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What Dichotomies Are and What They Are Used For

The competency dichotomies represent two different ways of expressing social and emotional competence. Because one’s social and emotional skills grow and change throughout one’s life, the dichotomies are not meant to capture absolute traits. They are a neutral measure of where an individual is at the time of completing the Social and Emotional Tendency Inventory. Unlike a personality test, the SETI results are not fixed; they represent tendencies that can and should change as one develops their SEL skills.

Each C.A.R.E.S competency has a unique dichotomy representing how one tends to demonstrate that area of social and emotional growth.



When working in a group, Synergists tend to prioritize establishing and maintaining relationships to achieve the common goal. They understand the benefits of clear communication and active listening, and they will typically address conflicts directly and work collaboratively across differences.


When working in a group, Insulators tend to prioritize achieving the common goal over establishing new relationships and maintaining existing relationships. They typically work best independently and prefer to take on roles that are personally gratifying, even if it does not benefit the group as a whole.



Expectors tend to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions clearly and firmly while acknowledging the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of others. They will ask for help when they need it and typically define success by any learning, growth, or improvement over the actual performance of that task. Expectors do not determine their identity by their current circumstances.


Hypothesizers tend to hold back their ideas, feelings, and emotions and will rarely ask for help, even if they know they need it. They often overlook any learning or growth that occurs when working toward a goal, as they focus more on successfully achieving that goal. They are inclined to make decisions with little concern for future consequences.



Navigators tend to rely on their instincts to make constructive and ethical choices. They are typically reliable, and when making decisions, they will consider multiple options and their consequences. They are typically self-motivated and will follow through on expectations.


Traversers tend to rely on others to make constructive choices and to be held accountable for the outcome of those choices. They tend to overlook how their actions affect others and may not always follow through on expectations. They tend to change or modify their behavior only with prompting and may act spontaneously rather than methodically when working toward a goal.



Associates tend to be considerate of the perspectives of others regardless of whether they are similar to or different from their own. They recognize, respect, and celebrate cultural, ethnic, and religious norms and offer compassion, respect, and care toward individuals and groups with both similar and different backgrounds and experiences.


Limiters tend to be considerate of the perspectives of others when they are recognizable or similar to their own. They routinely recognize, respect, and celebrate cultural, ethnic, and religious norms that they can easily understand and connect to their lived experience.



Regulators tend to be self-motivated. They control their impulses and will modify their actions to work toward successfully completing a goal. Regulators generally adhere to widely-held moral and behavioral standards, which provide productive boundaries that are a source of self-confidence to achieve a goal. They typically make safe choices and behave in predictable, conventional ways.


Adventurers tend to live in the moment, act spontaneously, and take chances when working toward a goal. They routinely rely on and resourcefully seek others to help manage their emotions and modify their behaviors when faced with a challenge. Because they are prone to acting on their thoughts, emotions, desires, and actions to achieve a goal, Adventurers are likely to act in unpredictable ways.

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