The Science

Why It Works

Why Understanding Yourself Is Key

Learning Social-Emotional skills, the ‘Leadership Skills of life’, matters.

The results are in from a great variety of research projects and test cases. Social-Emotional Skills matter in addition to Hard Skills when it comes to success at work and life.

Hard skills are mostly things that are highlighted by degrees, results from standardized tests, and most work/professional certifications.

Leadership-social-emotional skills are extremely important even when not celebrated by a degree. Success in life and work is primarily a result of developing multiple aspects of yourself, developing both hard skills and soft skills.

The Science Behind Our Process

Why We Use the Right Tool for the Right Situation

There are dozens of great psychological models and tools. The key is to choose the correct one for your needs. Most assessments use just a single psychological “tool” to help you.

We provide an entire toolkit so that you can always be using the best tool for the situation.

A Best-Fit Process

Best-Fit is a unique combination of psychological types.

The goal of Step Research is to get to one’s best-fit.

To get to Best-Fit, we use a multi-layered process.


Assessment Activities


Verification Process


Ongoing Refinement

Activities As An Assessment

Instead of asking about “symptoms”, a common psychological approach, our process of assessment activities focuses on best-fit methodologies and working for verification.

The game-like activities are not just helping you determine your best-fit, they are also incidentally educating you about the psychological models and how they apply to life. You are getting more out of the process with activities than with asking “symptom” questions.

The Need For Verification

The best-fit and verification process solves many of the problems with inaccurate assessments.

A best-fit and verification process is not only a necessary ethical requirement for many assessments – it is also a great idea.

We believe in providing the most amazing best-fit verification process to as many people as possible at the most affordable price.

Behavior & Core Self

One reason to avoid asking questions about someone’s behavior is that behavior is often a symptom of a lot more than a person’s core self.

Using the pyramid to the right as an example, your behavior starts with your underlying psychological types and patterns. The final resulting behavior that everyone sees gets modified by a variety of factors such as how you were raised, the schools you went to, your friends preferences, your experiences in life, the culture you were raised in and expectations at work. This means that questions about observed behavior may not help understand your underlying core self.

Another example of how behavior and core self is different comes from Linda Beren’s Core Self model. You have a Core Self, at the center, and then layered on top of that you have Developed Self, as you adapted and grew with influences from family, parents and school. Then you also have a Contextual Self, and this is what most people see from the outside, and this is where you might act differently when in front of your parents versus in front of your friends.

Benefits Of Personalization

Throughout our activities and reports, we use your name and preferred gender pronouns.

This way you are not reading generic text, but instead, text that is more personalized to you.

Our research has shown that personalization significantly helps accuracy for you determining what is NOT a “good fit”.

Personalization makes the contrast between “me” and “not me” that much starker. A good fit feels more true and a so-so fit is that extra bit less compelling when we refer to you by your name. This results in greater accuracy and more self-awareness.

Engagement Matters

The more we can engage you in the best-fit process, from assessment through verification. The better the results.

The more you are interested in doing engaging “gaming” activities about yourself, a favorite topic for most of us, the higher the accuracy.

We use diverse game-like activities because it helps create surprise and curiosity. You ask, “What will come next?” As a result, you spend more time doing self-awareness work.

Our research has shown that If you have to complete just one type of question or activity, you will go through an assessment more quickly, but end up with less accurate results. By using different activities that engage you differently, you get better and more accurate results.

Constantly Improving Accuracy

We use modern assessment and statistical techniques to maximize the accuracy of our best-fit wizards. For example, each psychological model is validated for you multiple times, then the different models are compared against each other for accuracy

It is kind of like “triangulation” for your personality.

Different from most standard assessments, we don’t stop after the assessment is done. We ask you to do verification. We continually gather more data from you to improve the accuracy of your results.

Additionally, our incredible database of thousands of people allows us to continually refine the accuracy of our best-fit predictions.

The Assessment Environment

The environment around you when you are doing an assessment can skew results. If you are highly stressed on a particular day, that can skew the results.

That is one reason we allow you to do activities anywhere or anytime you feel comfortable and have an internet connected device. You can find the environment and situation that helps you focus on your self-awareness.

We also encourage you to go back and do the assessment and activities again. There is no correct answer except the one that fits you best. If you feel like you have changed, great, then you can go through the process again. It is a journey of self-discovery.

Increasing Self-Awareness

Different people learn best in different modalities. We make sure to use a variety of techniques, both written, visual, and video to help you understand yourself and the psychological concepts.

We use icons throughout our software and our reports to help you easily navigate to the element that will help you most to understand a topic and yourself.

Multiple Methods
And Models

Different psychological, educational, sociological, economic, and other models are best used in different situations. They each have different advantages.

There are significant statistical and scientific advantages to using multiple models and methods.

Being over-committed to just one model or method can hurt your opportunities to grow if the wrong model is being used in the wrong way.

Accuracy Matters

No assessment is 100% accurate. All assessments have inaccuracies.

This can often come from differences in:

  • where we are when we take the assessment.

  • time of day when we start

  • mood while we complete the assessment.

  • awareness of the person about themselves.

This creates a need for a “best-fit” process that goes beyond any simple assessment, and even the best assessments benefit from the best-fit process that includes verification.

People Patterns

Social psychology and other “people” sciences such as sociology, anthropology, economics, politics, biology and related fields have a rich history of research into why people do what they do and the patterns of thought and behavior that they form. Patterns in groups and patterns in individual thought.

From Hippocrates, Aristotle and Plato with various temperaments to modern behavioral economics and neuroscience, it is a never-ending quest to improve and leverage our understanding.

One example of the multitude of recent research, Dario Nardi, PhD, has conducted research, utilizing insights from real-time EEG technology to validate Jungian Psychological Types.

The work from neuroscience offers evidence consistent with the existence of the Extraversion-Introversion polarity or dichotomous dimension.

Traits & Types

The world of psychology has some proponents for trait-based models and also proponents for type-based models. We find value in both. It is about using the right model for the right situation.

With the example of left and right handedness we can see how trait and type models play out.

Trait-model: A person is rated from 1-100 on their left and right hand ability, and our example person is 87-Left and 65-Right.

Type-model: While obviously a person uses both hands for many tasks it is useful to know that a person is “left-handed”.

Both systems are useful. The trait-model clearly adds quantitative information, which can be useful for all kinds of things, like ranking people. And what most people need to know day to day, is to be self-aware enough to say “I am left-handed” from the type-model.

Diversity Awareness

We see that part of your self-awareness is also how you are different from and similar to other people.

This is part of the power of Type systems. It creates a powerful shortcut for you to become aware of and leverage the differences between yourself and others.

Often, just the simple paradigm shift to realizing that some people prefer extraversion and others introversion can have profound effects on a person’s effectiveness in working with others and managing their own energy.

Research Applied
“Actually Doing Things”

Too often psychology is used to provide an insight that is then never put into use. We are focused on “Doing things with insight”.

We want to help people build good habits and change behavior with the goal of making their lives better. If people are not making positive changes in their lives, then we are not doing our jobs right.

Different models have advantages in different situations and have different applications. We want to leverage the right model for each situation to make the most improvement for you.

Day to Day Benefits

One of our key goals is helping you get benefits from self-awareness in your day to day life.

That means we spend a lot of extra time on how we can advise you, your counselors, and mentors with practical advice that applies a psychological model to a problem that is useful in solving.

We try to help answer the question, “What do I do now?”

We encourage you to do activities that help you make behavior changes based on key psychological insights into who you are.

Individual Refinement

Part of the process you go through is refining the different models and patterns down to what is most uniquely you. Part of that is going through your reports and highlighting which statements are most you and strikethrough those which, because of your uniqueness, don’t apply.

You are refining your own unique self-awareness of what suggestions work for you. What kinds of suggestions don’t work. For example, figuring out that for three things that likely matter, one of them matters way more for you personally can help your own behavior and help others working with you.

Collaborative Research

We work closely with other researchers and experts from many different disciplines.

We are all better by sharing knowledge and helping others’ research.

We embrace the diversity of knowledge and research being done in some many different areas. We are constantly working to improve our tools, process and product, and so welcome feedback. Each new bit of knowledge gained is another opportunity to make someone’s experience and life better.

If a researcher finds a better way to be helping people, shouldn’t we all be collaborating to leverage that?

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