This Whole Brain Quiz comes from the currently out of print book, Whole Brain Thinking. It is a fun look at how you usually use your brain and offers some insights if you're thinking effectively.
Brain Preference Indicator Test
From Whole Brain Thinking, by Jacquelyn Wonder & Priscilla Donovan
A note about the Brain Preference Indicator Test: In order to get the most from
this test, Chris recommends that you print this page and then write your answers
and score your test on the paper. Because of the way the test is scored, it is
nearly impossible to accurately take this test without a printed copy.
1. In a problem-solving situation, do you:
a. Take a walk and mull solutions over, then discuss them?
b. Think about, write down all alternatives, arrange them according to priorities,
and then pick the best?
c. Recall past experiences that were successful and implement them?
d. Wait to see if the situation will right itself?
2. Daydreaming is:
a. A waste of time
b. Amusing and relaxing
c. A real help in problem-solving and creative thinking
d. A viable tool for planning my future
3. Question 3 has been removed from this version of the test.
4. Concerning hunches:
a. I frequently have strong ones and follow them
b. I have strong hunches but don’t consciously follow them
c. I occasionally have hunches but don’t place much faith in them
d. I would not rely on hunches to help me make important decisions
5. In thinking about the activities of your day, which is most typical of your “style”?
a. I make a list of all the things I need to do, people to see
b. I picture the places I will go, people I’ll see, things I’ll do
c. I just let it happen
d. I plan the day’s schedule, blocking out appropriate times for each item or
6. Do you usually have a place for everything, a system for doing things, and an ability to
organize information and materials?
7. Do you like to move your furniture, change the décor or your home or office
8. Please check which of these activities you enjoy
ô€‚‰ playing instrument
ô€‚‰ home improvements
ô€‚‰ doing nothing
9. Do you learn athletics and dancing better by:
a. Imitating, getting the feel of the music or game?
b. Learning the sequence and repeating the steps mentally?
10. In sports or performing in public do you often perform better than your training and
natural abilities warrant?
11. Do you express yourself well verbally?
12. Are you goal-oriented?
13. When you want to remember directions, a name, or a news item, do you:
a. Visualize the information?
b. Write notes?
c. Verbalize it (repeat it to yourself outloud)?
d. Associate it with previous information?
14. Do you remember faces easily?
15. In the use of language, do you:
a. Make up words?
b. Devise rhymes and incorporate metaphors?
c. Choose exact, precise terms?
16. In a communication situation, are you more comfortable being the:
17. When you are asked to speak extemporaneously at a meeting, do you:
a. Make a quick outline?
b. Just start talking?
c. Shift the focus to someone else or say as little as possible?
d. Speak slowly and carefully?
18. In an argument, do you tend to:
a. Talk until your point is made?
b. Find an authority to support your point?
c. Just become withdrawn?
d. Push chair or table, pound table, talk louder-yell?
19. Can you tell fairly accurately how much time has passed without looking at your
20. Do you prefer social situations that are:
a. Planned in advance?
21. In preparing yourself for a new or difficult task, do you:
a. Visualize yourself accomplishing it effectively?
b. Recall past successes in similar situations?
c. Prepare extensive data regarding the task?
22. Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
23. When it comes to “bending the rules” or altering company policy, do you feel:
a. rules and policy are to be followed?
b. Progress comes through challenging the structure?
c. Rules are made to be broken?
24. In school, did you prefer:
25. Which of these handwriting positions most closely resembles yours?
a. Regular right-hand position
b. Hooked right-hand position (fingers pointing toward your chest)
c. Regular left-hand position
d. Hooked left-hand position (fingers pointing toward your chest)
26. In notetaking, do you print:
27. Do you use gestures to
a. Emphasize a point?
b. Express your feelings?
28. Do you instinctively feel an issue is right or correct, or do you decide on the basis of
29. I enjoy taking risks.
30. After attending a musical:
a. I can hum many parts of the score
b. I can recall many of the lyrics
31. Please hold a pencil perpendicularly to the ground at arms length, centered in your
line of vision and lined up with a frame, board, or door. Holding that position, close your
left eye. Did your pencil appear to move?
Close your right eye. Did your pencil appear to move?
32. Sit in a relaxed position and clasp your hands comfortably in your lap.
Which thumb is on top?
33. Check as many of these items as you feel are true about you:
ô€‚‰ I can extract meaning from contracts, instruction manuals, and legal
ô€‚‰ I can understand schematics and diagrams
ô€‚‰ I strongly visualize the characters, setting, and plot of reading material
ô€‚‰ I prefer that friends phone in advance of their visits
ô€‚‰ I dislike chatting on the phone
ô€‚‰ I find it satisfying to plan and arrange the details of a trip
ô€‚‰ I postpone making telephone calls
ô€‚‰ I can easily find words in a dictionary, names in a phone book
ô€‚‰ I love puns
ô€‚‰ I take lots of notes at meetings and lectures
ô€‚‰ I freeze when I need to operate mechanical things under stress
ô€‚‰ Ideas frequently come to me out of nowhere
34. I have:
a. Frequent mood changes
b. Almost no mood changes
35. I am:
a. Not very conscious of body language. I prefer to listen to what people say
b. Good at interpreting body language
c. Good at understanding what people say and also the body language they use
36. Question 36 has been removed from this version of the test.
Specific scoring instructions are at the end of this list. For now, assign your answers
points based on the numbers below.
8. swimming 9
play instrument 4
home improv. 3
doing nothing 9
24. a. algebra 1
c. geometry 9
33. contracts 1
plan trip 1
find words 1
36. Score as follows:
9 a. if you read 0 to 1 boxes all the way through
5 b. if you read 2 to 5 boxes all the way through
1 c. if you read 6 to 8 boxes all the way through
Now add the number of points you scored and divide the total by the number of answers
you checked. (This latter number will vary among testers, since questions 8 and 33 have
a large number of parts.) For example: if your points totaled 300 in 40 answers, your
Brain Preference Indicator (BPI) would be 7.5.
1 3 5 7 9
The questions in this self-test cover the most salient differences between dominant
rights and lefts. The questions have been posed to individuals who underwent an EEG
dominance test at the Biofeedback Institute of Denver. In its final form, the self-test has
been given to more than five hundred people in the Wonder seminars. The results of the
self-test and the lab test correlated.
Your BPI indicates a general thought style that results in a consistent pattern of behavior
in all areas of your life. Recognizing and understanding the components of this pattern
allow you to develop alternative approaches where needed. To help you interpret your
BPI, an analysis of each question or related questions follows.
Questions 1 and 5
The left-dominant person is more apt to solve a problem by following an organized
approach: defining the problem, researching and recording possible solutions,
eliminating impossible solutions, assigning priorities to the most viable, and then
implementing the plan. The extreme dominant right will wait to see what happens. The
other two answers describe moderate degrees. Moderate rights will get a feel for what
will work and need frequent support from others. The moderate left will check the record
and repeat strategies that were previously successful.
Questions 2 and 4
These are attitudinal questions. Extreme and moderate rights typically place their trust in
daydreaming and hunches, while lefts find such things as intuition entertaining at most.
Dominant lefts are usually “right-eyed” and first look at the left side of the paper.
Therefore they see the down-turned side of the mouth in the test picture.
Good organizational skills and habits are typical of the left-dominant person. New York
therapist Selwyn Mills has found that artists are right dominants and sloppy, whereas
craftsman are left dominants and neat. When counseling families about the phenomena
of two neat parents rearing a sloppy child, he suggests that the problem usually stems
from differences in brain dominance between the parents and the child rather than in
parenting style or the child’s stubbornness. Mills has found that right- and left-brain
dominants are attracted to each other; he conducts “Odd Couple Seminars” to help them
benefit from their differences.
Questions 7, 23, and 28
Right-brained dominants like change because they are visually and physically oriented.
They like the unusual, the discordant, the different. Because lefts like order and stability,
they are willing to adhere to rules and adapt themselves to structure. Rights “feel” the
approach that is proper for them, whereas left dominants analyze and compare society’s
By their nature, some sports invite more comparisons and evaluations than others and
are preferred by left dominants. Lefts like to “play” competitively, whether it’s in their
garden or on the golf course. Their flowers are entered in shows and their scores posted
on the club notice board. Rights thrive on freedom and dread comparison; when they
play tennis they simply enjoy hitting the ball, and their hikes have no destination in mind.
When lefts play tennis they prefer to start scoring faster. And a hike less than ten miles
is to them a failure. These same tendencies towards competitiveness and goal-setting
versus recreation for relaxation and having fun are also evident in work. The thrill of
doing is enough for the right-brain person, but the left wants a product to result from
crafts or gardening.
Questions 11 and 12
Left dominants have good verbal skills and usually have definite objectives in mind when
speaking. They are more apt to be structured and disciplined in seeking those goals.
Right dominants have vague feelings about wanting to express something – but often
are not quite clear what! Occasionally they have a full-blown picture of the outcome they
desire but grope for words to describe it.
Questions 13 and 14
Right-brain types easily recognize faces and associate visual information with them
(what the person wore, whom he danced with, whether she drank white or red wine).
The left-brained person, however, remembers best by recording the information or
talking about it. This is a disadvantage when meeting strangers at cocktail parties: Lefts
repeat the name, even spell it, but usually forget it quickly. Also, lefts need specific
directions – “Three blocks north, one south” – every step of the way. Rights do better
with visual and emotional cues: “It’s out by that swinging singles place with the green
and yellow neon sign.”
Left dominants are more precise in their use of language, while rights favor colorful,
emotional, sweeping terms. Rhyming and using metaphors require both.
Question 16 and 17
Because lefts’ verbal skills are more highly developed, they feel more at home talking
than do rights. In public speaking, right dominants are prone to wander, often failing to
reach a conclusion. They relate information to personal experiences – a practice that is
useful for remembering and understanding but bad for logic and clarity. Mixed dominants
tend to speak slowly because they are often simultaneously listening to an internal
debate between left and right thoughts. Rights are more reluctant to speak in public –
quite the opposite of left dominants, who know what they think and are glad to tell you!
Their confidence in their well-defined logical opinions often makes them persuasive
Questions 19 and 22
Lefts are very conscious of time, schedules, etc., whereas rights frequently lose contact
with thehere and now. It is not so much that they lack a sense of responsibility (although
it is often interpreted that way) as that they find themselves in another reality, where time
seems to go either slowly or quickly. Along the same line, lefts become impatient with
time-consuming aspects of group work (meetings, committees), while rights are oblivious
to the passage of time and enjoy the personal interaction.
Right dominants are impulsive and like impromptu occasions. Lefts tend to believe that if
an occasion is not planned and structured, it is not very worthwhile. This combination
also makes rights risk-takers – physically, financially, and emotionally. They like change
and don’t like to plan, so they are more easily involved in new ideas and projects. Lefts,
though, will seldom take risks until they have scrutinized most of the speculative factors
out of the situation (for example, analyzed an investment until they know they can’t lose
money). Since they are not as likely to observe the body language of others or credit
their own intuition, lefts often fail in spite of their reasoned analyses, which in turn
reinforces their suspicions of risk-taking and makes them more reluctant to take chances
Questions 21 and 32
Left dominants prepare for a project by organizing and structuring facts. If rights plan at
all, they usually do so by visualizing the desired outcome and getting a sense of the
current situation. For example, in assembling a child’s swing set or radio kit, a left would
lay out all the parts, count them to e sure the set is complete, gather the necessary tolls
and then follow the direction. A dominant right would typically glance at the diagram or
schematic and then begin with whatever tools were there, sensing how the parts fit
together. It can be maddening to the left type that this nonsystem often works better than
the reasoned approach, which frequently breaks down when the manufacturer’s
instructions are incorrect.
Since algebra is the mathematics of logic and deduction, using analysis and comparison,
it is usually easier for left dominants to understand than geometry. Geometry is more
spatial and graphic. While it too is logical, it is visually comprehensible and therefore
more likely to be preferred by right-brain dominants.
In studies of the four handwriting positions (normal right, normal left, hooked right and
hooked left), it was found that left-handers who hold the pencil in a normal handwriting
position and right-handers who use a hooked handwriting position both have primary
speech functions in their right hemispheres. This is a disadvantage for language skills,
since the left is most appropriate for logical, articulate speech.
The same research showed that persons who have the normal right-hand style have
primary language in the left hemisphere, as do left-handers who write with a hookedhand
position, an advantage to language skills.
Printing is more pictographical than script and is therefore preferred by many rights,
especially if the disliked the structure and precision of handwriting classes.
This exercise determined your “eyedness,” the tendency to use one eye more than the
other. The eye that was open when your pencil stayed still is your dominant eye.
Eyedness is also contralateral – that is, if you are right –eyed, you are apt to be a leftbrain
dominant. Similarly, individuals are handed and footed, and these preferences also
correlate with brain dominance. However, handedness is not a reliable means of testing
dominance because of society’s strictures against left-handedness – natural lefts often
take the “right” way out. Footedness can be determined by noting which foot you kick
with, jump on, or put forward first when engaging in a sport or other physical activity.
This test is one used by hypnotists to determine how easily a person can be hypnotized.
Persons who are most comfortable with the right thumb on top are more easily
hypnotized than those who prefer the left thumb on top. Since right dominants are more
suggestible than left dominants, the thumb test is also an indication of brain dominance.
In other words, if your right thumb was on top, in indicates right-brain dominance; vice
versa for the left thumb.
Right dominants prefer visuals, charts, diagrams and maps, lefts like details in
sequential order, analyses and written or verbal directions.
Both left and right dominants have mood changes, but rights feel them more strongly
and tend to moan and groan to be ecstatic about hem. Lefts discipline themselves to
suppress and control these swings in temperament and end up with many fewer highs or
When listening, left dominants focus on words and the message, while rights take a
more general approach that incorporates body signals, emotional tone, and other
Since left dominants analyze everything, they require supporting evidence before
accepting new ideas. Furthermore, they love the structure of research.