PAS Overview - Symbol System

Non-Technical Overview

Why the PAS?

The PAS Symbol system

Applications of the PAS

The PAS Model (brief)

The PAS Model (more in depth)

Interaction of the PAS Dimensions

Simple overview of PAS primtives with cartoons.

Deriving a PAS profile

Wechsler Scores and the PAS

Examples of Case Studies

Study of felons

A special symbol system is used with the Personality Assessment System to express the strength of original (Primitive) tendencies and to indicate the degree and direction of compensation and modification. The symbols are particularly useful as a shorthand expression of the more complex aspects of personality.

You have probably already encountered the use of capital letters to indicate the initial letter in the name of the original or innate tendency. Thus, an Externalizer is designated by the letter E and an Internalizer by the letter I. R refers to an individual with original Regulated-literal tendencies and F to an essentially Flexible-sensitive person. The letters A and U stand for innate Role Adaptive and Role Uniform.

Compensation, or the lack of it, is shown by a lower case letter placed immediately after the symbol representing the Primitive tendency it qualifies. The letter c stands for compensated, while the letter u for uncompensated. An Ic, for example, symbolizes a compensated Internalizer while an Eu represents an uncompensated Externalizer.

No single combination of original and compensatory tendencies, however, represents a stereotyped form of adaptation. Individual variations are introduced by factors such as the strength of the Primitive tendencies in the individual and the amount of acceptance that these qualities are accorded by the environment.

A child may, for example, be extremely externalized originally, in which case PAS designates him as E+. External pressure may be minimal so that he fails to compensate at all. This combination is represented by the symbols E+u+. An E+u indicates a strong Primitive Externalizer whose failure to compensate has not been so marked as in the first instance. An Eu+ designates a moderate strength original Externalizer who has met with no, or very little, environmental pressure and thus remains highly uncompensated.

Comparable categories within the uncompensated internalized adjustment are assigned similar symbols. Here again, such factors as the strength of the Primitive internalized tendency and the quality of environmental pressure bring in a number of individual differences. The various possibilities parallel those in the En category. The orientations here include the I+u+, I+u, Iu, and the Iu+.

A small c in place of a u points to the fact that the individual has developed in a direction opposite to his original tendency. The notation Ec, for example, indicates an original Externalizer who has compensated by developing in an Internalizer direction. Here again, the symbol system designates the strength of the compensatory tendency as well as the strength of the original dimension. A c represents compensation, but not in extreme form. Thus, Ec implies that the individual has compensated enough to function as an Internalizer without losing completely his exter- nalized set. Here, the original tendency may barely be evident in the individual's overt behavior, but it remains available for expression in special circumstances or under special conditions.

The presence of a c+, extreme compensation, points to repression of the original tendency to such an extent that the individual is now unaware of its existence. An Ec+, for example, acts like an I (except for his ten- sion) and, in fact, firmly believes that he is an I. In view of his highly internalized behavior, others, too, will share his belief. Any hint of his true externalized needs has become threatening to him so he is thoroughly armored against such intrusion. At the cost of great tension, he maintains his internalized defensive superstructure.

The conflict between Primitive tendency and Basic adjustment is most severe when the individual strongly Compensates by repressing a very strong original disposition. An E+c+, for example, is a highly externalized individual who has compensated by developing in a strongly internalized direction. This combination of powerful tendencies in opposition produces internalized behavior of almost pathological intensity. Such a person remains continually, though unconsciously, alert to the danger that his original E-ness may break through his defenses and thus disrupt his adopted I orientation. He protects himself against this threat by becoming as entirely I-ish as possible. The quality of his behavior differs markedly from that of an Iu. The Iu has remained an Internalizer out of preference but the E+c+ has become an Internalizer out of necessity.

The various kinds of compensated categories among Internalizers are fully parallel to those described in connection with Externalizers. An I+ symbolizes a strong Internalizer in the original state, and a c+ represents an extreme compensation. An I+c+, then, represents an overcompensated, strongly internalized individual who has repressed his I-ness and forced himself to extreme E-ness. The lc+ is an individual whose degree of compensation has led to suppression rather than repression.

The Ic+, like the Ec+, is strongly compensated but, in this case, the original tendency is less intense. Finally, the Ic resembles the Ec in that the original tendency is not strong in either and in both cases the defensive structure is not completely repressive. (Their behavior, however, is completely different.)

While we have referred to compensation or lack of compensation only as it occurs in Externalizers or Internalizers, the same possibilities and the same notations hold with regard to the other dimensions of personality. A child with original Regulated-literal tendencies, for example, may retain or react against his inherent set, again depending on the relationships between the strength of environmental pressure and the strength of his innate tendencies. And, obviously, the same thing is true for the Role Adaptive and the Role Uniform child.

The same method, and in fact the same letters, are used to indicate the next level of adaptation, called modification. The letter u stands for unmodified and the letter c for modified, while a plus sign following either letter indicates that the tendency is strong.

To indicate the two levels of adaptation, then, the capital letter standing for each Primitive tendency is followed by two qualifying symbols, the first showing strength of compensation, the second showing the direction and strength of modification.

For example, an extreme Primitive Externalizer who has developed strong compensations and equally strong modifications is an E+c+c+. An original Internalizer who has compensated to a moderate degree but has failed thereafter to modify at all is an Icu+. All the other combinations of compensatory and modifying tendencies are given similar symbolic expression .

This is the symbol system most commonly used with PAS. A more abbreviated set of symbols is used by some practitioners of the PAS with considerable success. The abbreviated system is presented in Table 1, following. Somr prefer one, some the other.

Whether the abbreviated or full set of symbols is used, they represent a concise and easily manageable statement of personality. They are a record of the essential dynamics of the personality obtained either from test data or observation, and a convenient instrument for predicting from personality to future behavior.

The following three tables give the notation used by the PAS for all of the possible combinations of High or Low WAIS sub-test scores. (Please note: The terms, High and Low sub-test scores are always used in the PAS with reference to Normal Level.)

Digits Arithmetic Information Notation Name
PAS Notation as a Function of Sub-test Performance,
E- I Dimension
Low Low Low Euu = eu = e Primitive E
Low Low High Euc = ec = i' Suppressed E
Low High Low Ecu = i*u = e. Controlled E
Low High High Ecc = i*c = i/ Repressed E
High Low Low Iuu = iu = i Primitive I
High Low High Iuc = ic = e' Suppressed I
High High Low Icu = e*u = i. Controlled I
High High High Icc = e*c = e/ Repressed I

Block Design Similarities Comprehension Notation Name
PAS Notation as a Function of Sub-test Performance,
R - F Dimension
Low Low Low Fcu = r*u = f. Controlled F
Low Low High Fcc = r*c = r' Repressed E
Low High Low Fuu = fu = f Exploited E
Low High High Fuc = fuc = r' Modified F
High Low Low Ruu = ru = f' Modified R
High Low High Ruc = rc = r Exploited R
High High Low Fcu = f*u = f/ Repressed R
High High High Rcc = f*c = r. Controlled R

Pic. Arrange. Pic. Complet. Obj. Assem. Notation Name
PAS Notation as a Function of Sub-test Performance,
A - U Dimension
Low Low Low Uuc = uc = a' Suppressed U
Low Low High Uuu = uu = u Primitive U
Low High Low Ucc= a*c = u. Controlled U
Low High High Ucu= a*u = a/ Repressed U
High Low Low Acc = u*c = a. Controlled A
High Low High Acu = u*u = u/ Repressed A
High High Low Auc = ac = u' Suppressed A
High High High Auu = au = a Exploited A

The PAS symbol system is used throughout this Web site. However, if you would like to jump immediately into becoming more familiar with the PAS "shorthand", we suggest that you go to the section on ongoing and/or illustrative cases of our members. There you will see how the PAS is applied in actual practice.