Whole Brain Model

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What is the Whole Brain Model? Description

Herrmann Whole Brain model

The Whole Brain Model from Ned Herrmann is a technique that can be used for analyzing personal and organizational thinking preferences.

People have markedly different ways that they perceive and assimilate information, make decisions, and solve problems. Once an individual understands his or her thinking style preferences, the door is open to improved communication, leadership, management, problem solving, decision making and other aspects of personal and interpersonal development.

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:

  1. Logician. Analytical, mathematical, technical and problem solving.
  2. Organizer. Controlled, conservative, planned, organized and administrative in nature.
  3. Communicator. Interpersonal, emotional, musical, spiritual and the "talker" modes.
  4. Visionary. Imaginative, synthesizing, artistic, holistic and conceptual modes.

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 (see below).

Herrmann'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.

Origin of the Whole Brain Model. History

In 1976, Ned Herrmann researched the brain as the source of creativity. At that time, he learned of the pioneering brain research of Roger Sperry, Paul MacLean, Joseph Bogen and Michael Gazzanaga. From their work it is clear that the brain has four distinct and specialized structures. Inspired by this research, Herrmann worked with EEG scans and, later, paper-and-pencil questionnaires to identify four distinct types of thinking, each roughly corresponding to one of the brain structures. The result of this research is the Herrmann Whole Brain Model. In August, 1979, after many tests, in-depth research, and mountains of data, Herrmann had developed a valid self-assessment that enables individuals to understand their own thinking style preferences - the HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument.)

Book: Ned Herrmann - The Whole Brain Business Book

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Whole Brain (Human Thinking) Special Interest Group.

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Forum discussions about Whole Brain (Human Thinking). Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

topic Sinek: Leaders in Business 'get' the 'why' of a Business and Communicate it
Sinek, on TED, has an interesting analysis of leadership, based on the ability to 'touch' the limbic brain (which cannot connect to speech), saying that great leaders in business 'get' the 'why' of a ...
topic What are the Benefits of Understanding the Thinking Modes / Preferences / Styles of Others?
How do individuals benefit from understanding the thinking mode dominances and thinking preferences of other people?...
topic HBDI Exercises for Reinforcement?
I often incorporate HBDI into my learning solutions for clients and am looking for interesting and engaging exercises that you have used (or experienced) that help reinforce HBDI in various contexts (...
Comments1 comments
topic What are the Benefits of Using Whole Brain Thinking Modes / Preferences in Organizations?
How do organizations benefit from understanding thinking modes dominances and thinking preferences of their employees? What are the advantages at the organizational level?...
topic Whole Brain Self-Assessment
Would like to know more on how to evaluate oneself on the WB model. Does anybody have any useful inputs?...
Comments1 comments
🔥 What are the Benefits of Knowing the Thinking Modes / Preferences / Styles of Yourself?
How can you benefit from understanding your own thinking mode dominances and thinking preferences?...
Comments1 comments
topic Using the Whole Brain Model for Projects
Hi! Please, let us know how you use this model for project management and project team building? Thanks for participating......
Comments1 comments
topic What is Whole Brain Learning? Definitions
What is whole brain learning?...
topic Using Whole Brain for Professional Development
The Whole Brain model helps professionals to know themselves better and know others better too. Knowing one's thinking style preference and that of others is important in communication as we will know...
Comments1 comments

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🥇 The Immense Power of your Brain...
Your brain is more powerful than you think!. I found this remarkable text on the web: Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can... I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I wa...
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Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Whole Brain (Human Thinking). Here you will find professional advices by experts.


Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Skills Development
In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory suggests that intelligence is not a s...

Changing HBDI Your (Coachee's) Thinking Preference

4 Exercises to Access Other Preferences
As explained by Ned Herrmann, the four quadrants of the brain represent differences in mental processing within a person...

The Brain's Lymbic System is an Open-loop System. The Phenomenon of Mirroring

EI Awareness
A closed-loop system is self-regulating, it is not influenced by things outside of the system. An open-loop system depe...

Assessing Thinking Style Preferences with HBDI

Best Practices to Consider
The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) can be a powerful tool for assessing thinking style preferences. In many ...

The Main Conclusions of Whole Brain Thinking

Unleashing Creative and Innovative Potential of Organizations
For more than two decades, Ned Herrmann has been exploring brain functions and their relation to creativity. Some of the...

Thorndike on Intelligence 1920

3 distinct types
E.L. Thorndike (1920: Intelligence and its uses) distinguished between three distinct types of intelligence: 1. Abstrac...
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Personal Problem Solving: Process, Principles and Efficiency

Problem Solving Process, Problem Solving Stages, Problem Solving Steps, Interpersonal Problem Solving
A brief but excellent presentation about some key aspects of effective (personal) problem solving. The presentation incl...

The Influence of Emotions and Moods on Decision-Making and Entrepreneurship

Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Cognitive Bias
This presentation is about emotions in decision-making, thereby paying specific attention to Emotional Intelligence 1. ...

Assess your Personality Type to Plan your Career

Career Management, Career Planning, Personality Types
This presentation elaborates on how to define your personality and the career that suits best to you. The presentation i...

Whole Brain Diagram

Analyzing Thinking Preferences
Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in ...

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Compare with the Whole Brain Model:  Emotional Intelligence  |  Spiral Dynamics  |  Theory of Needs  |  Pyramid Principle  |  Belbin Team Roles  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Groupthink  |  Coaching  |  Mentoring  |  Johari Window  |  Ashridge Mission Model

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