Mindex: FAQ

Must a person have a license, or other certification, to use Mindex?

We require that professional users of Mindex (consultants, trainers, counselors, coaches, educators, etc.) be certified by Karl Albrecht International to use the instrument. We have made this relatively simple and painless, by means of an Online Certification Course, posted on our Web site at KarlAlbrecht.com.

How much time does it take, on average, for a person to fill out and score the Mindex questionnaire booklet?

The majority of people can complete the questionnaire and scoring procedure in 15-20 minutes. A few people may need more time, including some elderly people and people using a version of Mindex not in their native language.

In some programs, you might be able to have participants complete the profile beforehand. Or, your schedule may make it convenient to call a break after completing the profile and before reviewing the results. In that way, those who need a few extra minutes can keep working while the others begin the break.

The online version of Mindex takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. The users receive their scores instantaneously as a Web page transmitted from our server. Then they download a personal workbook which they can use to record and understand their profiles.

How long does it typically take for a workshop leader to explain the basic Mindex model?

It’s possible to explain the essential elements of the model in just 10-15 minutes. Usually, it is advisable to move right into examples and practical workshop exercises without a great deal of conceptual discussion. Once the participants begin to assimilate the model and its implications, the workshop leader can return to the conceptual discussion and extend the discussion to various related topics. The Mindex Leader’s Guide package includes a set of lesson plans and PowerPoint slides that help to present the model quickly and easily.

How valid and reliable is Mindex as an assessment tool?

In evaluating assessment tools like Mindex, it is important to understand the implications of the terms validity and reliability. To say that an instrument is valid means that it measures what its designers or users claim that it measures. To say that it is reliable means that it gives similar or identical results when it is applied more than once under the same circumstances.

Because Mindex is based on a unique conceptual model, it cannot be validated against any known objective standard; therefore, the appropriate measure is what is known as “face validity,” i.e. the extent to which it makes sense “on its face.” Face validity is determined by asking a number of people who have taken the instrument “How well do you believe your profile scores accurately describe your thinking patterns?” From a sample of 2000 participants, the average validity rating on a 5-point scale was 4.08. Fewer than 2% of the respondents rated it lower than 3.

Reliability is a somewhat more complex issue, because the theoretical proposition behind Mindex supposes that a person’s thinking style is not fixed for all time. Although most people tend to keep approximately the same overall pattern, particularly in terms of the comparative levels of the four primary dimensions, many people report that their profiles may shift over time. For example, a person who moves into a position of administrative or managerial responsibility might feel that his or her left-brain/abstract component becomes more prominent, as a response to the demands of a changing situation. In general, however, many people who have taken the Mindex profile a number of times find that their patterns are highly consistent over time.

Does Mindex apply to children or teen-agers?

We have no subtantive data on which to base a conclusion about the applicability of the model or the profile to children. There are some research efforts underway, particularly in Japan, to extend the conceptual basis of Mindex to the development of children. However, the instrument was developed primarily with and for English-speaking adults.

Inasmuch as children begin to develop conceptual skills in late adolescence or early teen-age years (and even well into early adulthood), there are significant theoretical questions about what constitutes a cognitive style at those ages.

It is conceivable that Mindex could accurately describe thinking styles in the mid- to late teen-age years; however, we have no reliable data with which to form any significant conclusion.

Is there a statistical data base of profiles?

Yes. We have analyzed a balanced sample of 2000 profiles, taken from English-speaking people in the US, Canada, and Australia. The sample population consists of equal numbers of men and women, with a wide range of ages, occupations, and educational levels.

The Mindex Leader’s Guide includes a statistical summary of this norm base, subdivided by those parameters. These reports show clear differences in thinking styles across different occupations, between genders, and across educational levels.

Although promoters of other profile instruments sometimes emphasize that they have analyzed hundreds of thousands of samples, the fact is that statistical confidence does not require a huge test population.

Is Mindex a trans-cultural model?

We do not have enough data to assert confidently that the underlying model is completely independent of cultural factors, although many users in countries outside the US have reported high face validity with their participants.

Inasmuch as the model deals with fairly primary patterns of thought, it is reasonable to presume that these patterns are universal. However, there are various theoretical issues in testing that hypothesis; for example, the difficulty in assuring that translating the questions from English into any other language does not introduce linguistic biases.

At this time, we make no claims for validity or reliability beyond English-speaking populations. However, many non-English speaking users report feeling comfortable with its applicability.

Is Mindex available in other languages besides English?

The printed Mindex booklet is now available in Japanese and Spanish. Both the English and Spanish versions are available for online access as well.

How does Mindex compare (similarities, differences) to other profile instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, and others?

The two best-known competitors to Mindex are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI).

MBTI. The MBTI, developed in the 1940s by two marriage counselors, Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Cook Briggs, is more properly classified as a personality profile rather than a thinking styles profile. It is adapted from the work of Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung, and his theory of psychological types. For example, it includes an introversion-extraversion dimension, which is not incorporated in Mindex. Personality factors such as these can, of course, be taken into account in connection with a person’s thinking style, but they are not generally included in cognitive profiles.

The MBTI is by far the most widely known personal profile, with the largest number of trained practitioners who use it in mental health fields and in corporate training programs. It also has a very large research base and has been studied for many years by academics.

It’s important to note, however, that the MBTI was developed many years ago, before the breakthrough research at CalTech revealed the significance of the “left-brain / right-brain” differences — known as hemispheric lateralization. In this respect, it’s well to remember that Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and their contemporaries formed their theories without the benefit of this new understanding of human mental process, which came many decades later.

The US Federal government is one of the largest users of the MBTI profile. Over the years, so many civilian and military people have taken the MBTI instrument that it has reached a point of near-saturation. Many of these people, having attended a number of training and development programs, have taken the MBTI a number of times. Inasmuch as the Mindex model and concepts are highly compatible with the theory underlying the MBTI, Mindex serves as an excellent follow-up experience for these people. Rather than “run them through MBTI one more time,” with little value received, MBTI trainers can add Mindex to their tool-kit of learning and insight resources, providing a novel alternative to the “MBTI saturation” effect.

MBTI vs. Mindex. Many trainers and counselors who have used the MBTI feel that it is extremely revealing and helpful in giving people insight into their behavior patterns and their interactions with others. However, it is a rather complex model, consisting of four polarities which interact with one another to produce some 16 style variations. Most people find it difficult, if not impossible, to understand their profiles without the assistance of a trained workshop leader or counselor. And, most people have difficulty recalling their patterns or interpretations after a few months have gone by. (“Let me see, I think I’m an I-N-T-J; or is it E-N-T-J? Or I-N-F-J? Anyway, it’s one of those, but I don’t really remember what she said it meant.”)

In contrast, many practitioners have found it quite easy to pick up the theory behind the Mindex model, and to begin applying it confidently in their workshops and counseling sessions. They also report that the Mindex model is much easier to explain than the MBTI, that participants grasp it more quickly, and especially that participants can retain the model over a long time and apply it in their interactions with others. This last point is highly significant: while the MBTI tends to be useful in a particular training or counseling situation, the Mindex model is much more durable, i.e. people can easily remember the simple color metaphors that identify the patterns, and apply them confidently over a period of years.

HBDI. The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, developed as a competitor to the MBTI by the late William (“Ned”) Herrmann, arose more directly from brain research, and is a true cognitive-style profile. Ned Herrmann was a recognized pioneer in creativity training in the business world, having begun his research while involved in management development at General Electric Corporation. He amassed a very large statistical base of research to support his theory of brain dominance. After his death in 1999, others assumed the management of the firm he founded.

The HBDI’s four patterns are roughly comparable to the Mindex patterns of Red Earth, Blue Earth, Red Sky, and Blue Sky, although there are some theoretical differences. The original four-style model emerged in the psychological literature sometime during the late 1970s or early 1980s, as a result of some ground-breaking brain research by surgeons Joseph Bogen and Paul Vogel, and further research by Dr. Roger Sperry. Professor Paul McLean’s theory of the “triune brain” eventually evolved to incorporate the findings on hemispheric lateralization as well as abstract vs. concrete processing. Some practitioners feel that the terminology and explanation of the HBDI patterns tend to be somewhat judgmental, possibly expressing an unconscious bias for right-brained process (characterized as “creative”), at the expense of left-brained process (characterized as “controlling”).

Herrmann’s primary proposition was “hemispheric dominance.” He asserted that most people tend to rely on one of the brain’s two hemispheres in preference to the other; either the left hemisphere which is primarily linear, verbal, sequential, and symbolic, or the right hemisphere which is primarily holistic, structural, patternistic, and integrative. He described the four primary cognitive patterns as: upper-left, upper-right, limbic-left, and limbic-right, based on the brain structures he believed were most active during cognition.

A number of practitioners also seem to feel that the terminology of the HBDI model is a bit too “biological,” possibly putting off some people who do not favor a scientific or technical orientation. There are some theoretical issues involved in associating the limbic system, which is a primitive and automatic brain structure, with conscious logical and linear mental processes.

HBDI vs. Mindex. However, in comparison to Mindex, the main disadvantage of the HBDI instrument is that it must be expert-scored, i.e. the workshop leader or counselor must personally score and evaluate each profile, or have the scoring done by a scoring service, either of which can be very time-consuming and costly. Consequently, it is difficult or impossible to use it in “real time” during a workshop because of the preparation time that is necessary. This was also true of the Myers-Briggs profile until the publisher, Consulting Psychologists Press, released a self-scoring version.

Another significant advantage of the Mindex profile booklet is that it is a self-contained educational tool. It does not depend on any collateral material such as scoring templates, overlays, or other documents that explain the concepts. Not only does it contain the basic 100-item questionnaire and scoring system, but it also provides a clear explanation of the various scales and what they mean. Participants can take the booklet with them and study it later to refresh their understanding of the concepts.

More Comprehensive Scales. In addition to the four primary scales of Red Earth, Blue Earth, Red Sky, and Blue Sky, which correspond to some extent to the MBTI and HBDI models, Mindex includes 16 additional scales, dealing with aspects of mental process which are useful for self-insight and self-understanding. For example, Mindex has scales for Sensory Mode Preference (Kinesthetic, Visual, & Auditory), four scales dealing with Structure Preference (Time Orientation, Detail Orientation, Technical Orientation, and Goal Orientation), seven scales dealing with Mental Flexibility (Tolerance for Ambiguity, Opinion Flexibility, Semantic Flexibility, Positive Orientation, Sense of Humor, Investigative Orientation, and Resistance to Enculturation), and two scales dealing with Thinking Fluency (Idea Fluency and Logical Fluency).

Comparative Summary. Mindex is simpler, easier to use, and easier for users to remember and apply in their lives than either the MBTI or the HBDI. It is particularly more “friendly” than the rather complex MBTI. Mindex also offers significant cost advantages over its competitors, in addition to being a more “friendly” and easy-to-use product. The Mindex On-line Certification Course is an economical alternative to both the MBTI and HBDI certification seminars, which can involve an investment of several thousand dollars, including travel and accommodation expenses. The simple, user-friendly distribution concept associated with Mindex allows for a much lower total cost of implementation from end to end, particularly when compared to the HBDI scheme which depends on an elaborate process of scoring and shipping individual profile packages.

How much does the Mindex certification cost?

The fee for certification is USD $495. This includes a lifetime license and a set of user materials. There are no renewal fees or other charges. Your license is associated with you, regardless of who pays for it. If your employer pays the certification fee, the license remains with you, even if you leave the organization.

Note: If you are a currently certified user of another KAI profile product, such as the Social Intelligence Profile, then you’re eligible for a major concession on the enrollment fee. In lieu of the standard USD $495 enrollment fee, you only need to pay an administrative processing fee of USD $50. When you fill out the enrollment form, you’ll need to provide your ID Code as a certified user.

The order form for the certification course asks for a brief summary of your experience and qualifications in the general field of human development. You’ll also be asked to confirm that you agree to the conditions for ethical use of KAI profile products.

How does a professional user get started using Mindex?

Just submit your online application form for certification as a Professional User.

You simply order a license through this site, pay with your credit card, and take the course. You will receive your password by e-mail within a few business days. Most experienced practitioners find they can complete the on-line course in about one to three hours. The course includes an online exam to verify that you’ve mastered the key concepts.

The next step is to review the Mindex Leader’s Guide, which is a complete set of presentation materials you can use to do your own Mindex workshops. After you pass the Mindex Certification Course, you’ll receive the Mindex Leader’s Guide as part of your enrollment. The Guide contains more in-depth theoretical material, workshop designs and lesson plans, exercises, PowerPoint slides, and guidance for interpreting Mindex profiles. Your user password also gives you access to the exclusive Mindex User’s Area of the KAI website, where you can order profiles and access a wealth of resources you can use in your work with Mindex.

Try including a Mindex module in one of your workshops. Allow about 25 minutes for administering and scoring the profiles, 20 minutes or so to explain and discuss the model and participant profiles, and perhaps 30-60 minutes for an exercise to help participants experience the differences and impacts of thinking styles in their own daily lives.

After you’ve used Mindex a few times, you’ll find yourself thinking of new ways to apply it: conflict resolution, supervisor-employee counseling, team building, sales training, creative problem solving, and a host of other possibilities.

I’m ready to sign up – what do I do?

Fill out the online order form for the Mindex Certification Course.