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The Johari Window

The Johari Window is actually a combination of both of the names of the inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. Described as one of the “most useful models that show the process of human interaction,” the Johari Window is a simple model that is illustrated by a simple glass pane with four (4) sections. This four (4) paned window, as shown in the diagram, compartmentalizes the process of human interaction into four (4) aspects. These aspects are known as open, hidden, blind, and unknown (Luft and Ingham 1955).

According to the inventors, each window represents a single consciousness or person. It theorizes that the four aspects of the human interaction process fall under things that are known to one’s self and those that are unknown to one’s self. The first quadrant, known as the “open” quadrant, shows the things that are known to everyone (Luft and Ingham 1955). This means that the things in this quadrant are known to the person whom the window represents and to the people around that person as well (Luft and Ingham 1955). A good example of this would be a person’s name or maybe interests.

This quadrant is not limited to factual matters but can also extend to other matters such as feelings and opinions. Basically, anything that describes a person or determines his or her identity can be the subject of the “open” quadrant. During the process of human interaction, this first quadrant is usually a small one (Luft and Ingham 1955). The reason for this is that the people have not had much of an opportunity to share any relevant information with each other. As people begin to know each other more and reveal more about themselves to others, the “open” quadrant begins to contain more things.

The next quadrant is the “blind” quadrant, which represents the things that other people may know about the subject but that person is unaware of (Luft and Ingham 1955). A simple scenario would be when people are aware that one person has won the lottery but the winning person has not known yet. This is the blind spot because it represents something that other people may see or know but is actually something that the subject is not aware of yet. In a more complex scenario, the blind spot could represent character traits that the subject is unaware of but others are more aware of (Luft and Ingham 1955).

In the process of human interaction, this could mean subtle signs of attraction that are visible to one but that the other is not conscious of. The next quadrant is the “hidden” quadrant which represents the things that the subject knows about his or her self but other people do not know at all (Luft and Ingham 1955). This panel contains all the information that the subject has not divulged to anyone or to the person with whom the interaction is taking place. It is during this step that the process of “self-disclosure” takes place (Luft and Ingham 1955).

Over time, as people begin to trust each other more and reveal more information about them, the items that are contained in the “hidden” quadrant are moved to the “open” quadrant. The final panel is the “unknown” quadrant (Luft and Ingham 1955). The reason it is called the “unknown” quadrant is because it represents things that are not known to anyone. It contains the items that are not known to the subject, for one reason or another, and also not known to the other person (Luft and Ingham 1955). It is best illustrated by a sharing scenario wherein a person reveals to another a dream or insight that the subject finds confusing.

After this “self-disclosure” both parties will know attempt to explain what that thing means. This is highly effective because it allows people to learn about new things that are not previously known to them (Luft and Ingham 1955). This is also quite similar to Maslow’s concept of “self-actualization (Kelly 1996). ” While there has been much that has been written with regard to the Johari Window in relation to its depiction of the human interaction process, there is still much that has to be added to this model particularly in relation to the theories of Anita Kelly with regard to the consequences of self-disclosure (Kelly 1996).

Works Cited:

Kelly, Anita E. and McKillop, Kevin J. (1996), “Consequences of Revealing Personal Secrets. ” Psychological Bulletin, v120(3), pg. 450 . Luft, J. and Ingham, H. (1955) “The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness”, Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles: UCLA

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