Is the Enneagram just another psychological model, or is there reason to claim that it is scientifically more fundamental than other models? We make a case that the Enneagram is based on a fundamental ordering rather than a multidimensional map. We suggest that the Enneagram model can be regarded as a periodic circle — a fundamental systematic ordering of behavior patterns (the atomic units considered in psychology), just as the Periodic Table orders the atomic elements in physics. The Periodic Table orders the atoms according to the number of protons they contain. Furthermore, the rows and columns denote underlying categories. Similarly, the Enneagram contains clusters of descriptors that are situated around the circle, and the triads reflect underlying categories (drivers).

The DISC, Myers-Briggs and other models of personality analysis basically select a number of dimensions (characteristics) to plot individuals. The dimensions are not arbitrary, but are selected according to criteria that are useful for analysis. In the Enneagram, personality styles are ordered according to three fundamental components and their combination / interaction to form the styles. We draw from concepts (including indexing methods and execution styles) developed in computational models of behavior that resemble the essence of the triads, suggesting that these models provide an objective argument that triad components are fundamental.

Deon Oosthuizen spent ten years as Computer Science Professor at the University of Pretoria and one year at Stanford University. He has produced 21 international publications and presented at 20 conferences. He is currently a CFO at an international IT consulting Group and has a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence.

Deon Oosthuizen


2009 IEA Global Conference

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA