Insight Summary. It's presented on-screen with detailed descriptions of each basic personality type--Reactor, Workaholic, Persister, Dreamer, Rebel, or Promoter--along with other information to accompany suggestions of how you can maximize your success and contentment and minimize your stress. You can also get a printout of your inventory results with a couple of simple keystrokes.

As the bit about "professional success" in Insight's full title tells you, it's designed with businesspeople in mind. Though some of the blurbs on the box come from people who used Insight to help them communicate better with family members, many of the questions and subsequent suggestions relate to business situations. (I work alone at home, so I had some difficulty answering the questions about my colleagues.)

Whatever you do, don't rush through the Insight inventory with plans to answer more thoroughly another time: The Insight package comes with a Profiles disk that limits you to two personality profiles. Additional Profiles disks have to be ordered at a cost of $69.95 apiece. (You are given a chance to back out before the program completes a profile.)

I won't reveal the results of my profile, through I will say it seemed reasonably accurate, with information that looks helpful but not really surprising. If you'd like more, well, insight into your own personality, however, or if you're looking for suggestions on improving your life at home or at work, Insight wouldn't be a bad place to start. It comes with good credentials, it thoroughly explains every conclusion and recommendation, and it's an easy-to-use program.