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Chapter 7


What is the Whole Brain Theory?

In 1861, Paul Broca conducted a study on the language and left-right brain specialization on a patient who had problems with
language. After several tests, Broca theorized that some language functions reside on the left side of the brain.

Dr. Roger Sperry conducted a study for epilepsy, which gave him the 1981 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Sperry explained
that the brain has two hemispheres that perform tasks differently from each other. He discovered that the left hemisphere of the brain
was performing tasks that were intuitive, creative, and synthesizing; while the right hemisphere of the brain was more adept with
analytical, logical, reasoning, and critical thinking. Dr. Perrys theory was known as the Split-Brain Theory. (The Split Brain

Neuroscientist by the name of Dr. Paul MacLean identified three distinct parts of the brain, namely: neocortex, limbic system, and
reptilian complex, referred to as The Triune Brain Theory. Dr. MacLean, the neocortex or rational brain is responsible for
intellectual tasks such as language, planning, abstraction, and perception, while the limbic system or the intermediate brain is
responsible for the motivation and emotion involved in feeding, reproductive behavior, and parental behavior. Finally, there is the
primitive brain or the reptilian complex, which controls the self-preservation and aggressive behavior of humans similar to the
survival instincts of animals.

Ned Herrmann came up with his own theory called the Brain Dominance Theory. People normally have a more dominant part of
their body, like a more dominant leg, eye, or arm, which a person often prefers to use. Herrmann extended this dominance theory to
the brain which he concluded to having not just two parts but four, the upper left and right hemispheres, and the lower left and right
limbic halves. They are all connected to each other. Herrmann is regarded as the Father of Brain Dominance Technology.

Herrmanns Four Dominant Quadrants

Herrmann labeled the four quadrants of the brain as:

1. Upper Left (A) Cerebral Mode key word for thIs quadrant is ANALYTICAL
2. Lower Left (B) Limbic Mode key word for this quadrant is ORGANIZED
3. Lower Right (C) Limbic Mode key word for this quadrant is INTERPERSONAL
4. Upper Right (D) Limbic System key word for this quadrant is IMAGINATIVE

Portion A and B are known as the left side brain thinking and portions C and D are known as the right side brain thinking. Based on
this model, Herrmann developed Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), a 120-question survey instrument that measured the
preference strengths of the four quadrants. This is very useful in identifying occupational profiles (Herrmann International). Real life
application of this is in solving problems and taking a different approach to finding solutions through more creative problem solving.


A Logical factual, Collecting data, Technical or Too focused, may CEO of technical
Analytical critical, technical, listening to financial miss synergistic organizations, stock
Thinking quantitative, informational information, opportunities, favors market broker,
abstract, impersonal lectures, reading theories, charts and individual vs. group chemist, computer
textbooks, judging graphs, formal work, tends to place programmer,
ideas based on facts, approach, data facts over people, finance manager
criteria, and logical heavy content problems with
reasoning delegating
B Conservative, Following directions, Agendas, goals and Reluctant to changes, Technical manager,
Sequential structured, repetitive detailed objectives, simple tends to miss the big operations
Thinking organized, detailed, homework problems, graphs and picture, does not manager,
planned time management presentations, appreciate innovative bookkeeper, drill
and schedules, stickler for time, ideas, avoids sergeant,
planning and step-by-step dynamic situations supervisory nurse,
organizing procedures before construction
concluding engineer
C Emotional, spiritual, Listening to and Creative and free Dislike for routine Marketing, sales,
Interpersonal feeling, sensory, sharing ideas, flowing activities, and structured real estate,
Thinking kinesthetic looking for personal experiential activities, tendency to elementary school
meaning, sensory activities like be impulsive and teacher, social
input teamwork, win- music and art, emotional. Often worker, counselor,
win situations people-centered misses out on details secretary
activities and
D Visual, holistic, Looking at the big Fun activities, Can be impractical, Artist, entertainer,
Imaginative intuitive, innovative, picture, taking humor, future tend to overlook musician,
Thinking conceptual initiative, simulations oriented activities, details, may tend to entrepreneur,
(what if questions), experimentation, procrastinate strategic planner,
visual aids, thought provoking especially if they do creative writer, film
appreciate beauty of and challenging not like what they are director
a problem, situations, visuals doing like repetitive
brainstorming, tasks, difficulty in
visionary prioritizing

Whole Brain Theory in Learning

How does the Whole Brain Theory enhance the learning process?

It has been observed that brain dominance leads to thinking preferences that influence and improve learning styles.

Quadrant A learners are very much into logical thinking, enjoy analyzing information and understand better when presented with
numbers and quantities. Quadrant A learners expect exact information that are straight to the point, and they would also want to be fed
with lots of theories, numbers, data, logical explanations and results of research studies. They will find it difficult to express their
inner thoughts and emotions.

Quadrant B learners easily grasp things in sequence, enjoy organizing ideas and things, assess situations and information, and apply
what they have learned into practice. They will always demand for clear instructions or directions, and would rather apply what they
have learned in practical situations rather than just theories. They may find it difficult to understand concepts without any examples to
show how these are applied. Their big challenges are in taking risks and doing things that are not clearly defined to them.

A & B learners are often characterized as practical, reality-based, and down-to-earth persons.

Quadrant C learners are very sociable learners who enjoy learning with group with whom they share ideas and projects. They are very
focused and involved when trying to learn something. They also tend to reflect on what they have understood and acquired in terms of
knowledge, and most of the time use their bodies and movement while learning. The C learner is also emotional and would share their
emotions with a group. Personal feedback is therefore important to them.

Quadrant D learners are the curious ones who enjoy discovering, experimenting, and exploring activities. They are strong thinkers
when it comes to conceptualizing and putting all the seemingly unrelated parts and connecting these parts together, synthesizing, and
in creating new ideas and concepts. The D learners enjoy games and surprises, are a visual learner, and needs different varieties of
approaches to learning. D learners will have difficulty meeting deadlines and rigid environments.

C and D learners are often characterized as fun, flexible, and open-minded persons.

Quadrant A Learner Quadrant D Learner Quadrant B Learner Quadrant C Learner

Analyzes data Vivid imagination Get things done Tactile
Down-to-earth Explores Submits on time Sensitive
Critical Curious Creates procedures Emotional
Logical thinker Experiments Plans and organizes Sociable
Understands money Flexible Neat and organized Expressive
Works with numbers Conceptualizes Reliable in getting things Shares knowledge
Uses visual to learn done Uses physical movements
Mind Mapping

Organizing information and concepts through the use of maps or diagrams has been a practice among thinkers as early as the third
century. According to Dictionary.com:

A mind map is a diagram used to represent ideas or information branching from a central key word or idea and used as an aid in
study, organization, problem solving, decision-making, and writing.

Mind maps are useful visual tools that help in linking together concepts and information in such a way that the interconnection and
interrelation of these are clearly laid out and easily accessible to help in problems solving and for reference and review.

Mind maps are useful during brainstorming sessions, making decisions, organizing information, simplifying complex ideas, note-
taking, and even for personal use.

Five essential characteristics of mind mapping:

1. The center image represents the main idea, subject, or focus.

2. The main branches radiate from the central image.
3. The branches comprise a key image or word drawn or printed on its line.
4. Twigs represent the lesser topics.
5. The branches form a connected nodal structure.

Using Mind Maps Effectively

Use Single Words or Simple Phrases in mind maps, single, strong words, and short meaningful phrases can convey the
same meaning more potently.
Print Words joined up or indistinct writing is more difficult to read.
Use Color to Separate Different Ideas color can help to show the organization of the subject.
Use Symbols and Images pictures can help you to remember information.
Use Cross-Linkages information in one part of a mind map may relate to another part.

Summarization of this Chapter

1. Neuroscientists and psychologists proposed several theories about the brain and its functions. Sperry expounded the
Spit-Brain Theory. He stated that the brain has two hemispheres, the left and the right hemispheres. Sperry further
proposed that the left brain hemisphere is where analytical and rational thinking resides, while the right brain
hemisphere represents the creative and synthesizing part.
2. Ned Herrmann theorized that the brain has four parts, after putting together Sperrys Split-Brain Theory and
MacLeans Triune Brain Theory.
3. Herrmanns theory was the four brain quadrants represent the dominant characteristics of a persons thinking. He
labeled each quadrant as A for the logical, rational, and analytically dominant person; B for the organizationally and
sequentially dominant thinking person; C for emotionally inclined and kinesthetically dominant thinking person; and
D for the instinctive, creative, and synthesizing dominant thinking person.
4. Brain dominance leads to thinking preferences that influence and determine the learning styles of a person.
5. Understanding the brain-dominant characteristic of an individual helps others to accept and acknowledge the
differences between the way people think and learn.
6. Mind mapping is a technique or tool that organizes and put into contextual relationships various information,
concepts, and ideas. This is often used effectively in brainstorming, planning, presenting, and even in personal life.