DNA Behavior Science

This article applies to people interested in learning more about the science behind DNA Behavior solutions and insights.

Common Questions:

 What is the science behind the DNA Behavior Discovery?

What is the methodology for measuring Natural DNA Behavior?

Solution Overview:

This article reviews the methodology and science behind the Natural DNA Behavior insights and discovery.


Overall Objective and Empirical Research

Hugh Massie founded the DNA Behavior International business in 2001 on the premise that every person has a unique Natural DNA Behavior style that is "hard-wired" from early in life.

The DNA Natural Behavior Discovery is a personality inventory designed to provide insight into a person's instincts, needs, motivations, and temperament (often reflected as the "will do" aspect) as evidenced in their natural behaviors related to life, workplace, business, and financial decision-making.

Specifically, the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery is used as the foundation of the Financial DNA Natural Behavior and Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Processes.

The DNA Natural Behavior Discovery is based on independent empirical research that has been independently validated since 2001 by a highly qualified team with 100+ years of combined academic and practical profile development experience.

Since then, DNA Behavior has invested over 125 Man Years in developing its suite of DNA Behavior Discovery Systems and Application Resources, including the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery.


The Meaning and Scope of Natural DNA Behavior

The Natural DNA Behavior is the foundation of a person's talents, how they make decisions, take action and interact with others. Further, it reflects their energy, drive, and motivations, impacting all areas of their lives.

A person's natural DNA hard-wired behavioral style is initially developed and imprinted between conception and the age of three years old[1] based on a unique combination of genetics and responses to the environment and life experiences. Then, their Natural DNA Behavior is further shaped to 85% by the time they are five years old[2]. Then by the age of seven up to 95%[3] of their subconscious mind is programmed through ongoing brain development caused by further exposure to the environment and life experiences.

By its inherent nature, the Natural DNA Behavior will not permanently change through a person's life and will generally automatically reveal itself when they are under pressure, often when their senses are triggered by money and relationships. Therefore, given that Natural DNA Behavior is 95% of who a person is then, measuring it is critical for helping a person build the necessary self-awareness for staying aligned to their unique path regarding how they decide, operate, and interact. Although we are learning through the field of epigenetics, every human has some choice in activating many of their genetic pre-dispositions.

The Role of Learned Behavior

While the Natural DNA Behavior is the foundation of our business, we recognize the importance of the more dynamic Learned Behavior, which is the more conscious thinking based on experiences (including money memories), education, and values.

The Learned Behavior commences from seven years old and strongly imprints our behavior up to around fifteen years old, when further brain and emotional development takes place. However, continuous learning occurs throughout life with major life events potentially having a huge impact.

Some of this life learning in the form of deep-rooted beliefs and perspectives is hard to change and can take a lot of time but it can be done through coaching, various types of therapy, and hard work, which is a mindset but of itself can cause stress. Different cultural backgrounds fit here as they impact what a person is taught about life, work, money, and beliefs.

These factors ultimately influence how a person behaves throughout their life as reflected by their overall personality which is more dynamic than the Natural DNA Behavior, driving how they will situationally show up, make decisions, and interact. Put another way; a person can override their Natural DNA Behavior instincts with conscious thinking if that will help boost them stay aligned to their unique path when making decisions and powering their life.

 The Methodology for Measuring Natural DNA Behavior

In 2001, DNA Behavior adopted a "Right Data In, Right Data Out" mindset in determining how to measure Natural DNA Behavior. Given that Natural DNA Behavior is inherently not situational, the structure of the assessment methodology needs to reflect that.

For this reason, after extensive research, DNA Behavior selected the Forced Choice Scoring Methodology as it has been proven resistant to faking and is less influenced by social desirability. Therefore, it is a very effective method for predicting behavior in all types of life environments with a high degree of consistency over long periods.

The model was designed with each question having three choices (triads) of single words or short phrases to mitigate situational, gender, cultural, and educational bias. The Forced Choice Scoring Methodology inherently puts the participant under pressure requiring them to instinctively choose "Most Like Me" and "Least Like Me" out of the three choices.

Given that DNA Behavior measures 8 primary factors of behavior and 23 sub-factors, the assessment requires 46 questions using 138 non-situational rating items. The 138 rating items are required to produce sufficient reliability in measuring the Natural DNA Behavior across a wider range of behavioral factors and sub-factors, including how people make decisions, interact and build relationships, achieve results, handle information and complete tasks, develop trust, set and achieve goals, take and live with risks and approach innovation.

The bottom line outcome of measuring a greater breadth and depth of behaviors is that DNA Behavior can measure over 4000 behavior and money insights and over 4 trillion combinations of behavior that support people are unique.

 The average completion time of the Natural DNA Behavior is 10.5 minutes because of the way DNA Behavior has designed the questions and through the effective use of technology.

Most other comparative personality systems only measure 4 factors of behavior, making them far more limited. Further, because their design uses traditional scoring methods involving more choices and longer situational-based sentences, these systems typically measure learned behaviors making them less reliable in measuring the more permanent hard-wired behavior.

Given the Learned Behaviors are inherently situationally focused, DNA Behavior uses a separate set of assessment tools for measuring them. These tools are more specific in terms of the situational types of behaviors they address. For instance, learned behaviors in leadership, work, career, quality life, and financial behavior.

Natural DNA Behavior Validation

The 46 sets of words/phrases (138 rating items) used in the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery were determined by experienced subject matter experts on the DNA Behavior Research team, which included the I/O psychologists from Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) who performed the independent validation work. The research and development team collectively represented more than 100 years of relevant academic and practical experience in developing and deploying behavioral assessment instruments.


  • The 138 words and phrases used in the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery were originally determined by subject matter experts (SMEs). These SMEs also created a preliminary model for predicting which items were assigned to which factors and sub-factors.
  • Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) were conducted on both the major factors and subfactors to provide data regarding the contribution of each item to its respective factors. Mplus statistical software was used to conduct the CFAs.
  • Exploratory Factor Analyses (EFAs) were conducted on the major factors and subfactors to provide data regarding which items were most related to one another. EFAs were conducted using Mplus statistical software and polyserial correlations.
  • The predicted model created by the SME's held up very well, with only a few adjustments required after the CFAs and EFAs were completed. The SMEs used the results of the CFAs and EFAs to inform decisions regarding which items needed to be changed and which items needed to be added to or taken away from each major factor and sub-factor. The SMEs used this information to refine their research, ultimately reaching the final model.
  • In conclusion, 134 out of 138 items or 97.1% of items, significantly related to the major factors and sub-factors, indicating a high degree of model reliability.

Validity of Personality Factors

Convergent validity for each major factor of the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery was determined by correlating scores for that factor with an established, widely used, third-party validated personality assessment (VPA) that measures similar constructs. Each major factor of the DNA Behavior Assessment displayed high (.70 or above) correlations with the corresponding factor or subfactor from the other assessment.

Reliability of Personality Factors

Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used to assess the internal consistency of each major factor[4] of the Natural DNA Behavior Discovery. For new measures, alpha coefficients above .70 are favorable and alpha coefficients above .80 are considered excellent. The overall reliability of the factors is 91%. With the exception of the Pioneer factor, all alpha coefficients exceeded .80.

Ongoing Research and Development

  • The Natural DNA Behavior Discovery performance has been monitored since December 2009 on a regular basis, using new data that is received from participant usage. In December 2013, the original model was reviewed, based on a randomly selected sample of 10,000 users. A statistical re-norming exercise showed no material differences that would necessitate changes to the factor scoring model.
  • The Natural DNA Behavior Discovery has been used in over 125 countries and translated into 11 languages. Usage now exceeds 1.85 million people as of December 31, 2021.

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[1] Source: https://www.firstfiveyears.org.au/child-development/epigenetics-child-development-and-genes

[2] Source: https://www.readingfoundation.org/early-learning

[3] Source: The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D published in 2005.


[4] The Trust Factor was added after the original validation and therefore not included in the convergent validity exercise. Subsequent to the original validation, items for the Trust factor were selected and validated using methodologies similar to the process described above.