Hermann's Whole Brain Model
People learn in many different ways. The brain is the source of who we are and how we learn. According to the Whole Brain Model from Ned Herrmann, each person basically has four brains when it comes to the process of thinking and learning. Depending on which quadrants we engage, our learning processes can be very different.
Brain dominance leads to thinking style preferences, which impact what we pay attention to and how and what we learn best. Each of these four "brains" or quadrants is listed below with words that typically characterize a person who uses that thinking style.
The Whole Brain Model is a mental model that describes thinking preferences. These are the ways of thinking that satisfy us the most and seem natural for us at this point in our lives. These ways of thinking can change, often as a result of significant emotional experiences, life transitions and other important insights. Thinking preferences describe the patterns of what we prefer to pay attention to and what we don't prefer to pay attention to.Thinking preferences can be different than our skills or the content of our work or our behavior, depending upon the situation. When we think or function differently than our preferences, even if we have excellent skills, it's more likely that we'll find it somewhat uncomfortable and consuming more of our energy.
The four thinking styles in the Whole Brain Model are:
- BLUE - Logician/ Theorist (The Rational Self) - Analytical, mathematical, technical and problem solving. These are people who like lecture, facts, and details, critical thinking, textbooks and readings, etc. The brain dominance for theorists is the upper left (cerebral).
- GREEN - Organizer (The Safekeeping Self) - Controlled, conservative, planned, organized and administrative in nature. These are people who prefer to learn by outlining, checklists, exercises and problem solving with steps, policies and procedures. People with these preferences have lower left (limbic) brain dominance.
- RED - Communicator / Humanitarian (The Feeling Self) - Interpersonal, emotional, musical, spiritual and the "talker" modes.: Prefer cooperative learning and group discussion, role-playing, and dramatization. Their brain preference is lower right (limbic)
- YELLOW -Visionary / Innovators (The Experimental Self) - : Imaginative, synthesizing, artistic, holistic and conceptual modes. Innovators prefer brainstorming, metaphors, illustrations and pictures, mind mapping and synthesis, and holistic approaches. The brain dominance for innovators is upper right (cerebral).
A Rational Self
knows how things work,
D Experimental Self
B Safekeeping Self
C Feeling Self
At the core of the most recent book of Ned Herrmann, lies his belief that the functioning of the human brain is driven by a four-quadrant interconnected set of mental processing modes. These four thinking styles, says Herrmann, originate in the brain's left and right cerebral hemispheres, and in the left and right half limbic systems, each resulting in significantly different and distinct behavioral characteristics in human beings. How this complex brain interaction determines thinking mode dominance and thinking style preferences, and how individuals and organizations can benefit from such understanding, are the main themes of Herrmann's book. Hermann's work is widely used by training and development specialists. The Whole Brain Model supersedes "left brain/right brain" thinking in earlier models. Also it has advanced new concepts of thinking research and their applications in business settings. Dominant thinking in one of the four thinking styles, causes the development of thinking preferences. Then these thinking preferences establish our interests, foster the development of competencies, and influence our career choices and ultimately our work. Argues Herrmann.