Overview of the HBDI®

The world’s leading thinking styles assessment tool, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) is the assessment at the core of Herrmann International’s Whole Brain Thinking® approach. Developed in the 1970s by Ned Herrmann, while a manager at General Electric, more than thirty years of research and innovation stand behind the validity of the HBDI®.

The 120-question HBDI® assessment, which is administered by an HBDI® Certified Practitioner, evaluates and describes the degree of preference individuals have for thinking in each of the four brain quadrants, as depicted by the Herrmann Whole Brain Model®.

Being the basis of Whole Brain Thinking and all Herrmann International learning modules, the HBDI® teaches you how to communicate with those who think the same as you and those who think differently. Once an individual understands his or her thinking style preferences, the door is open to improved teamwork, leadership, customer relationships, creativity, problem solving, and other aspects of personal and interpersonal development.

After completing the assessment, an individual receives a comprehensive Profile Package containing his or her HBDI® Profile results along with in-depth interpretation of the results, reference material about the Whole Brain Model®, comparison data, and activities for further exploration and development.

The Profile Package and results can be debriefed by an HBDI® Certified Practitioner as part of a facilitated workshop or a coaching session.

The HBDI® profile

Genesis of the HBDI®

In 1976, while researching the brain as the source of creativity, Ned Herrmann learned of the pioneering brain research of Roger Sperry, Paul MacLean, Joseph Bogen and Michael Gazzanaga. From their work it is clear that the brain has four distinct and specialized structures.

Inspired by this research, Herrmann worked with EEG scans and, later, paper-and-pencil questionnaires to identify four distinct types of thinking, each roughly corresponding to one of the brain structures. The result of this research is the Herrmann Whole Brain Model®.

In August 1979, after many tests, in-depth research, and mountains of data, Herrmann had developed a valid self-assessment that enables individuals to understand their own thinking style preferences — the HBDI®.

Modules to discover

Do you want to discover
your HBDI® profile?

Complete the HBDI® questionnaire online and get your profile results confidentially within 48h including a booklet containing four sections:

  • To understand the thinking style model,
  • To interpret your profile step by step,
  • To give a summary of your profile code’s typical traits and other profile codes for comparison and understanding,
  • To give ideas and activities to explore your profile for potential growth.

HBDI® Fundamentals: intro to
Whole Brain course

Discover how your preferences affect the way you interact with the world in your own virtual classroom.

It’s fun. It’s easy, and, it may drastically change the way you think about yourself and your world.


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