What is a ‘Brain Profile’?
- A method of understanding your naturally preferred ways of thinking and linking this to the way you, or others, tend to behave.
- It’s fabulously useful for getting insights into ‘the way people are’ and can be used, for example, to grow relationships, make more sales, teach more effectively, learn better, communicate better etc.
- People use them at home with family members, at work with colleagues / teams and in sport, to name a few.
- It’s also very quick to get to grips with!
Not everyone thinks the same, I think we know this!
- Some people are very analytical, some are not.
- Some people are very aware of others and factor this into their thinking, whilst others don’t.
- Likewise, some people are very structured, some not.
- And others may be into big picture thinking and risk taking whereas others would rather run for the hills when it comes to taking risks.
In reality, each of us is a mixture of all these ways of thinking and a ‘Brain Profile’ is simply a way to assess the degree to which you naturally prefer to use each mode. It can then be used for personal or inter-personal insights & growth. And did I mention it’s quick to understand and put into practise in your own life or that of the teams you work / play with?
On the Chameleon Brain website I have written two summary articles to get you started, one deals with ‘Brain Profiling’ in broad terms and the other focuses in on the underlying ‘Thinking Preferences’ that constitute your profile. The articles can be accessed on the menu bar above or here:
By completing an online questionnaire, click the icon to get started!
Is a Brain Profile the same as a Personality Test?
There are differences between what a Brain Profile is telling you compared to a personality test and the basics of this are covered here.
Is Brain Profiling Based on Good Science?
It has been acknowledged since the earliest times that our brains are physically made up of two distinct halves, connected in the middle by millions of nerve fibres. Observations of the physical appearance being of two halves goes back to 400 BC and, even at that stage, it was already observed that loss of speech could be attributed to damage to the left hemisphere of the brain.
By the 1960’s Vogel & Bogen experimented with split brain operations as a means to cure people experiencing extreme epileptic fits and, by 1981, Roger Sperry received a Nobel Prize for his research work on the ‘functional specialisation of the cerebral hemispheres’. His Nobel Lecture can be viewed here and a quick read of his field of interest here.
Realisation that different thinking processes might occur in different parts of the brain led to extensive research into the field, with leading researchers including Ned Herrman, Paul Torrance and Kobus Neethling (a PhD student of Torrance). A ‘four quadrant’ model of thinking processes came into being and it is upon this that the NBI Brain Profile technique is based.
Research into 2,000 adults and 1,500 children (aged 10-19) proved the validity and repeatability of the approach and Dr. Neethling has since developed a number of brain profile related instruments, of which the most commonly used is the NBI Thinking Preferences, commonly referred to as a ‘brain profile’.
Is the Four Quadrant Brain Profile Model ‘Literal’ or ‘Metaphoric’?
Heavy sounding question eh! When you receive your brain profile document you will see that your thinking preferences have been mapped against 4 different quadrants of the brain. To a large degree, thinking processes associated with the two quadrants on the left side are generally speaking associated with the physical, left side of the brain. However, they do not exclusively occur in the left side and ongoing research shows how many of these thinking processes can happen in the right hemisphere as well. So, to a large extent, the brain profile model is a metaphor that approximately describes the split between left and right brain thinking processes. In no way does this limit the usefulness of the brain profile approach though as it enables a conversation to happen about the four dominant thinking preference modes, irrespective of where such processes might actually happen within the brain.
Is one person’s Brain Profile better than another’s?
No! The NBI Thinking Preferences instrument describes ‘what is’ about a person’s preferred modes of thinking. It does not indicate that any particular combination of thinking modes is any better than any other. So, in this respect, it is not like an IQ test that aims to show how well a person performs at certain types of thinking. Once you know your profile you can use it as a source of great learning about yourself and, when you are aware of the profiles of others, use it to enhance inter-personal communication and understanding. This can have great benefits in your personal and professional relationships and help you better align how you spend your time in the world of work with your naturally preferred way of being.
Does a person’s Brain Profile change over time?
Generally speaking, your brain profile does not tend to change very quickly over time unless you have, for instance, just experienced a traumatic event. But that is not to say that, over the years, as you gather different experiences and gain new insights of the world that you do not start to appreciate aspects of thinking that you may previously have not attributed much weight to. So yes, they can change overtime but not usually so quick as to require re-testing on a regular basis. My own experience of seeing people ask to repeat their profiles several months apart have not seen any statistically different changes.
Social conditions or pressures may be one reason though why profiles might shift slightly with time, an example being how women can develop a stronger preference for the ‘people oriented thinking preference’ than men as a result of them being the nurturer / carer in many families. Another example might be how a person, on leaving the strong camaraderie they experienced during their school days, finds themselves registering a slightly lower preference for the people oriented thinking preference once they have left school.
What is meant by ‘Whole Brained’? / Can I use my brain profile to spot areas of possible weakness?
One major use of the brain profiles is to point out to an individual the areas where they have their least preference in terms of thinking mode and to consider how they might be missing out by not considering the processes contained within that mode. For example, a person with a low preference for the ‘detailed / analytical’ thinking mode may see them enter into a new contractual agreement without having fully considered the fine print. Awareness of this tendency tends to encourage a person to pay special attention to it and perhaps opt to seek help from someone known for their preference for such thinking. In this way, a person learns to use both their high as well as low preference modes of thinking and, by consciously accessing all four quadrants, a more ‘whole brained’ approach to life is possible.
Quite often in the work world, when one is working as part of a team, ensuring that, between them, team members cover all the quadrants is a powerful way to up the team’s performance. So you should always strive to have ‘Whole Brained teams’.
Jeremy @ Chameleon Brain
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The NBI Brain Profiling assessment and associated literature / logos are copyright of Dr. Kobus Neethling and his company Solutions Finding and are used on the Chameleon Brain website with permission and much gratitude 🙂