Home > Skepticism > A couple of related thoughts

A couple of related thoughts

I’m tired of this right brain-left brain talk. You know, the left side of your brain is the logical, calculating part and the right is the creative, emotional part. I realize most people use it as more of a harmless analogy, but it’s not an accurate one:

Many a myth has grown up around the brain’s asymmetry. The left cerebral hemisphere is supposed to be the coldly logical, verbal and dominant half of the brain, while the right developed a reputation as the imaginative side, emotional, spatially aware but suppressed. Two personalities in one head, Yin and Yang, hero and villain.

To most neuroscientists, of course, these notions are seen as simplistic at best and nonsense at worst. So there was general satisfaction when, a couple of years ago, a simple brain scanner test appeared to reveal the true story about one of neurology’s greatest puzzles: exactly what is the difference between the two sides of the human brain? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you like your theories, the big picture revealed by that work is proving far less romantic than the logical-creative split, intriguingly complex and tough to prove.

That’s a New Scientist article, by the way, not something written by some crackpot, like a lot of Rense.com.

Moving on, I’ve recently encountered something known as Psycho-Geometrics. Apparently, you can discern someone’s personality by what shape appeals to them. The shapes are circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and squiggle (not really a shape, I guess). This is the order I put them in:

1. Circle
2. Square
3. Rectangle
4. Triangle
5. Squiggle

So, as a circle, what should I be?

• friendly
• nurturing
• persuasive
• empathic
• generous
• stabilizing
• reflective
• overpersonal
• melancholy
• manipulative
• gossipy
• self-blaming
• apolitical
• indecisive
• lazy

Some fit, others don’t (apolitical?). As one person said, it’s like a horoscope. You fit in some in each category. Perhaps you tend to one personality type represented by a shape. It all seems rather simple of course. The Enneagram is a much better one, but I really don’t care about these things at all. I am sort of interested in the idea that liking a shape is a reflection of one of these simplified personality types. I can find nothing the in databases I have access to through MSU (they haven’t cut me off yet). This is as close as I can get:

Another more recent study I pursued for this report is PsychoGeometrics, the Science of Understanding People, and the Art of Communicating With Them. The derivation of Psycho Geometrics came from Dr. Carl Jung. The study deals with the human personality (the thinkers, feelers, sensors, intuitors of previous studies), and the brain function which affects the way that personality type might communicate. This is a very interesting approach to apply to the art of effective communicating. Susan Dellinger, Ph.D. introduced the Psycho Geometrics system and she is a very dynamic trainer on the system. Her study focuses on evaluating personality types by putting them into shapes. This study incorporates a lot of the information many people already know about which side of the brain is dominant in different people and how that brain dominance affects their personalities.

Dr. Jung stressed that left hemisphere people are linear thinkers who like order. Right hemisphere people are non-linear, abstract thinkers who can live in a messy world. Susan Dellinger’s approach puts the differences in people into five immediately recognizable shapes for easy discussion and identification. Left hemisphere people are the squares, triangles, and rectangles. (Note all the straight lines in those shapes.) Right hemisphere people are the circles and squiggles.

I’m tempted to dismiss the whole thing, as it seems to be based on the idea of right and left brainedness that has been mostly discredited. Still, it looks I can’t quite do that.

Aside from one paper calling it dubious and two complimentary articles from Door and Hardware and some magazine about veterinary medicine from the Netherlands, I can find essentially no scientific information on this.

Overall, though, it seems pretty simplistic. Why would shape preference indicate personality? Four of the five shaps seem orderly and logical (if you can call a shape that) to me. It seemed obvious right away that the squiggle was supposed to symbolize the disorganized, creative personalities. In any case, I wish there were some studies I could look at. Given that this fits right in with the cesspool of psuedoscience that is the self help industry, I doubt there are any.

Categories: Skepticism
  1. maria christina
    February 8, 2008 at 2:47 am

    im just wondering what kind of personality does a square have? i want to know the negative and positive or the strenght and weeknesses

  2. February 8, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Did you not read the post?

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