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Emotions of Normal People

The DiSC® Model of Behavior was first proposed in 1928 by William Moulton Marston, a physiological psychologist, in a book entitled Emotions of Normal People. Like many psychologists of his time, Marston made a deliberate decision to focus only on psychological phenomena that were directly observable and measurable through objective means. His primary interest was in theories of emotions and the physical manifestations of emotional states. From his research, Marston theorized that the behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types stemming from the person’s perceptions of self in relationship to his or her environment.


Marston labeled these four types as Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C). He created a model that integrated these four types of emotional expression into a two-dimensional, two-axis space.

Marston himself had little interest in theoretical concepts of personality or temperament. Thus, he never created a psychological instrument to measure his model.


The contemporary understanding of DiSC maintains some of the core principles advanced by Marston. Still, the current presentation of the model also incorporates many additions and changes that are informed by advances in psychological measurement and theory.

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