Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights into How You Think

Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights into How You Think

G. Wayne Miller

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1451645104

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this groundbreaking contribution to the literature of human personality, a celebrated psychologist and an award-winning author offer an exciting new way of thinking about our minds—and ourselves—based on a new way of looking at the brain.

IN THIS GROUNDBREAKING contribution to the literature on human personality, a celebrated psychologist and an award-winning author offer a novel way to learn about how each of us thinks. For the past fifty years, popular culture has led us to believe in the left brain vs. right brain theory of personality types. It would be an illumi­nating theory if it did not have one major drawback: It is simply not supported by science. In contrast, the Top Brain, Bottom Brain theory is based on solid research that has stayed within the confines of labs all over the world—until now.

With cowriter G. Wayne Miller, Stephen M. Kosslyn, PhD, a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience, explains this exciting new theory for the first time. Kosslyn and Miller describe how the top and bottom parts of the brain work together, summarizing extensive research with ease and accessibility. In doing so, they introduce us to four modes of thought: Mover, Perceiver, Stimulator, and Adaptor.

These ways of thinking and behaving shape your personality, and with the scientifically developed test provided in the book, you’ll quickly be able to determine which mode best defines your dominant way of thinking. Once you’ve identified your dominant cognitive mode, you can reflect on the many possible practical applications from the way you conduct business to your relationships to your voyage of personal discovery.


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entered there and passed through my head.” It was a disturbingly precise description. Harlow cleaned and dressed Gage’s wounds—and was able, while searching for bone fragments, to touch his right index finger, which he had inserted through the hole in the top of Gage’s head, to the index finger of his left hand, which he had inserted through Gage’s fractured cheek. Harlow later wrote of what he observed: “The brain protruding from the opening and hanging in shreds upon the hair. . . . The

In our view, no one cognitive mode is in general “superior to” or “better than” others, and there is no good reason to be dissatisfied with your dominant mode, which you’ll have the opportunity to identify in chapter 13. The challenge is to find the best way to use your dominant cognitive mode to good ends, which may entail partnering with others or finding the right environment to engage your strengths. We will have a lot more to say about this, but let’s first explore the four modes in greater

signals from the eyes and ears eventually access relevant stored memories about objects, rather like a key opening the appropriate lock. These inputs from the eyes and ears are also shunted to the bottom parts of the frontal lobe, which is very tightly linked to the temporal and occipital lobes by many neural connections. Lower parts of the frontal lobe specify emotional memories. In short, the bottom part of the brain is largely concerned with processing inputs from the senses and using them to

Stimulator or Adaptor mode. A person operating in Stimulator Mode might simply give a knee-jerk reaction, and a person operating in Adaptor Mode might try to minimize the issue. So that would leave you with the choice of counsel from someone who typically operates in Mover Mode or Perceiver Mode. And that choice would depend in part on your goals for the outcome. If you wanted strategic help in how to handle the situation, the theory suggests that the person in Mover Mode would be most

system to classify expected objects and events, making that system work more efficiently. If you were expecting to see your friend in the crowd, this would actually be easier than noticing her without warning. The expectation (via the top brain) “primes” the recognition machinery in the bottom brain. The systems interact in various ways, which we will discuss more thoroughly in chapter 3. For present purposes, however, the key hypothesis is that a person tends to utilize each of the two brain

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