What do Wonder Woman and DiSC have in common?

Do you know the backstory of the inventor of the DiSC personality assessment? William Moulton Marston, a physiological psychologist, developed the DiSC model in 1928. What else did he do? He developed the first prototype of the lie detector and and created (wait for it) Wonder Woman!

Marston was a multi-talented man who was keenly interested in how people perceive themselves in relationship to the environment. Decades later, others built on Marston’s work to develop the 15-minute Everything DiSC Workplace assessment of personality style and preferences that’s popular today.

Thousands of our colleagues and clients in Washington have taken the DiSC assessment. Some have employed the 20-page report to develop more understanding as they work toward developing more productive teams based on The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model. Others have turned to the assessment as a way to reflect more deeply on how they can become better leaders using The Leadership Challenge as the framework.

Okay, so maybe DiSC isn’t as cool as Wonder Woman’s go-to weapon, the Lasso of Truth, but it is a pretty powerful way to support better teamwork and leadership development!

History of the DiSC model

The DiSC® Model of Behavior was first proposed in 1928 by William Moulton Marston, a physiological psychologist, in a book entitled Emotions of Normal People. Like many psychologists of his time, Marston made a deliberate decision to focus only on psychological phenomena that were directly observable and measurable through objective means. His primary interest was in theories of emotions and the physical manifestations of emotional states. From his research, Marston theorized that the behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types, stemming from the person’s perceptions of self in relationship to his or her environment. These four types were labeled by Marston as Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C). He created a model that integrated these four types of emotional expression into a two-dimensional, two-axis space.

Marston himself had little interest in theoretical concepts of personality or temperament. Thus, he never created a psychological instrument to measure his model. The contemporary understanding of DiSC maintains some of the core principles advanced by Marston, but the current presentation of the model also incorporates many additions and changes that are informed by advances in psychological measurement and theory.

Want to learn more about your personality and preferences at work? Download the Everything DiSC Workplace sample report today.



Gwen Voelpel

Gwen Voelpel has 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring leaders at all levels of organizations. She has an undergraduate degree in communications, a graduate degree in public administration, and has served as an executive leader in several organizations. Gwen is an accredited Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitator and a Certified Master in Training for The Leadership Challenge.