Brain function research has identified that the four thinking quadrants of the brain or cerebral cortex map to how we process information. Our dominant quadrant will dictate our natural personality preferences. Using a model based upon the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, we can sort out where your preferences lie.
“How can people be so clever and so dumb at the same time?” We have all met people who are very bright and capable in a given area or skill, but seem totally incapable of something much simpler. The “absent-minded genius” is a good example. The model was developed by Ned Herrmann, while head of Management Development at General Electric. Herrmann was a physicist by training, so he was intrigued by how the brain could help explain the clever/dumb issue described above. Using brain research developed by others and his own studies, Herrmann discovered that there were four patterns that emerged in terms of how the brain perceives and processes information. The Whole Brain® Model emerged as a validated metaphor for describing the four different preference modes.”*
The Logical Types
As illustrated in the diagram, dominance in the left anterior region equates to a Logical/Prioritizing personality inclination. If you find this is your strength then you prefer prioritizing goals and objectives, fact-based problem solving and decision-making, research and analysis, delegating, competition, hard-work, and emotion management.
At work, you likely prefer the aid of an assistant to handle your administrative tasks while you attend to the bigger picture. At home, family members, a housecleaner or organizer are your saviors keeping the household running shipshape.
The Orderly Types
Dominance in the left posterior lobe renders an Orderly Type also known as the Maintaining style. Your strength is sequential routine activities. Orderly types tend to be dependable, methodical, organized, timely, predictable, honest, and stable.
If you are an orderly type, you are naturally organized, but when a situation occurs that throws you off balance i.e., a birth, death, divorce, new job, illness, home renovation project, then watch out. You can be easily overwhelmed, and might need a hand to get back on track.
The Creative Types
The Creative, Innovative or Envisioning Type finds their strength in the right anterior lobe.
If this is you, you are imaginative, artistic, intuitive, a big picture spatial thinker, innovative, expressive, spontaneous, and visualize often in 3-D imagery. And you know what you need is in that pile over there, but you may have a hard time putting your finger on it when you are in a rush to get out the door. You could benefit from some snazzy visuals or fun storage ideas for a fun way to ensure you get and stay organized.
The Social Types
And lastly the right posterior lobe is home to the Social/Harmonizing Type. Peace, spirituality, goodwill and personal connections are trademarks of this brain type. As a Social type, you prefer to work in friendly environments where you can chat with others, work at your own pace, and your nurturing side is sensitive to others feelings and well-being.
If you are struggling to find your way to organization or maintain it, then a buddy system would be your best bet to get things done. As long as you have company and maybe a glass of wine, you are ready for action, just don't forget that your friend is there to inspire not distract you from getting things done.
Once we assess your dominant brain-type, we can determine the best plan of action for making your space work for you.
Most of us have elements of each of the regions, but we will want to align with your dominant quadrant to affect lasting changes. The task becomes a bit more interesting when meshing multiple types in one household or office. But no worries, there are ways to effectively manage multi-user spaces.
Ordering Spaces Based On Your Brain
Arlene Taylor, Ph.D. provides some examples for how you might want to think about ordering your spaces in relation to your brain "bent" as she refers to it.
If you find yourself as a Logical Type or in the Prioritizing Division (as defined by Arlene) then your desirable environment and accessories might look like this:
Colors: black, white, gray, and navy
Machines and mechanical tools
A computer for research projects
Scales and calculator
Charts containing numbers and percentages
Abstract photos of arrows
A list of goals and objectives
A five-year plan
Structured music (e.g., slow movements of Bach, Mozart, baroque compositions).
The Orderly Types desired environment and accessories include:
Colors: neutral or subdued
Filing cabinets with labeled files
Desk with organizing bins and file sorters
To do lists
Electronic or paper calendars
According to Dr. Taylor the music is of a more traditional style.
The environments and accessories of the Creative/Envisioning type include:
Airy, unstructured spaces with plenty of flat surfaces for stacking
A computer to assist with creativity and managing data
Reading corner with a wide range of topics
Large sheets of paper, pencils, erasers, and markers
Caricatures and cartoons
Unusual furniture and/or pillows on the floor
Jazz or baroque music
The spaces of the Social/Harmonizing type might look like this:
Colorful, cozy, and fun rooms
Photos of friends and family
Inspirational books and pictures
Plants, candles, and stuffed animals
Rhythmic, melodic music and music that tells a story
These lists are not prescriptions for how you should decorate your rooms. Comfort and functionality should be top priorities for you and others sharing the space.
This assessment is based on the “What is My Brain Style?” Quiz from Lana Nakonne’s book Organizing For Your Brain Type, Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, and research by Arlene Taylor, Ph.D. on innate preferences.