Johari window

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Johari window

The Johari window is a technique[1] designed to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) in 1955, and is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.[2][3] Luft and Ingham named their model "Johari" using a combination of their first names.


In the exercise, someone picks a number of adjectives from a list, choosing ones they feel describe their own personality. The subject's peers then get the same list, and each picks an equal number of adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives are then inserted into a two-by-two grid of four cells.[4]

The philosopher Charles Handy calls this concept the Johari House with four rooms. Room one is the part of ourselves that we and others see. Room two contains aspects that others see but we are unaware of. Room three is the private space we know but hide from others. Room four is the unconscious part of us that neither ourselves nor others see.[5]

The four quadrants[edit]

Open or Arena
Adjectives that both the subject and peers select go in this cell (or quadrant) of the grid. These are traits that subject and peers perceive.
Adjectives not selected by subjects, but only by their peers go here. These represent what others perceive but the subject does not.
Adjectives selected by the subject, but not by any of their peers, go in this quadrant. These are things the peers are either unaware of, or that are untrue but for the subject's claim.
Adjectives that neither subject nor peers selected go here. They represent subject's behaviors or motives that no one participating recognizes—either because they do not apply or because of collective ignorance of these traits.

Johari adjectives[edit]

The participant can use adjectives like these as possible descriptions in the Johari window.[6]

  • able
  • accepting
  • adaptable
  • bold
  • brave
  • calm
  • caring
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • complex
  • confident
  • dependable
  • dignified
  • empathetic
  • energetic
  • extroverted
  • friendly
  • giving
  • happy
  • helpful
  • idealistic
  • independent
  • ingenious
  • intelligent
  • introverted
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • logical
  • loving
  • mature
  • modest
  • nervous
  • observant
  • organized
  • patient
  • powerful
  • proud
  • quiet
  • reflective
  • relaxed
  • religious
  • responsive
  • searching
  • self-assertive
  • self-conscious
  • sensible
  • sentimental
  • shy
  • silly
  • smart
  • spontaneous
  • sympathetic
  • tense
  • trustworthy
  • warm
  • wise
  • witty

Motivational equivalent[edit]

The concept of meta-emotions categorized by basic emotions offers the possibility of a meta-emotional window as a motivational counterpart to the meta-cognitive Johari window.


One therapeutic target may be the expansion of the Open (Arena) square at the expense of both the Unknown square and the Blind Spot square, resulting in greater knowledge of oneself, while voluntary disclosure of Private (Hidden or Facade) squares may result in greater interpersonal intimacy and friendship.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Assertiveness – Quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive
  • Shadow – Term in Jungian psychology
  • There are known knowns - A phrase, where the opposite, unknown unknowns, was created with this.


  1. ^ Luft, J.; Ingham, H. (1955). "The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness". Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development. Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles.
  2. ^ Pearl, Judea (1983). Heuristics: Intelligent Search Strategies for Computer Problem Solving. New York, Addison-Wesley, p. vii. ISBN 978-0-201-05594-8
  3. ^ Emiliano, Ippoliti (2015). Heuristic Reasoning: Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-3-319-09159-4.
  4. ^ Luft, Joseph (1969). Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, California: National Press. p. 177.
  5. ^ "Linked-in link to the creation of Johari's window"
  6. ^ Staff (undated). "Johari Window". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  7. ^ Perry, P. (2010) Couch Fiction. pp. 123–124.

Further reading[edit]

  • Luft, Joseph (1972). Einfuhrung in die Gruppendynamik. Ernst Klett Verlag.
  • Hase, Steward; Alan Davies; Bob Dick (1999). The Johari Window and the Dark Side of Organisations. Southern Cross University.
  • Handy, Charles (2000). 21 Ideas for Managers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-14-027510-X.

External links[edit]