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What is Emergenetics?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 16, 2024
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Emergenetics is a tool used to achieve a profile of a person’s behavioral and thinking characteristics. Emergenetics profiling is often used by companies and businesses as a recruitment tool to assess whether applicants are right for a particular type of job or whether they will fit into a certain team. Emergenetics is also often used for educational purposes and relies heavily on behavioral psychology.

The theory behind emergenetics is that people are born with thinking and behavioral traits already in place. These traits and behaviors are then modified and altered by the environment and social surroundings. In essence, a person has genetic traits that are affected by the environment. For centuries, psychologists and philosophers were certain that behavior only existed as a result of the surrounding environment, but research studies began to indicate that a person’s behavior is a combination of both genetics and the environment. Today, most psychologists acknowledge that both genetics and environment, or nature and nurture, make up the behavioral and cognitive characteristics of each person.

The emergenetics test is a self-assement questionnaire that results in a picture of a person’s thinking and behavioral traits. This profile is broken down into seven emergenetics attributes: four thinking attributes and three behavioral attributes. Each attribute is given a color.

The four emergenetics thinking attributes can be broken down as follows. Analytical thinking, designated as blue, is our rational, factual and skeptical way of thinking. Structural thinking, designated as green, is our practical and cautious way of thinking. Social thinking, designated as red, refers to our social awareness and how we interact with other people. Conceptual thinking, designated as yellow, is our imaginative and conceptual way of thinking.

The three behavioral attributes, all designated with purple, are expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility. Expressiveness describes whether a person is an extrovert or an introvert. Assertiveness measures how passive or aggressive a person can be. Flexibility takes into account one's opinions and ability to deal with other's needs, as well as how decisive and how open to suggestion one is.

Each of these attributes can be measured independently of the others, but they can then be mixed to provide an overall picture. Emergenetics is a palette of colors that paint a picture of one's personality when mixed together.

The emergenetics test is open to debate over validity. It is most popular among psychometric testers, who are paid by companies to use it as a recruiting tool. The biggest flaw in the test lies with the person who takes the test. Unless the questions are answered 100% truthfully, the test will be flawed. Many people answer the questions in order to make themselves fit the ideal that they believe recruiting company is looking for.

Likewise, unscrupulous testers have been known to let a candidate resit the test if he or she is not happy with the results. The human element will always be a flaw in any type of psychometric testing, but if the test is performed truthfully, emergenetics can provide a fairly accurate picture.

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Discussion Comments
By anon947265 — On Apr 24, 2014

The Emergenetics test clearly states that it should not be administered before hiring someone. It is not a measure of competence.

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