Hermann Whole-Brain Model
You can run, but you can't hide… in your own head, anyway


Value of the Hermann Model

Rick, who is the editor of a biology journal, tells us that his company is --- > spending a lot of time and money, to --- > teach its employees how to communicate with fellow employees who come from different "learning quadrants."  Lots of companies do this now.  

Here's a real good slide show on it, will give you a feel for it in a couple of minutes.

Let's say that you have one boss who is coming from an extreme area of the Top Left quadrant ... say, a saber blogger type :- ) ... and he is trying to talk to a "critical resource" ace salesman who comes from the Bottom Right.  The boss talks past the salesman, and he is annoying to the salesman, and the salesman is even more annoying to the boss.

You've got a recipe for big, big problems here.  And that's just one of 9,000,000 ways that a company can dsyfunction, based on our amazing capacity for talking past each other.

Rick says that they're workin' it, babe, in his company.  The point of his comment was that --- > he likes SSI's intent to talk to/from all four quadrants.

High praise indeed.  We will accept his gracious words :- ) on behalf of the SSI community, which as a group has proven its interest in "eclectic" analysis.  Practically everybody who posts regularly here, can carry on a conversation with anybody else "from" any quadrant.  

An effective conversation.


In F-500, usually they teach the Hermann model with the intent of increasing tolerance between --- > people in different quadrants.

Usually all they get back, at least from bosses over 40 years of age, is an "I hear ya.  I'll take it easy on the salesman" message.

If that's all you do with the Hermann model, is --- > remind people that others may prefer to think differently, you tend to get --- > an external, nodding politeness along with --- > an internal rolling of the eyes.   To some people in the blue quadrant, that is the same thing as saying "some people prefer to remain stupid."

I think there was a Dilbert series on this... Tiffany the Tech Writer "prefers to approach problems neurotically"...

Because a "fact-based analyst," using WAR, is still going to be convinced that his way of thinking is "correct."  Also, the holistic, intuitive (Top Right Quadrant) baseball scout (who took Ken Griffey Jr. out of high school) is still going to be 100% convinced that the "fact-based analyst" is hopelessly behind the curve on things that really matter.  

A Single-Color Snob coming from any quadrant is going to be helpless, working with anybody who is not exactly like himself.  In the 1980's, baseball scouts were single-color (Yellow) snobs, arguing that "computerized statistics" were worse than useless.

By DEFINITION, any baseball General Manager has to be very, very good at working with ALL colors.  Do you see why?


Case In Point 

A baseball analyst, if he has quarantined himself in the blue quadrant, will pencil out a WAR evaluation of James Paxton and then --- > If Jack Zduriencik does something different, our Blue Man Group will quite literally see this as evidence of Zduriencik's imcompetence.  

Suppose Zduriencik meanders into the Red quadrant, and reasons, "James Paxton has outstanding MAKEUP.  I'm going to raise Paxton's expectations based on my read of his personality attributes (RED), and my experiences with CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets (YELLOW)."

Blue Man Group may roll its eyes and respond, "There he goes again with that chemistry, makeup and bull**** stuff."  

To Blue Man Group, everything outside the blue is probably perceived as bull****.  

Single-Color Snob presumes that Rainbow Boss X does not perceive Blue (or Red or whatever), though he might have a dozen Blue analysts reporting directly to him.  (Jack Zduriencik actually does use all four quadrants, but his use of Yellow, Red and Green is offensive to Blue-Only observers.)

You'll remember the cognitive dissonance when we reminded the blog-o-sphere of all the Blues reporting to Zduriencik.  The only possible resolution, to the blog-o-sphere, was that Zduriencik has them there as misdirection.  Impossible to conceive of the idea that perhaps Zduriencik has moved beyond single-quadrant thinking.  This is an example of what companies like Rick's are up against.  The tensions lie deep.


She's overboard 

and self-assured

I know, I know, a dirrr-rrr-ty word


No, you cannot address this problem by encouraging tolerance for those with different preferences.  In my experience this tends to make matters worse.

It is by no means impossible to synthesize these paradigms.  The Japanese are already doing it.  As usual, they are a generation ahead of us.

The sabermetric intern under Zduriencik thinks one way.  Carl Willis thought another way.  Joe Saunders thought another way.  But believe this, my friend:  Hisashi Iwakuma is empathetic to all those ways of thinking.  There is a reason that everybody in the clubhouse disliked Ichiro.  


VALUE OF all four quadrants vs ABSOLUTE NEED FOR all four quadrants

Whatever your client's specialty, you can demonstrate to him that the difference between HIM, as an EXPERT, and a beginner, manifests itself because that EXPERT has mastered elements coming from all four quadrants.

Show the expert his OWN skills in all four quadrants!  That's the way to guarantee signoff, and to expand appreciation for other skill sets.

A chessplayer, for example, will quickly get the point if you mention:

  • Top Left:  rook and pawn endings, pattern recognition = must know formula
  • Top Right:  Masters play better than weak computers, based on "positional judgment"
  • Bottom Left:  Players who are too risky, who do not secure their defenses, go down in flames
  • Bottom Right:  Every player needs a personal style, a "personal theory" of chess

He'll go Aha!, yes, if you're missing any single quadrant, you cannot play well.  And he'll abandon his (silent) conviction that one quadrant is the "correct" way to approach a problem.


Dr. Grumpy, before he takes a scalpel to your abdomen, will acknowledge that he needs a mastery of four types of thinking paradigms:

  • Top Left:  All biochemistry and facts associated, e.g., clinical trials of anaesthetic, etc etc
  • Top Right:  Judgment as to individual patient's long-term response, balancing of risks of invasion vs % chance of benefit, etc
  • Bottom Left:  Do thy patient no harm -- err on the side of security.  Follow hospital procedure.  etc
  • Bottom Right:  Role of patient's positive outlook in healing, doctor's bedside manner, ability to persuade on followup, etc

Dr. G could outline those a lot better than we could.  

Mojician could write us an article as to how a great trial lawyer has advantages in all four quadrants over last June's law-school grad, and I certainly hope he does.

tyle="color:#b22222;">Question Authority, Dept.

My second response is ... well, are those THE correct quadrants to use?  Could we use some other set of four quadrants?

We certainly could.  But those four are pretty blinkin' fundamental, sort of like asking "could there be pitches other than fastball-curve-changeup-slider."  There could, but those pitches organize things in a very primal way.

I'm doing some work with a lady who is very, VERY good at regressive hypnosis.  By "very good" I mean she works with insane people and, in 30 minutes, they're effectively cured.

The model that Friend Psychiatrist works with, is that all people (children and adults) have four primal needs:

  • Importance (= Top left, sort of)
  • Creativity / adventure / stimulation (= Top right, exactly)
  • Security (= Bottom left, exactly)
  • Connection (= Bottom right, exactly)

She will set about identifying which need, in a particular patient, is driving a compulsion.  Then she'll relax the need.

Her paradigm works.  It's like saying Dr. Grumpy's "theory" of large and small intestine works.  If you take a look, you'll probably quickly notice that YOU have needs in all four of those quadrants.  

It's the way idea transfer works.  And baseball is idea transfer.  So is projecting a baseball player.


A Picture's Worth ... 96 MPH, Dept.

How good is James Paxton likely to be?  Well, just f'r instance:

  • Top Left:  He has a ranking on the FB velocity chart (etc) ... there is hard data available
  • Top Right:  He sits in a LH flamethrower template ... there are many ways to apply intuition to the problem
  • Bottom Left = Security Paradigm:  Pitchers have a certain risk profile, and Paxton a profile within that (don't bank his 200K's just yet)
  • Bottom Right = Personality Paradigm:  Paxton's "makeup" was on evidence during those 4 late starts against contenders (cf. Maurer's deer-in-headlights debut)

You can see how you could come from all 4 camera angles here and analyze Paxton in completely different flavors.  (As it happens, all 4 paradigms would select Paxton out of a large group of blue-chippers!)

I'd like to explore Rick's ideas a bit further.  To take a given prospect, and summarize him via these 4 camera angles, to me that sounds pretty fresh.


Dr D




blissedj's picture

you analyze Ji-Man Choi for Gordon as the first prospect? Or you could wait a couple months and analyze the first M's free agent signing. How exciting will it be doing this for someone like Ervin Santana?


Something y'all might find interesting, is that U.S. law is actually split along right brain and left brain lines.  I like to call it fairness and squareness.  In the left brain corner (the squareness laws), is the court of law.  Its business is determining whether a statute has been violated to the strictest letter of the law.  Was a person speeding?  If so, what does the penalty schedule state for the fine?
In the right brain corner, (the fairness laws) is the court of equity.  Usually, only higher courts are permitted to impose equity.  Equity is for weighty matters that cannot be addressed by law, such as whether a child should live with her mother or father, or whether terms of a contract are too one-sided.  Equity  overrides law.  For example, an insurance company tricks an accident victim into tolling the statute of limitations for negligence by telling him "we'll take care of you" and then asks to throw out his suit when it doesn't take care of him and he sues.  Then, the court might find an equitable remedy to throw out the statute of limitations.  Equity is reserved for those times when law does not work, or is unjust or unfair.  
Equity powers do not just extend to courts.  State governors, and the U.S. President are vested with pardoning powers for violations of state or federal laws.  
Also, besides the courts of law and equity, some law is clear and other law is not.  The Uniform Commercial Code reads like a logic flowchart.  Was a check dishonored?  If so, did the bank rightfully dishonor it?  What recourses does the holder have and against whom? Every question has an answer in its proper spot.
 Ambiguous law is telling a jury how much money they should award for pain and suffering, or what reasonable precautions a store owner should take to ensure that his flooring is not slippery or what the "best interests of the child" means when mom is an alcoholic and dad is a domestic abuser.
As far as lawyers go, they come in all stripes, but each state's bar exam tests heavily for both right and left brain thinking and competence.  If a person is deficient in either, he should not pass the bar.  As a generalization, right brainers tend toward litigation, and left brainers tend toward transactional work.  This is because in litigation, game plans should sometimes change suddenly and it often stresses heavy left brainers out to work in that sort of environment.  An example is this: a witness you would like to discredit is suddenly testifying in a way that is slightly different than the police reports.  Do you question her as if she was lying, or as if she has a bad memory?  The jury is watching you and you have three seconds to decide.  
Likewise, you would want a highly developed left brain to draft administrative regulations or ensure SEC compliance for your new municipal bond.  


... would like to come back to this in separately... thanks Mojo... 
This part here,
Do you question her as if she was lying, or as if she has a bad memory?  The jury is watching you and you have three seconds to decide. - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/comment/118586#comment-118586
And jurors who are "from" each of the four paradigms* --- > will react to either approach accordingly, right?  Your decision would be based primarily on your read of the jury's attitude and disposition?


One juror judges the client based on whether her lawyer is telling the truth. One judges her on the reasonableness of her testimony in light of the other evidence, one judges her on her demeanor and another judges her on what she is wearing.
Once, I asked a juror why she found my female client guilty. The first thing out of the juror's mouth, true story, is that my client was showing way too much cleavage.
A jury's wide variance in world view naturally leads to much arcane skulduggery about juror biases based on their background, ethnicity, religion, answers to questions, demeanor and socioeconomic status. I would reveal my methodology on juror biases, but: 1. It is among my most closely held proprietary secrets of my trade that has taken years to compile, and 2. It contains stereotypes that might offend folks and is generally unsuitable for the internet. This sort of thing is like pepperoni. You like how it tastes and like to consume it but you do not want to know how it is prepared or what it is made out of.  In law, this is called the sausage principle.  

misterjonez's picture

with the current justice system in what is considered the 'free world' today, but this is an absolutely fascinating subject. Naturally, being an officer of the court yourself, you're pretty good at elucidating. Love the perspective, mojician!
I also love your unapologetic honesty about what works and what doesn't as it pertains to the reasonable use of stereotypes. There is a middle ground somewhere between over-use and whatever it is one would describe the apparently popular position these days regarding the evil of stereotyping under any circumstances. I, for one, look forward to the day when we can discuss the merits of stereotypes and, more importantly, the component mechanisms at play when a person applies them in their everyday life. That particular conversation is so heavily policed, yet so thoroughly embedded in what it is to be human at the most fundamental level (compared to, say, a computer) that the subject must be analyzed more openly. Stereotypes are nothing but pattern recognition software - and humans were able to beat computers at chess for a long time by relying on pattern recognition. If we try to play 'the computer's game,' we get thrashed by a Commodore 64.


Yeah, Bismark is the original guy, although I heard the term from somebody else.  I think a lot of things are governed by the sausage principle, including the CIA, Social Security, campaign finance, foreign policy, Facebook, credit scores and the like.  


Jerry Spence writes about how he lost a big case because he went against his juror stereotyping methodology in picking a juror in "How to Argue and Win Every Time". Jerry Spence is a cantankerous old Wyoming trial lawyer who is famous for the Imelda Marcos and Idaho Ruby Ridge massacre acquittals. I haven't read any of his other books or attended any of his seminars, but the biases he teaches in his lawyer classes would make for some good discussion.  This is because Spence is a Darwinian pragmatist that studies how cases are won and lost.  He gives you something rare:  an unbiased social scientist!  

Also, besides court, there are other places where stereotypes are used as part of everyday business.  Credit scores, film and magazine companies (they call it demographics), pollsters and politicians all stereotype in some way to do their jobs.
I think that the Fourteenth Amendment and its related Congressional acts, the Klu Klux Klan Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are some of the high points of U.S. History.  Also, the U.S. has some very ugly race, religion, and national origin history that is still a significant tension in our society.  Any talk about biases often opens ugly wounds fairly quickly.
I'm with you that recognizing another person's perspective keeps you from getting thrashed in whatever walk of life you are in and is a key human skill.  How do you talk about someting this delicate without stating something untoward or whitewashing the issue?

misterjonez's picture

of the subject. I just see too many roadblocks being arbitrarily thrown up which prevent furtherance of discussing the subject (of stereotypes and their productive application specifically, and pattern recognition generally) rather than attempting to mold and direct the subject, which in my experience is always preferable and, more importantly, actually productive.
I subscribe, consciously or unconsciously, to Fred Rogers' philosophy of establishing self-worth, which is likely a component (however small) which contributes to my willingness to discuss the subject in a dispassionate fashion. Naturally we all bleed when pricked, and touchy subjects are that way for a reason, but that doesn't mean the entire subject should be branded as heretical and/or evil.
In an age where social skills are highly valued, and for which measures like Social Quotient are touted as being of paramount importance (compared with Intelligence Quotient) it would seem beneficial to more openly discuss the ways in which we arrive at our given positions. Pattern recognition is, essentially, one of the most important -- if not THE most important -- core skills upon which all other human ability is built.
Not sure how we get to a less contentious atmosphere surrounding the subject from where we are, but I do firmly believe that places like this one (yes, a relatively minor baseball blog) are going to be instrumental if it is ever to take place. That's why I keep coming back; it sure as heck ain't for the home team's warrior spirit ;)


Then it is in Atlanta, my "second city."  When I get to feeling sorry for myself, about the state of idea exchange around me, I remind myself that I live in an idiosyncratic location.
Mojician could give us all a SCINTILLATING education in social science, but the pushback, from the PC police, would not be in the LEAST concerned with whether his observations were true or not.
I'm with you Jonezie.  DOV/SSI seems to have, over time, attracted a community that prioritizes information over social agendas.  It's certainly one of the main reasons I stick with it, because guys like you are here.


The greatest politicians in US History have all been balanced thinkers or have all recognized that they are not, and appointed a cabinet of advisers who think differently than they do.
FDR - an undoubtedly successful and influential man, whatever you think of his policies - was, himself, brutally logical, but skilled in wielding emotional rhetoric to reach out and touch an American society in need of emotional support and connection.
Bill Clinton - the real teflon President - won his first election with emotional, populist messaging, and then won his second election with a much more logical approach - and, in an ironic twist, he ran his first term with brutally logical intentions, especially after the 1994 Republican wave election forced him to shake up his cabinet and reach out to conservatives...and then escaped Zipper-gate using emotional appeals in his second administration.
Ronald Reagan had a personal preference for all things logical and effective and workmanlike (left brain dominance, certainly), but was considered by many to be one of the greatest communicators in US History as well.
Whereas, for example, Obama is a technocratic blue-quad politician who believes the answer to every problem is a government-driven computerized (streamlined) and mandated program, and, after five years of attempting to govern technocratically and with brutal logic, while disingenuously campaigning on purely emotional grounds, the people in his own party now see him as distant, insular, and wonkish...and Romney lost the 2012 election likely in large part due to his tendency to honestly STATE that he was a distant wonk obsessed only with productivity ("I like to fire people!" and "There are 47% of this country who we can't reach because they rely on the free things offered by our opponent")
Americans seem to want balance in their leaders...they want people who can converse logically, plan diligently, and still empathize with their emotional needs.


Nice piece, Matt!  :- )
You almost have me wondering how well you could predict elections, by assessing how well a candidate speaks to the 4th quadrant. ... I've always felt that Al Gore blew an easy win because there were certain people he preferred NOT to talk to.
The last election, also, there's little doubt in my mind that Pres. Obama spoke to the 4 quadrants more effectively than Gov. Romney did.  But there were other factors at play, there, too.
Interesting analysis.

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