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The Christmas Tree Brain

What is a “Christmas Tree Brain?”  Someone who likes to shop? Decorate the house? Take a limo ride to view the holiday lights? Actually, the Christmas Tree Brain is an asynchronous macro-state measured by an electroencephalogram  (EEG).  It is characterized by various brain regions firing at different amplitudes and frequencies.   Colors of blue, green, yellow and red, illuminate the EEG screen, with the overall look resembling a Christmas tree. What’s going on?

From a cognitive standpoint, this pattern is called trans-contextual thinking.  According to UCLA professor Dr. Dario Nardi in his newly released book, , “Regardless what kind of stimulus enters the brain – be it sight, sound, smell sensation- the brain responds by rapidly processing that stimulus in multiple regions, including regions seemingly not applicable to the stimulus.”  Responses to the stimuli tend to be fast, creative, and sometimes seemingly contradictory except to the originator of these thoughts!

Indeed, these are the brain patterns of the ultimate brain stormers in the psychological type world, the ENTP and the ENFP and to a lesser extent, INTP and the INFP.  Another name for these types are the extraverted intuitives. In the case of the ENFP and the ENTP, this extraverted  intuition is a dominant psychological function, occupying half of all of the brain energy these types use every day.

Doesn’t this sound wonderful?  It IS except that with this highly energized state goes creative burn-out.  Another hallmark characteristic of the ENFP/ENTP type is the tendency to work in fits and starts, waiting for the moment of inspiration to hit and set off this powerful pattern all over again.  This pattern of thinking long described in extraverted intuitive personality types scan now be supported by EEG findings.

Recently I was at a brain conference on managing bad habits and addictions. The presenter remarked that, “Nowadays, there has to be some sort of neural correlates as measured by fMRI or other type of scanning or imaging device to lend support to psychological and cognitive theories.”  The Neuroscience of Personality and the work of Dario Nardi is an important first step toward providing supporting evidence via EEG scans.  The Christmas Tree Brain is only one of  the many EEG patterns he has identified that correlate with various psychological types profiles.

On 11-11-11, I will be presenting some of Dario Nardi’s  findings along with a framework describing the challenges that psychologists have today to provide neuroscientific data to support their behavioral theories. In addition, I will offer some insight as to how this can be used in coaching and in uncovering personal potential.

If you would like more details about this upcoming presentation, please contact me at



This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. […] Heavy on logical thinking and light on emotional expression, INTPs often get stuck in idea feedback loops: Trying to see the forest for the trees, they end up intensively analyzing each fir and cedar that crosses their path. And their focus on process over product means they aren’t too concerned with leaving the forest, anyway. A brilliant but quiet soul, the INTP is vulnerable to burnout, like so many overworked lights on a Christmas tree. […]

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