Brain Bent Overview
©Arlene R. Taylor PhD
Every brain is unique, just like one's fingerprints are unique. There have been many terms used to describe this uniqueness. I prefer brain bent. It refers to the type of brain you possess in terms of the way in which it processes specific types of information, what gets its attention quickly and what it pays attention to, how it manages data, and to your brain’s innate energy advantage, believed to exist in one of the four natural divisions of the cerebrum over the other three.
Work by Richard Haier using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans has shown that the brain expends less energy (e.g., requires less oxygen and glucose) when using functions that align with its innate bent. C. G. Jung suggested that the brain requires a shorter recovery time when activities are aligned with that specific brain's innate giftedness.
Most people are also believed to use parts of all of the brain all the time, although one cerebral division tends to take the lead when engaged in some specific tasks. Neurochemically, this means that when you are thinking using primarily your brain bent:
- There is a reduced resistance to transmission of information across the synapse
- There may be more rapid firing across the neuronal pathways
- Processes tend to require lower levels of energy expenditures
The cerebrum or thinking-brain layer is the largest chunk of tissue housed within the bony skull. It is constantly at work even though only a small percentage (5% - 10% by some estimates) of its activities surface to conscious awareness. The brain is not a simple organ but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to understand its functions! It has been said rather succinctly that if the human brain was simple enough for people to understand, it would be so simple they couldn’t.
Over the centuries, a variety of models have been developed in an effort to enhance our understanding of brain function. Although no model is completely adequate, because the human brain is so complex, models can help explain things that cannot be easily or directly observed. It is interesting to note that a quadrantal pattern has been used in a variety of descriptive models from as early as Hippocrates and Galen. (Refer to Brain Models for examples.)
Brain Anatomy and Functions
Natural fissures divide the human brain (also referred to as the cerebrum, gray matter, cortex or neo-cortex) into left and right hemispheres. Natural fissures further divide each hemisphere, creating a total of four cerebral divisions. (A plethora of names have been used to label these divisions including upper and lower quadrants, frontal and posterior sections, frontals and basals, and some by specific descriptive labels to assist individuals who have right-left confusion).
The two frontal divisions consist of one large lobe each.
The two posterior divisions consist of three smaller lobes each:
- Parietal lobes - decode data received through touch, taste, and position
- Occipital lobes - decode data received through the eyes
- Temporal lobes - decode data received through sound.
Brain Bent is Natural
For purposes of discussion, say that you have a right-hand preference and expend less energy doing tasks that utilize your right hand (e.g., pounding nails, using a utensil to eat food). Now imagine that you break your right arm and end up wearing a cast for six weeks while the bones heal. You can learn to do many of those same tasks using your left hand. At first it may be extremely awkward. With practice however, you learn to do some of them very well, although you may always be aware at some level that it doesn’t “seem as natural.” When the cast is removed and you become accustomed to using your right arm again, you tend to revert almost automatically to using that right arm. It is a relief, gives you a sense of comfort, and utilizes less energy (although you still maintain some sense of developed competence with the opposite arm).
Societal Rewards by Gender
In general, it appears that this culture (and many others) reward males primarily for skills built in the left frontal lobe. Because of this, many males try to build skills in that section of the brain, whether or not they have a brain bent in the Prioritizing Division.
Females are primarily rewarded for skills built in the right posterior lobes. Therefore, many females try to build skills in that section of the brain, whether or not they have a brain bent in the Harmonizing Division.
Skills that utilize the left posterior lobes or Maintaining Division are often emphasized in industrialized America, so many males and females work hard to build these skills.
Regardless of gender, relatively few are rewarded for skills built in the right frontal lobe or Envisioning Division, at least during their lifetime.
Following are some correlations with the four cerebral divisions.
King or Judge
Non-emotional, objective, decision making
General operational principles
Procedural applications (step-by-step, immediate and clear use, pre-digested or pre-determined)
Sensitivity, encouraging, and nurturing
How to harmonize (sounds, tastes, colors, people with people, people with the environment, people with nature)
Underlying unity or equality (connection with others, nature, a Higher Power)
Communication style: Communicates results of thinking, usually a decision, verbally or in writing.
Communication style: Thinks imaginatively and may communicate through art, music, gestures, words, etc.
Communication style: Thinks in terms of prescribed order and what is out of order and may communicate this verbally or in writing
Communication style: Thinks empathetically and my communicate feelings through words, gestures, music, touch, etc.
Use of Language (Quotes as Examples)
When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do: lose.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
They always talk who never think.
—Poet John Donne
Analogies prove nothing.
Our American values are not luxuries but necessities, not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself. Our common vision of a free and just society is our greatest source of cohesion at home and strength abroad, greater than the bounty of our material blessings.
The Republic is a dream. Nothing happens unless first a dream.
—Poet Carl Sandburg 1878-1976
I like strawberries, but when I go fishing I use worms.
—Entrepreneur Dale Carnegie
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
—Martin Luther King Jr
I believe good philosophers fly alone like eagles, not in flocks like starlings.
The hands and arms must in all their action display the intention of the mind that moves them…gestures should be appropriate…the orator who is wishing to persuade someone of something must gesture. Otherwise he will seem dead.
—Leonardo Da Vinci
Our constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws, not of men. Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.
In a republic the first rule for the guidance of the citizen is obedience of the law. The business of America is business. One with the law is a majority.
Patriotism is not short frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. The watchword should be “carry on.”
—Winston Churchill 1874-1965, an Envisioner who chose his language carefully to influence people of the British culture that was more aligned with the Maintaining division (1940s)
America is not a blanket woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. It is time for us to turn to each other, not on each other.
Opportunity for all means making taxes fair.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. It is not the body's posture, but the heart's attitude that counts when we pray. Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.
—Rev Billy Graham
Mode of Communications
Short written summary with key points or bulletsVerbal debate
Word pictures or artistic products
Written forms that maximize efficiency
Check marks and lists
Singing, dancing, touching
Speaking with eyes