Evolutionary psychology and the four colours
The four colours of the Behavioural profile are based on the evolutionary psychological theory ‘Darwian theory of human behaviour’.
This theory is built on the premise that everyone by nature possesses four genetically conditioned characteristics:
- We want to obtain something
- We establish relations
- We strive to gain insight
- We wish to control the situation, defend ourselves and those close to us
These basic characteristics – and our ability to make deliberate and instinctive decisions and choices – cause us to act the way we do. The four colours red, yellow, green and blue generally match each of the four characteristics.
This article offers a general view of evolutionary psychology, the four drives and how they correspond to the four colours.
Evolutionary psychology in brief
The notion of evolutionary psychology that man has genetically conditioned (native) characteristics can be traced far back in psychology and has recently been raised again by established psychology. The notion of native human characteristics can be traced back to philosophers like Hippokrates, and in the 1920s and 30s to Jung and Adler, among others.
The notion about the four characteristics has many similarities with Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) theory ‘Survival of the fittest’. Darwin said that the species who best adapt to their surroundings survive.
The human brain and personality are thus a result of an evolutionary development over millions of years. Below follows a brief description of the four genetically conditioned characteristics.
Our native tendency to wanting to obtain something and in this way improve our situation has always held a basic and necessary function in us humans – and every living creature for that matter. We search for food and water in order to survive, but survival is not everything. Humans are social animals, and therefore we always strive to improve our social position. This is done by obtaining power, experience, material goods or pleasant experiences.
There are a lot of ways for us to obtain what we want. We can grow or produce it ourselves, make trades or even steal or use force. Our need to obtain something belongs in the red category. On a good day, people with red tendencies can be: determined, focussed, demanding, resourceful and result-oriented. On a bad day, however, they can be: harsh to others, arrogant, dominant, hurried and impatient.
People strive to establish social relations, committing relationships and care for those close to us. Evidence suggests that we humans instinctively seek to establish social relations to others from a basic need to belong in a group.
This is both true when it comes to our close relations such as family and friends, but also when it comes to a more overall sense of belonging, for instance our nationality. Many examples of this tendency can be found in our daily lives – for instance the relationship between mother and child, the relationship between a football team and their supporters, and the general tendency to form groups of ‘us and them’.
The need to establish relations is associable with equality, interest, empathy, justice, friendship, loyalty and the feeling of belonging. The tendency to establish relations mainly belongs in the green category. On a good day, people with green tendencies can be: loyal, harmonious, understanding, considerate and people-minded. Are they having a bad day, however, they can be: despondent, hesitant, evasive, gullible and sensitive.
Gaining insight and understanding our surroundings
People always try to understand and explain the world around us. We are driven by curiosity. We strive to gain insight into things we do not understand. We constantly discover new things and compare our discoveries with what we already know to see if our conception is still valid or whether we should revise our conception of this given thing or situation.
Our desire to gain insight belongs in the yellow category. On a good day, people with yellow tendencies can be: inventive, spontaneous, enthusiastic, outgoing, visible and talkative. On a bad day, however, they can be: hectic, careless, shallow, disorganised or reckless.
Getting control or defending ourselves
We humans have always needed to be in control of our situation and to defend ourselves, our loved ones, our belongings or our convictions. Basically, defending and controlling are good and absolutely necessary mechanisms to secure our survival. They make us cautious with new things or people we do not know, which protects us against dangers regardless of whether this comes from other people or something else entirely.
The negative side of our drive to defend and control can emerge when we are subject of attack – on the ones we love or our beliefs. Examples of this can be something as simple as defending our convictions.
The drive to defend belongs in the blue category. On a good day, people with blue tendencies, can be: exact, methodical, systematic, disciplined and detail-oriented. On a bad day, however, they can be: cold, sceptical, slow, adamant or distanced.
Evolutionary psychology in general
Of course, we cannot blame our behaviour on instincts alone, our deliberate choices play a major part in everything we do. But our native instincts do give us part of the explanation as to why we behave and act the way we do. The model with the four colours cannot tell you who you are.
It can, however, provide you with a general view of your strengths and weaknesses in relation to others. It is also important to remember that just because you are exact and methodical, you can still be loyal and considerate. We are not bound by one of the four colours.