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Psychography is the comprehensive description of the state of mind ( psyche soul ) of an individual, which is used to evaluate the same - the term is not to be confused with psychography in spiritism , which describes the activity of a writing medium ( psychographer ). The term psychography as such originates from differential psychology and was introduced into personality psychology by Gordon W. Allport . Allport assumed that an individual can be represented by evaluations in the form of measures within a psychogram. In addition to biological components (e.g. the shape of the body or the state of health), the factors taken into account also include abilities and skills, intelligence, temperament, etc. The creation of such a psychogram provides the possibility of comparison. However, Allport's approach has (so far) had no noticeable effects beyond the psychological experts, as is the case, for example, with the theories of Sigmund Freud.

Psychography according to Friedmann

Regardless of the psychography defined by Allport, Dietmar Friedmann first used the term psychography as a term for a self-developed personality model in 1990 in his book “The Other” as a result of the research he began in 1976. Friedmann uses the term "psychography" in the sense of a "map of personality". In the course of his work Friedmann first discovered three “autonomous areas of life” which he initially called “emancipation, identity and knowledge”. Through his involvement with Eric Berne's transactional analysis and Stephen Karpman's drama triangle (also a transactional analyst), he succeeded in first formulating the three areas of life of the psychographic personality model: relationship , recognition and action .

Analogous to the drama triangle, in which, according to Karpman's view, every person takes on a “favorite role” from the three possible roles of “savior”, “victim”, “perpetrator”, every person has a preferred area of ​​life in the psychographic model. In addition, however, according to Friedmann's theory, even in the drama triangle, every person also has an “avoidance role”. This follows the “favorite role” in the drama triangle, with which a process direction is formulated.

The basis of the model is the dynamics of the triad shown here

Friedmann therefore formulates the basic triad "preference (personality area) ⇒ neglect / resource (development area) ⇒ result (target area)" in his model. Applied to the three above-mentioned areas of life, in his opinion, it becomes clear from the behavioral patterns that occur in the result area when a person develops from his preferred area of ​​life to his resource area by taking up and acting out patterns of behavior or solution from the neglected (resource) area.

Psychography as a personality typology

The three areas of life of the psychographic personality model

Friedmann formulates a personality typology based on the autonomous areas of life relationship , recognition and action : He describes people with a preference in the area of ​​"relationship" as a relationship type . He describes people with a preference in the area of ​​"recognition" as a factual type . He describes people with a preference in the area of ​​"action" as action type . First of all, in his further work on the model, he differentiates between "relationship type 1" and "relationship type 2". Finally, he builds a bridge to the typology of the Enneagram by assigning three sub-types from the Enneagram to each of its 3 basic types.

Werner Winkler , a student of Friedmann who also worked intensively on the model, took a different approach to grading the three basic types. In its typology there are further - likewise triadically structured - subdivisions. In addition, he formulates the basic areas as “relationship” , “time” and “activity” , on the basis of which he develops his “123 model”, which leads to a total of 81 different types.

As a result, the term psychography today stands for two different models based on a common basic typology, which differentiates between nine sub-types in Friedmann's version and 81 sub-types according to Winkler's ideas.

Application of the psychographic model

A characteristic feature of psychography is the connection with solution-oriented approaches according to Paul Watzlawick and Steve de Shazer . It is therefore often referred to as “solution-oriented knowledge of people”.

The aim of their application is to strengthen social skills, increase the ability to work in a team and make it easier to deal with others. Ultimately, it should also serve self-knowledge. For example, psychography is used in psychological counseling, coaching, profiling and communication training. In addition, the model is taught and applied in training in therapeutic and advisory professions.

A non-profit association exists to promote the topic on a voluntary basis, the Initiative for the Promotion of Natural Science e. V., which also organizes interdisciplinary specialist conferences on the subject.

In the scientific personality research and psychology, Friedmann's model has no meaning, there are no studies on it.

See also


  • Dietmar Friedmann: The other. Ehrenwirth, Munich 1990.
    • The three personality types and their life strategies. Primus, Darmstadt 2000.
  • Werner Winkler: Textbook Psychography - Knowledge of Human Beings with System. 2nd, supplementary edition. Winkler, Fellbach 2004.
    • Why are we so different 2nd, completely revised edition. mvg, Heidelberg 2010.

Web links

Wiktionary: Psychogram  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Information on psychography
  • The basic psychographic types
  • Mikael Krogerus and Hannes Grassegger: "I only showed that the bomb exists." The psychologist Michal Kosinski has developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their behavior on Facebook. And so helped Donald Trump to victory. In: The magazine N ° 48 . December 3, 2016 ( - Application of psychometrics in the US election campaign).

Individual evidence

  1. Psychographer. In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon., accessed November 18, 2013 .
  2. Spiritism; Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon - 20 volumes - 6th edition - 1902. Retrieved on November 18, 2013 ( PDF version .).