Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Brain, Bottom Brain - a user's manual from Kosslyn and Miller

I thought I would point to a recent book authored by Kosslyn and Miller:  “Top Brain - Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights into How You Think.” They make a good effort to communicate (co-author Miller is a professional journalist/author), yet it is a tough slog at points.

Their basic simplification is to describe the top and the bottom parts of the brain as performing different sorts of tasks. The bottom-brain system classifies and interprets sensory information from the world, and the top-brain system formulates and executes plans. Here is the standard brain graphic from their introduction:

You can have four separate ways of arranging a set of opposites like top and bottom, and they make these into four personality types distinguished by different relative activities of the two.:

To do a disservice to their more balanced and extended presentation, I cut to the chase with an irreverent condensation:

The movers appear to be your winners, top brain action people who actually also use the bottom half to pay attention to the consequences of their actions and use the feedback.

The stimulator is more the ‘damn the cannons, full speed ahead’ kind of person, less inclined to attend to the consequences of their actions and know when enough is enough.

The Perceivers are mainly bottom brain perceivers and interpreters, but unlikely to initiate top brain detailed or complex plans.

Finally, the people with lazy top and bottom brains are ‘whatever…’ types, absorbed by local events and immediate imperatives, passively responsive to ongoing situations, i.e. the U.S. electorate.

Chapter 13 presents a test for the reader to determine his or her own individual style. They suggest that although you may not always rely on the same mode in every context, peoples' responses to the test indicate that they do operate in a single mode most of the time. You can take the test in the book, or take it online at www.TopBrainBottomBrain.com and have your score computed automatically.

No comments:

Post a Comment