of Brain Organisation
from The Creative
Brain - by Ned Herrmann / Published by Brain Books 1988
The Creative Brain tells the story of the author's life's work: learning and
teaching in very practical ways how understanding the brain can enhance our
creativity, education, competence, communication, relationships, parenting,
management style, productivity, and self-understanding, to name just a few.
The science of neuropsychology has confirmed and extended Roger Sperry's
work by establishing that many of our specific mental abilities are lateralised,
that is, carried out, supported and coordinated predominantly in one hemisphere
of our dual brain or the other.
The Triune Brain Theory
Dr Paul McLean, head of the Laboratory for Brain Evolution and Behaviour at
the National Institute for Mental Health, has proposed the triune brain theory,
according to which the human brain is, in reality, three brains, each superimposed
over the earlier in a pattern of brains within brains.
The first is an ancient, primitive reptilian brain,
The second, and next oldest brain is the limbic, or mammalian brain and registers
rewards and punishments, is the seat of emotion, and controls the body's autonomic
Finally, over the limbic brain lies the neocortex, or "thinking cap.
The Left Brain/Right Brain Theory
To understand this theory, you need to know about the following:
1. The left and right halves of the neocortex
2. The left and right halves of the limbic system
3. The connectors, which are structures that provide pathways along which
the different parts of the brain send signals to one another.
These specialised structures, plus two patterns of brain functioning - situational
functioning and iterative function - comprise key aspects of left brain/right
The Whole Brain/Four Quadrant Model
Ned Herrmann showed that by incorporating the research of Paul McLean of the
Triune Brain and Roger
Sperry's Left Brain/Right Brain
function, we can build a model of the human
brain with two paired structures, the two halves of the cerebral system and
the two halves of the limbic system. This allows s to differentiate between
not only the more popular notions of left/right brain, but also the more sophisticated
notions of cognitive/intellectual which describes the cerebral preference, and
visceral, structured and emotional which describes the limbic preference.
One further concept is important to understanding Ned Herrmann's Whole Brain
Model, and that is dominance. The evidence of human dominance shows that wherever
there are two of anything in the body, one is naturally dominant over the
other. Therefore like we are right or left handed, we are also naturally `footed',
`eyed'. `kidneyed', etc. We can also be thought of as `brained'. Since dominance
can only occur between paired structures, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Model
focuses on the Limbic and Cerebral layers of the Triune Brain.
The model is a metaphorical interpretation of how we think and what are our
preferred ways of knowing.
The Whole Brain Model shows four distinct thinking styles.
Modes of Thinking
|The upper (cerebral) left A
||analytical, mathematical, technical and problem solving.
|The lower (limbic) left B
||controlled, conservative, planned, organised and administrative in
|The lower (limbic) right C
||interpersonal, emotional, musical, spiritual and the "talker" modes.
|Upper (cerebral) right D
||imaginative, synthesising, artistic, holistic and conceptual modes.
The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is a questionnaire used for
assessment. Contact the Ned Herrmann group for further information.
More details can be found at Ned Herrmann's Web Site.