7Ways Academic: The Multimodal Personality Assessment (MPA)

April 17th, 2015 by ian

The academic name for the 7Ways Personality System is the Multimodal Personality Assessment (MPA). The roots of my system aren’t solely religious in nature. I have drawn from several different related disciplines to bolster my theory, and I believe it is the next step in the development of personality typing theory field.

Below is the set of personality types described in my academic version of the system and, below it, the knowledge I use to bolster the theory.


John Holland‘s work in the field of vocational types. His 5 types match up directly with all of my types, where the sixth likely matches up with the Guarding, but may also fit the Sustaining type. The Guarding type lacks a specific skill set in terms of a specific vocation–the Guardian is a process of working. They can be found in many fields. One can argue something similar about the Sustaining but a forthcoming article will deal with this in a discussion or Holland’s original types, how they evolved, and how others use them.

This the backing for different personalities fitting better with different vocations and fields.

Jaak Panksepp‘s work as a psychologist, psychobiologist, and neuroscientist. See here for one of his many articles on the subject of 7 emotional command systems. He also theorized about other versions of his command systems, and they very much all reflect the 7 personality types and their qualities.

Panksepp’s work reflects the biological roots of the 7 types. Each “higher order” functioning has its base, emotional component. For example, creative types match up with the system of PLAY, as their higher level skills make art or music, the basic emotional side they dwell in primarily contains fun and amusement.

It should be noted that Panksepp himself challenged this automatic pairing of the two sets of 7, arguing that it is possible for someone to be more oriented towards one of the seven from one set and one the other (personal correspondence, 2012). For example, someone may be creative, but more in tune with the CARE system. I disagree with this notion, and argue the 7 match up specifically.


Carol S. Pearson and Hugh K. Marr developed the The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator, which outlines 12 archetypal personalities found in mythology and literature.

Their system is not specifically describing personalities set within people, but journeys people take. The theory agrees with my Multimodal Personality Assessment in the abstract, and could have easily been applied to personalities, as well. One can use Occum’s Razor to reduce her 12 to my 7. At the same time, one needs to explain why archetypes that are projected from our collective unconscious necessarily fit human personality variances. The argument, which I agree with, would be that our brains are hard-wired to recognize the different personality types, as part of the collective unconscious, and the projection of archetypes into dreams and mythology comes from these components of the mind/psyche. The converse can also play part in this: once we recognize personality differences, the themes stick in our mind and we keep them in our mental and cultural ethos. The two likely are symbiotic.

Arnold Lazarus‘s Multimodal Therapy (MMT). Lazarus observed that people experience live in a way that is liked to their biology and different ways of perceiving the world “modalities”–encapsulated in the acronym BASIC-I.D. (visually, sensory, biology/drugs etc.)  and that psychotherapy ought to include all mediums. Furthermore, some people experience the world in certain categories over others.

Lazarus’ model paves the way to link biology and perception with psychotherapy, and in turn with personality typing. Different personalities, I postulate, are linked to their respective modalities and will show up more in his testing in each category.



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