DISC History

How are DISC Theory, the Polygraph Machine and Wonder Woman Related?

It all started with William Moulton Marston, an academician, philosopher, lawyer, psychologist, writer and women’s’ right advocate. He is better known as the inventor of the polygraph machine (lie detector) and creator of the famous Wonder Woman comic book heroine, and most importantly – he is the genius behind the DISC Theory.

In the early 1900’s, Dr. Marston found a co-relation between telling a lie and a rise in blood pressure.  The effective measure of honesty in criminal cases was through the polygraph machine which he invented. The machine measures an individual’s blood pressure during questioning and charts it.  He was a consultant for the government in 1920’s and 1930’s and offered his services with the polygraph machine and general lie detection during kidnapping case of the Lindbergh baby.

As a result of Dr. Marston’s interest on the effects of will and personal power on personality and human behavior, the DISC Theory was developed. The DISC Profile which is commonly used today is the product of his widely recognized research and work in the field of psychology.

Dr. Marston published two books – “Emotions of Normal People” (1928) in which he presented his findings;   and “DISC Integrative Psychology” (1931).  His findings about the measure of human behavior and consciousness in these two publications later led to the development of the theory behind the actual DISC Test, DISC Assessment or DISC Profile.

His creation of Wonder Woman, a symbol of feminine power during a volatile time, was based on his work with women’s rights.  The comic book heroine made her first appearance in December 1941.  According to Dr. Marston, “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetypes lack force, strength and power.  Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

Wonder Woman’s persona is hugely influenced by both Greek and Roman mythology – a reflection of Dr. Marston’s deep studies of these cultures.   Described as full of power and will, Wonder Woman uses a lasso for truth. Furthermore, Dr. Marston fused into Wonder Woman’s personality the four dimensions of DISC Personality Type: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.