The SCARF model is a way to explain the way people interact socially.

The model is built on three central ideas:
1. The brain treats many social threats and rewards with the same intensity as physical threats and rewards.
2. The capacity to make decisions, solve problems and collaborate with others is generally reduced by a threat response and increased under a reward response.
3. The threat response is more intense and more common and often needs to be carefully minimized in social interactions.
The model is made up of Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. These five domains have been shown in many studies to activate the same reward circuitry that physical rewards activate, like money, and the
same threat circuitry that physical threats, like pain, activate.
Understanding that these five domains are primary needs helps individuals and leaders better navigate the social world in the workplace.

Take the SCARF Assessment from NeuroLeadership Institute

Understanding the five domains

The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience:
Status, Certainty, Autonomy,
Relatedness and Fairness.
 Status is about relative importance to others.
 Certainty concerns being able to predict the future.
 Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.
 Relatedness is a sense of safety with others – of friend rather than foe.
 Fairness is a perception of fair exchanges between people.

These five domains activate either the ‘primary reward’ or ‘primary threat’ circuitry (and associated networks) of the brain. For example, a perceived threat to one’s status activates similar brain networks to a threat to one’s life.
In the same way, a perceived increase in fairness activates the same reward circuitry as receiving a monetary reward.
The model enables people to more easily remember, recognize, and potentially modify the core social domains that drive human behavior.

You can take your own free assessment here.


Daniel L. Bishop CFP© CEPA©

Daniel L. Bishop is a Advice-Only Comprehensive Financial Planner that has experience in education funding from cradle to career: His deep expertise is in optimizing Late Stage College Funding into a Master Financial Plan for people with complicated situations, like business owners who are nearing retirement and need to prepare for a business exit on their own terms. He founded Black Swan Advisors LLC in 2016, so that he could pursue his passion of real, honest, financial planning advice for families. He loves working virtually with clients across the Heartland of America. Daniel and his wife modernized a century-old, lakefront farm house in southern Illinois. After work, you can often find tpaying with their 2 kids, preferably in the water.