Thinking Preferences@Workplace

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Gaining insights into the way we prefer to think makes us more aware of and sensitive to the preferences of others. Developing better relationships, making more dynamic contributions in the team and making sound and relevant decisions are necessary at Workplace.  But it is most important to know advantages of understanding yourself and your thinking preferences.

Thinking Preferences Explained

A person could well have a preference for certain things without the ability to see it through. For example, it is possible that an individual could have a very strong preference for order, planning and organization, but has never had the opportunity to develop the skills to plan and organize. On the other hand, it is possible that a person could have excellent skills to be a financial controller, but have a very low preference for the processes associated with the job. This, of course, could lead to a lot of frustration! The individual would therefore not be able to sustain the passion and energy to stay happy and productive in his current work environment.  Whole brain thinking preferences would surely be able to help the individuals in liking the processes where their preferences are low.

Thinking preferences at workplace help people, teams and organizations better benefit from all of the thinking available to them. It acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different kinds of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically leverage the full spectrum of thinking available.

Thinking preferences of individuals having left brain & right dominance have been explained below.

Left Brain                               Right Brain               

  • Linear                                   Holistic
  • Logical                                  Creative
  • Sequential                             Emotional
  • Analytical                              Intuitive
  • Objective                              Subjective

Researches in the past

In 1981, Roger Sperry received the Nobel Prize in Physiology for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres. Sperry discovered that each hemisphere of the brain had its own specialized functions, confirming a hypothesis that had existed for a number of years. Sperry himself declared, “Each disconnected hemisphere appears to have a mind of its own”. A very practical example of this came when one of Sperry’s patients got involved in an argument with his wife. The patient reached out to grab her with his one hand, but to everyone’s surprise, the other hand immediately grabbed the aggressive hand back. Although the average person is not confronted with this extreme kind of behavior (largely because our corpus callosum is still in place), it has become clear that most of us prefer the functions and processes of one of the two hemispheres to the other.

Michael Gazzaniga explained further on their research: “It became clear that visual information no longer moved between the two sides. If we projected an image to the right visual field – that is, to the left hemisphere, which is where information from the right field is processed – the patients could describe what they saw.

But when the same image was displayed to the left visual field, the patients drew a blank: they said they didn’t see anything. Yet if we asked them to point to an object similar to the one being projected, they could do so with ease. The right brain saw the image and could mobilize a nonverbal response. It simply couldn’t talk about what it saw. The same kind of finding proved true for touch, smell and sound. Additionally, each half of the brain could control the upper muscles of both arms, but the muscles manipulating hand and finger movement could be orchestrated only the by contra lateral hemisphere. In other words, the right hemisphere could control only the left hand and the left hemisphere only the right hand.”

Between 1988 and 1991 Torrance and Neethling identified 2000 adults (52 percent females and 48 percent males with an age range of between 18 and 80) and 1500 pupils (with an equal distribution between 10 and 19 years of age). A question with four possible responses was posed to each of the subjects, who then had to arrange their personal thinking preferences from the strongest to the lowest. Research on the Torrance Left/Right Brain instruments (with special focus on the SOLAT Test) suggested that each hemisphere hosted two specific thinking processes.

“The awareness of one’s own thinking preferences and the thinking preferences of others, combined with the ability to act outside of one’s preferred thinking preferences is known as “Whole Brain Thinking.” (Herrmann, 2016)


Author- Kuldeep Gupta works as Head HR at a MNC “Porteck Corporation”, an HR Enthusiast, Master Trainer & a Behavioural Scientist.  He is a Research Scholar from Udaipur University (MLSU) & has completed his management education from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.  He is a keynote speaker & Guest Faculty at various educational institutions.  He has received numerous accolades for skilling Graduates & Post Graduates becoming industry ready.

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