How valid is the NBI™?

The NBI™ was developed after extensive International research since 1980 on left/right brain functions. Kobus Neethling under the research guidance of Prof. Paul Torrance of the University of Georgia, first developed the NBI™ for adults before applying similar methodologies (as explained in the research documents) to develop a number of other whole brain instruments. More than 200,000 adults and children from a number of countries have been profiled by means of the NBI™. The results of research on the NBI™ have been very significant and ongoing research at a number of universities and institutes remains an essential part of whole brain science.

The latest research documents can be downloaded from our website.

I’ve noticed there are a number of instruments which purport to measure thinking preference and brain dominance

That’s true. Go to your web browser and enter ‘thinking preference’, ‘brain dominance’, or ‘whole brain thinking’ and you will see well over a million sites with matching references.

The history of the development of the NBI™ is described in ‘What is a Brain Profile’ which is available for download on our website.

In his research and in current publications, as well as in the NBI™ profile report, Kobus Neethling acknowledges the contribution and research of many others, including Priscilla Donovan, Jacquelyn Wonder, Beverly Moore and Ned Herrmann amongst others in the field.

Why did The Thinking Network™, and subsequently Whole Brain Thinking Pty Ltd., choose the NBI™ above the other instruments currently available?

We are not tied to any particular source and can therefore choose our suppliers and business partners purely on their merits and the potential for the relationship. We have chosen the NBI™ based on the reliability and validity of the instrument, the wide range of instruments and applications, the supporting technology, the ongoing research, the business model and the warmth, openess and cooperation evident in our partnership with the Kobus Neethling Group and Solutionsfinding

Who is Kobus Neethling?

As the creator of the Neethling Brain Instruments (NBI™), Kobus Neethling received worldwide recognition for the contribution these instruments have made towards unique insights into the self, creativity and change. He is also the author of more than 70 books and has written and presented many television series.

He is also the founder and Director of the South African Creativity Foundation and the Kobus Neethling Group. He holds 6 University degrees (Cape Town, Potchefstroom and Georgia USA), including two Master’s Degrees, a Doctorate and a Post Doctorate (Cum Laude) on the identification and development of Creative Behaviour.

He is an award winning, internationally renowned speaker in the field of creativity. He was included in the 500 Leaders of Influence by the American Biographical Institute.

What do I do if a client has used other ‘thinking preference’ instruments in the past and now wants to profile new additions to the team?

We can take the total scores from any other whole brain instrument and from that produce an NBI™ profile. Remember that the validity of the finished profile completed in this way will only be as reliable as the instrument which generated the scores in the first place. If the original profile is more than 6 months old we would strongly recommend a new NBI™ profile be completed.

Why should I change over to the NBI™?

It depends on what you want to do and how much you want to pay.

The NBI™ has a whole range of instrument available for different situations including general adults, teachers/trainers, students/learners, anger, negativity, creative environment and so on.

I’ve done a similar profile recently and the results would appear to be different. How do you explain that?

Regardless of the profile or test taken by the individual a number of things can impact on the final result including present circumstances, mood, tiredness, speed of completion, reason for testing, positive or negative disposition – even the desire to ‘fabricate’ an acceptable profile.

One of the measures we use for reliability in testing is the test/re-test reliability factor. This measures the likelihood of a result being repeated by the same person after a specific interval. The test/re-test reliability of the NBI™ as researched in July 2004 with an 8 month interval between tests was as follows for each quadrant in the NBI™ profile:

L1 0.851
R2 0.918

These results fall well within the limits for this kind of measurement. For further information see the latest research report available for download under the yellow pencil ‘The NBI™ Instrument’
The NBI™ also focuses exclusively on the person’s CURRENT way of thinking and does not ask questions about historical events, past decisions and issues not related to the measurement and determination of thinking preferences. In terms of an accurate profile with any instrument, recency and currency of data is an extremely important factor. The preferences you had when you were younger, perhaps at school or maybe university, could now be radically different. This is, of course, especially true if you are in your 40s or 50s – or even older!

If someone questions the accuracy of their personal NBI™ profile how can I answer them?

There are two major contributing factors to the accuracy of any profile or any other psychometric instrument for that matter.

The first issue is the validity and reliability of the instrument itself. The NBI has been shown to be reliable and valid in all the research that has been undertaken. We can supply additional information if you wish, or you can download a research report from this website under the yellow pencil labelled ‘The NBI™ Instrument’.

The second issue involves the person completing the instrument – what mood are they in, are they telling the truth, why are they completing the instrument, are they trying to create a ‘special’ profile to match someone’s expectations, and so on.

A number of people have questioned the difference between the NBI™ profile and other profiles on thinking preferences. In most cases they have reported that their NBI™ profile fits well with their personal perceptions and self awareness. The NBI™ has a very high level of face validity.

I reckon I could give myself the sort of profile I want by answering the questions in a certain way. How do I know that the profile is an accurate one?

Certainly anyone fully conversant with any instrument can create a ‘designer’ profile. But what’s the point? It doesn’t then describe a real person, only the person you imagine yourself to be. When you meet others and work in teams the ‘real’ you is bound to emerge through your behaviours.

How can I use Whole Brain Thinking to help grow my business?

There are a huge number of options with the NBI™ material.

Using, say, just the adult profile can help individuals to work together as a team, or deal better with clients, or even help with decision making processes amongst others.

NBI™ profiles have been used throughout the world with companies of all sizes to improve teams, develop leadership skills, improve sales and customer relationships, and introduce creative problem solving and innovation.

By combining the NBI™ adult profile with the new job profile and the skills profiles organisations can accurately determine job fit for applicant. Individuals can help tailor their job for maximum productivity.

The Organisational Wellness Instrument can be used before and after major organisational changes to measure improvements and get instant feedback on the state of the organisation. The possibilities with the NBI™ are literally endless. We can work with you to assess your circumstances, determine if the NBI™ is a suitable tool and decide which approach would offer the most benefits.

There are currently 15 different NBI™ profiles available for special applications. For the complete up-to-date listing see our website. Further applications are under research right now.

What about more personal applications?

On a personal level the NBI™ can help with understanding partners, improving family relationships, developing better understanding and reducing conflict.

The two NBI™ student instruments can help with subject and career choices at an early stage and increase the likelihood of personal success and satisfaction.

So Whole Brain Thinking can apply to education too?

Most certainly! A number of schools have had great success with adopting whole brain teaching and learning strategies. The possibility of combining the results from the teachers, students, and parenting NBI™ profiles is currently being considered by a number of forward thinking schools.

How do you score the NBI™ to produce the profile?

There are a number of advantages to completing and scoring the NBI™. There is no need for any special software and you won’t be tied to one scoring computer. In fact the NBI™ can be completed on-line and the results produced and the profiles printed from ANY computer ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD which has access to the Internet and a colour printer available

Corporate clients access the NBI™ through one of the licensed NBI™ practitioners. Private individuals can complete the NBI™ on-line at our website using a credit card.

What about recent job focus? I have spent the last month managing a project. Would that tend to be reflected in my profile?

It could be. If you previously had a relatively low R2 score and had to use a lot more R2 skills in the project management job you may have grown to like that way of working thereby possibly creating a shift in preference as a result of new experiences.

Does my profile change over time?

Again this depends on the individual – it’s quite possible and perfectly natural for people to change their view of the World as they grow older, particularly if they have changed jobs, partners, countries or personal beliefs.

I am already licensed to use other thinking preference assessment tools and a couple of personality and ability tests too. Is there any problem with me using the NBI™ as well?

Of course not! Regardless of whether the other tool you have in mind is a measure of thinking preferences or any other variable, the choice of which instruments you use in your organisation or your consulting business is entirely yours.

Many of our existing licensed NBI™ practitioners use a range of other tools, choosing as and when required what they see as the best tool for the job.

We will, of course, do our best to demonstrate the benefits of the NBI™ in a range of situations.  With 16 different versions of the NBI™ currently available and more under research right now the range of applications is pretty wide and varied.  But we would be the first to admit that the NBI™ may not be the best choice for what you specifically have in mind.

As someone once said, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail!”  I wonder if anyone REALLY said that?

Our company has been using the MBTI®. How does that differ to the NBI™?

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) is a measure of personality type, presenting the questionnaire results in terms of 16 different personality type sets, each with its own particular characteristics.

After more than 50 years of research and development, the current MBTI® is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding normal personality differences as opposed to personality disorders.

One of the best web sites we have found with a full description of the MBTI is:


The NBI™ is a measure of thinking preference, presenting the results as a profile in 4 quadrants, with each quadrant divided between two dimensions. Thinking preferences and personality are different constructs, with the basic differences best explained by looking at the pyramid or ‘iceberg’ diagram below.

The black line is the water line – with most of the iceberg below the water. Most of our human characteristics are also hidden from view. Just our behaviour is visible above the water line. As well as being instantly observable, behaviour is also instantly changeable – you can stop doing one thing and start another.

As you go down the chart – deeper under the water – the characteristics become more fixed. For example, most psychologists and researchers seem to agree (roughly!) that around 70 to 80% of thinking preference is environmentally determined, with only 20 to 30% being hereditary. The opposite applies to personality. Personality would also seem to be more ‘fixed’ than thinking preferences.

As you can also see from the chart, thinking preference is closer to and therefore has a more immediate impact on behaviour.

Given that thinking preferences are more changeable and more closely related to behaviour the NBI™ would therefore be the better choice in a learning environment. If we learn about our relatively fixed characteristics we will find it hard to change them anyway!

The NBI™ is very easy to understand, has very high validity, reliability – and more importantly in a short training situation – high face validity. The NBI™is also extremely rich in insight, understanding and application.

Given that many training sessions and workshops are becoming shorter due to time and cost constraints in business, there is a need to reduce the time taken to understand the instrument and increase the time available to consider application of the insights for personal development.

The MBTI® is extremely complex and very difficult to recall all 16 types instantly. Check the descriptions to see what we mean! We would use a personality test to help an individual understand more about their personal issues but not in a workshop setting.

There are some correlations between personality type as measured by the NBI™ and the MBTI® and the research report showing these correlations can be viewed elsewhere on our website.

Within our sister company, The Thinking Network™, we do use personality instruments as well as the NBI™, especially in one-on-one coaching situations. But we also believe that the feedback to the individual client on personality issues should only be carried out face to face and one-on-one by a properly qualified practitioner. Our preference as far as personality tests are concerned is the Saville and Holdsworth (SHL) Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ). The OPQ is reliable, well validated and with up to date research in today’s business environment.

Having said all that, we must remember that the MBTI® is probably the biggest selling instrument of all time, and that’s not entirely due to the fact that it has been around longer than almost all the others, having been available since before WWII. Many people still use the MBTI® and are very comfortable with using it in a learning environment.

As with many things, as well as having strong supporters there are also the critics. Over the years there have been a number of questions asked about the MBTI® and the qualifications of both Myers and Briggs as test developers, the reliability of the instrument and the meaning of the results. For a better understanding of theses issues go to:

Any more questions?

If there is anything else you need to know about the Neethling Brain Instruments (NBI™) or Whole Brain Thinking Pty Ltd, please fill in this form and we will be delighted to help in any way we can.

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