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Personality System Interactions theory (PSI)

The complex PSI theory developed by Julius Kuhl combines the key assumptions of a variety of personality theories and is also based on research findings from practical studies and integrates findings from brain research. It explains people’s behavior in a different way than previous, commonly used explanation models from psychology, social psychology and organization theories.


Kuhl believes there are four interacting subsystems that structure a personality: the purpose memory (reason), the extension memory (self), the intuitive behavior control and the object recognition system (mistake focus). The interactions between these systems are decisive for the behavioral patterns of a person and are regulated by emotional impulses. This includes the inner makeup of a person (personal), as well as their interactions with the environment (system), and the interplay between both levels (interaction). The focus is on the personal management of feelings and the control of one's own behavior – in short, self-control in social contexts. Practical applications of the PSI theory are being used in organization and personal development: With the aid of the PSI diagnostic instruments (set of personality tests) and the resulting behavioral recommendations, the initial analysis is linked to customized recommendations. Among the benefits of PSI is a significantly reduced time investment for identifying personal “imbalances.”


The results offer a functional analysis of the four subsystems of the respective personality profile and reveal development potentials. Upon conclusion, they are activated with the appropriate development methods. The function analysis procedure means that the individual topics and issues are merely observed in terms of “joint functioning.” No one receives just a generalized interpretation or a basic solution concept, but instead, a balance with the aid of one’s own resources is sought.


This brings us to the second benefit: sustainability. In a broad range of  valuation studies, it has been shown that this type of method creates significantly more sustainable solutions then standard methods. If PSI is being applied at the organization level, a personal diagnosis is expanded to the team dimension. In a matching process, in addition to the individual personality profile and development potentials, the “team system” profile is observed and its development potential identified. The efficiency and sustainability of this method is just as beneficial at the team level as it is with individual access to the personal system interaction.