All the Details Please!

So you want it from beginning to end? If so, there is a strong likelihood that you are a left-brained thinker, possibly even a dominant left brain (hindbrain) thinker (L2). So if you find reading through the description below enjoyable then you are almost definitely a dominant L2 thinker!

The Whole Brain – Past and Present

Hippocrates, who examined the brain during autopsies he performed, concluded that the brain of man is double”. It was in 400 BC when he made the connection that the loss of speech related to damage to the left side of the brain.

More than 2200 years later, a French surgeon named Paul Broca came to the same conclusion after observing that patients with a loss of speech had damage to the left hemisphere of the brain.

Setting the foundation for Paul Broca’s research, Philip Vogel and Joseph Bogen had performed their breakthrough split-brain surgery in the 1960’s on three epileptic patients.

Roger Sperry (who received a Nobel Prize for this work in 1981), with his colleagues Bogen, Vogel and Gazzaniga, tested these patients and discovered that the two hemispheres control vastly different aspects of thought and action.

They found that the left hemisphere (controlling the right side of the body) is dominant for language and speech and for analytical and logical thought. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, (controlling the left side of the body) excels at visualisation, and holistic and unstructured tasks. 

This lead to brain dominance research by Ned Herrmann, Jaquelyn Wonder, Priscilla Donovan, Beverly Moore and others.

Boundless mysteries sometimes fill the brain. Further research has shown that the hemispheric differentiation of functions in the brain impact more than just our physical coordination.

Dr Kobus Neethling, under the research guidance of Prof Paul Torrance at the University of Georgia, started conducting extensive research on left/right brain functions in 1983. He and Prof Paul Torrence found that we all have natural preferences for favouring different parts of our brains in how we think.

In the spirit of moving from strength to strength, he expanded the brain instruments of the time (which included a 4 quadrant model of the brain) to allow for complexity that four divisions do not allow. The brain was subsequently divided into 8-Dimensions.

The 8-Dimensions

Firstly, the left and right hemispheres (L and R) are theoretically halved from your left ear to your right ear making the four quadrants: L1, L2, R1 and R2.

In the years researching the quadrants of the brain, Dr Neethling found there to be fine differences in behaviour in people who are dominant in the same quadrants, and hence the picture of the now quartered-brain resolved into the 8-dimensions.

These 8-dimensions are two categories of behaviours in each quadrant that are applicable to the given quadrant. The results of the profile will indicate which quadrants the individual prefers, as well as highlighting which dimension in each quadrant the person is likely to revert to when operating in that quadrant.

Dr Kobus Neethling developed the Neethling Brain Instruments (NBI®) to bring these preferences to light for the layman. The first instalment was to accurately profile the thinking preferences of the individual adult. This was followed by making it applicable to children, the illiterate and across multiple disciplines.

Since then, the NBI® has profiled more than 200 000 adults and children in a number of countries.

Why the NBI® is unique

The uniqueness of the NBI® are in the research methodology, design andspecifically, how relatable they are for the masses. The results of these instruments are easy to understand and can be immediately applied to one’s life. They are also cost-effective.

In essence, the relevance of the NBI® lie in their nature as didactical instruments, rather than being psychometrically designed. This means that an NBI® is not used to measure and assess, but rather to effectively help every child and adult become creatively engaged in society.

A person looking at an NBI® profile will find in it a reflection of themselves, both relatable and applicable to that given point in their lives for the purpose of learning about themselves to strive towards their goals of self-actualisation. Thinking preferences generally stay the same, but a change in circumstances and trauma may be the catalyst that prompts a change in a person’s approach to thinking.

Descriptions of the 8-dimensions

The 8-dimensions are laid out below to describe the categories within each quadrant.

L1 - Left brain thinker (frontal lobe)

A Realist

  • •  …prefers clarity of thinking and concrete information.
  • •  …chooses to focus on a specific goal or outcome without distractions. Clearly define the outcome and it should preferably be achievable. Direction and guidelines towards goalshould be clear and without confusion.
  • •  …likes to weigh pros and cons and to have a clear understanding of consequences.

An Analyst

  • •  …has a desire to get to the essence of things. Therefore, they like to dig deeper to achieve results – to connect a figure or measurement to things.
  • •  …values certainty and would therefore calculate, probe, research and examine conditions and circumstances before proceeding.
  • •  …likes hard proof and therefore they prefer to query, question and enquire before starting out.

L2 - Left brain thinker (hindbrain)

A Stalwart/Preserver

  • •  …prefers to follow and respect traditions and well-proven methods.
  • •  …also prefers circumstances where rules and regulations are in place and where you can work in a methodical and cautious manner.
  • •  …favours an environment that is neat, secure and stable and to work with skilled, loyal and trustworthy people.

An Organiser

  • •  …likes to plan, organise and arrange things. Their approach is orderly, detailed and systematic.
  • •  …is an implementer and like to put things into action and be involved in the action.
  • •  …also likes to work according to a schedule or “to do” list, to administer and to oversee tasks. High priorities are perseverance, effectiveness and usefulness.

R1 - Right brain thinker (frontal lobe)

A Strategist

  • •  …select to connect past and future and to see the vision, even to make forecasts and predictions of the future. While planning and creating their future, they prefer to challenge existing approaches and asking the Why? questions.
  • •  …sees finding unfamiliar territory, new experiences and uncertainty as a challenge. They choose to consider a variety of possibilities and would not shy away from risk when involved in designing future trends.
  • •  … wants to fill in the gaps between present and future possibilities.

An Imagineer

  • •  …thinks in pictures and use metaphors and images to describe experiences.
  • •  …also draws pictures, doodle and scribble when listening to someone talking.
  • •  …often plays around with impossible ideas, and like to daydream, fantasise and think beyond the ordinary. You are reflective and meditative, often unsystematic (maybe even chaotic) and would like to do things “your way”.
  • •  …discovers new insights in unexpected ways and like to nurture unconventional ideas.

R2 - Right brain thinker (hindbrain)

A Socialiser

  • •  …is a people’s person. Likes to work with others in groups. Or to spend free time in the company of others.
  • •  …likes being surrounded by people and to be part of gatherings and crowds. 
  • …goes out of their way to bring people together, at work or when entertaining. 
  • •  …enjoys sharing information, to reach consensus and to encourage others to participate in sharing their ideas. Networking is a desired activity and they can be outgoing and energetic when in the company of others.

An Empathiser

  • •  …chooses to assist, help and reach out to others. They prefer to serve others through a caring, sensitive and unobtrusive attitude and by depending on their intuition. 
  • •  …often encourages others to achieve. They place a high priority on a positive, hopeful and caring environment.
  • •  …may not have many friends, but they value the companionship of a few friends and family and would tend to place their needs above their own.

There is no Right or Wrong

What is very important to remember is that everyone has preferences that include more than one thinking preference.

Most people are what we call “double-dominant”, meaning they have two dominant quadrants. There are, however, infinite variations to the equivalence of brain dominance. No one is better or worse than another. We are all striving to be the best we can be, and that means we must be willing to adapt. Therefore, we must apply an awareness of our thinking preferences. We must use the strengths of each dimension where it would yield the best results.

Onwards to whole brain thinking

We are not robots that are designed a certain way and cannot compute anything beyond our programming. Our brains are elastic and adaptable.

If you were to engage with your day with an awareness of your own thinking preferences and the ability to employ the strengths of thinking preferences other than your own, you would be employing the much sought-after skill called Whole Brain Thinking. You would henceforth be greater than the sum of your parts and exemplify a higher-order of thinking.

As mentioned earlier, however, there is a whole battery of instruments under the banner of NBI®. One might ask, “Why do we need two types of NBI®?” You will see that besides the Adult NBI®, there is another profile that tests your skills. So, what is the difference?

The Kobus Neethling Institute creative thinking

The need for a battery of instruments:
NBI Adult Instrument vs NBI Personal Skills

Plain and simple, a person could well have a preference for certain things without the ability to see them through. For example, it is possible that an individual could have a very strong preference for order, planning and organisation, but has never had the opportunity to develop the skills to plan and organise.

On the other hand, it is possible that a person could have excellent skills to be a banker, but have a very low preference for the processes associated with the job. This, of course, could lead to a lot of frustration! The individual would therefore not be able to sustain the passion and energy to stay happy and productive in the banking environment unless they are highly motivated.

Basically, a high correlation between job description, or activity, and thinking preferences equates to high energy output and greater job satisfaction. One can already start to see how the need for inter-disciplinary profiles are necessary. We may enter into a career for many reasons, but our thinking preferences may not align with that decision.

Likewise, your thinking preferences affect how you: drive; raise your children; practise and play sports; manage your finances; organise your desk; learn; teach; deal with the people around you, etc., etc., etc… This list ended not for lack of additions, but because it is inexhaustible!

We are yet to find a situation where thinking preferences are not applicable. What activity can you do without consciously using your brain? Yes, breathing and heart-beating. But no conscious action happens without your thinking preferences playing a role.

Did this explanation satisfy the left brain thinker in you?

Looking for a more personal example of the NBI® in action? Click on the button below to the story modelled for R2 thinking.

Please feel free to browse our array of NBI® for the profile that suits your or your loved one’s needs. The instruments are available for everyone.

Are you considering becoming the messenger of whole-brain thinking to the world around you?

We offer practitioners training where you can become a qualified NBI® practitioner, licensed to dispense the NBI® anywhere in the world.

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