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May 16, 2009
Whole Brain® Thinking Styles
Tip—Many family squabbles are linked to biological differences in how our brains are wired.
We’ve written quite a bit on this website about temperament styles—a collection of inborn traits that strongly influence personality. Parent educator and professor, Susie Weller, does something similar but zeroes in on the brain as she explores four dominant thinking styles in her new book, Why Don't You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles. Weller says that research shows we all have innate preferences for how our brains gather and process information. In other words, our brains are hard-wired to think in a certain way. Weller’s goal is to apply this information to family dynamics to improve communication and reduce common conflicts.
Adapted from the Whole Brain® model with permission from Herrmann International
Tools—“Preferences are not good or bad, right or wrong,” says Weller. “However, there are situational consequences. Not being able to function in a certain style because you ‘don’t do numbers’ or ‘deal with feelings’ can severely hinder your ability to relate to others and complete everyday tasks.” Your dominant thinking style is what comes the easiest to you. It requires the least amount of energy for your brain to operate in its preferred style. It takes less effort to talk to someone with the same style as your own. On the other hand, it takes a significantly increased amount of energy to operate in your non-dominant mode. Style differences can affect the ability of parents to easily bond with their children and vice versa.
You’ve probably heard of right and left brain thinking. The Logical and Practical styles are left brain. The Creative and Relational styles are right brain. Looking at it from another angle, Weller points out that the Logical and Creative styles emphasize the intellect and are used for problem solving, while the Practical and Relational styles emphasize instinct and focus on everyday survival skills. All four styles are important and used by both men and women.
You’ll find more practical tips you can use right now in Why Don't You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles by Susie Leonard Weller.
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