Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Four Regions of the Thinking Brain Made Simple - Part Three

What's going on up there? If you have a good handle on what kind of work your brain is doing, it makes it easier to use the right kind of thinking at the right time.

In my last post I pointed out that there are actually two different back-brain perceptual areas - the left-back and right-back, and both of them handle different kinds of "specific, concrete" thinking - what things are.

And there are two different front-brain conceptual areas - the left-front and the right-front, and both of them handle different kinds of "big-picture" thinking - what things mean.

In this post, I describe how each of these four areas of the cortex produces a different kind of thinking.

Left-back. Thinking in this region produces language-based information. It identifies, sorts and stores specific information that is the product of language: names, definitions, dates, times, quantities, categories, rules and other data that define experience. Think of this precise, practical, structured thinking as a means to create ORDER. When order is translated into behavior, the result is disciplined effort, instruction, and rule-based compliance—the action patterns of CONTROL.

Right-back Thinking in this region involves sense-based perceptions. It forms and stores specific images: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, body awareness and emotion—the very essence of here-and-now awareness. This sense- and emotion-based thinking is the basis for SENSITIVITY. When sensitivity is translated into behavior, the result is hands-on activity, spontaneous interaction and expression of feelings—the action patterns of SOCIABILITY.

Left-front. Thinking in this region produces language-based concepts. It uses reason and objective analysis to make sense of the information received from the left-back region. Left-front thinking produces logical understanding, objective judgment, critical analysis, rational problem solving, structured decision-making, forecasting and planning, all of which contribute to LOGIC. When logic is translated into behavior, the result is organization, rational explanation and goal-directed effort—the action patterns of PROACTIVITY.

Right-front. Thinking in this region produces sense-based associations. It relates images holistically to make sense of input from the right-back region. Right-front thinking produces intuitive judgment, imagination, personal values and beliefs - all of which contribute to INSIGHT. When insight is translated into behavior, the result is dramatic expression, artistic performance and persuasive communication—the action patterns of the mindframe CHARISMA.

Not everyone has the same type and quantity of cognitive skills. So not everyone uses these regions to the same extent. So some types of thought and action come easier to some people and more difficult for others. What are your cognitive strengths? In what areas will you have to try harder? Will you even know when you need to do that?

A brain-based questionnaire called MindFrames is available on the Internet. It will tell you how extensively you use each region of the brain. For now, it's free, and over 100,000 people have taken it. It's fun and revealing and maybe the feedback will be helpful to you.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Graphic from Performance Support Systems, Inc., used with permission.)


Sarcastic Bastard said...

This series is interesting, Denny. Thank you for presenting it.

I just wanted to check in and say hello. I hope you and my dear Kathleen are both well.

Much love to you both,


Sheila said...

Interesting approach to understanding some of my traits. Thanks for offering this up!

Verna Wilder said...

Oops! don't know why my name comes up as "Sheila." Accidentally hit Return before I finished.

Looking forward to reading more here, Denny.