The improbable "meeting" of a noted neuroscientist and a suffering veteran of World War II in 1962 underlie the left brain, right brain story, which is accepted by many as truth, but is in fact largely a myth. First of two posts.
The Theory of Cognitive Modes posits that any individual has one dominant way of thinking and behaving, based on utilization of the top and bottom brain systems: Stimulator, Mover, Adaptor, or Perceiver. But if you lack the ability or skill to accomplish something, what then? Social Prosthetic Systems may hold the key. TV's 'Modern Family' provides an example.
Adaptor Mode results when neither the top-brain nor the bottom-brain systems are highly utilized. According to our theory, those who rely habitually on Adaptor Mode may be free-spirited and good team members. Contemporary people who seem to exemplify Adaptor Mode behavior include Britney Spears and Jesse Ventura. From the past: Elizabeth Taylor.
Stimulator Mode results when the top-brain system is highly utilized, but the bottom is not. Tiger Woods, Courtney Love, Glenn Beck and Stephen Colbert (in character) are among the contemporary people who seem to exemplify Stimulator Mode. Creative types seem to benefit.
Mover Mode results when both the top-brain and bottom-brain systems are highly utilized not. According to our theory, heads of companies, school principals and other leaders should rely habitually on Mover Mode. Contemporary people who seem to exemplify Mover Mode include Oprah Winfrey, Michael Bloomberg and dance pioneer Alvin Ailey. From history: the Wright Brothers.
Perceiver Mode results when the bottom-brain system is highly utilized but the top is not. According to our theory, many librarians, naturalists, and pastors should rely habitually on Perceiver Mode. Contemporary people who seem to exemplify Perceiver Mode include the Dalai Lama, photographer Annie Leibovitz, and the novelists Philip Roth, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison.
The roots of the Theory of Cognitive Modes lie in a landmark report published in 1982 by neuroscientist Mortimer Mishkin and Leslie G. Ungerleider, of the National Institute of Mental Health. Mishkin later received the National Medal of Science. This study of the top/bottom brain function in monkeys inspired many other scientists and psychologists.
The left brain/right brain story is just that: A story, with little basis in credible neuroscience. But a new theory of cognitive function based on another, frequently overlooked, anatomical division of the brain draws on more than 30 years of valid scientific research to give us a new way of understanding ourselves and the people in our lives.