March is Brain Awareness Month so the bookstore was overflowing with intriguing selections for me to take on vacation. I have a lifelong passion for brains. How do they work? What happens when they are broken? How do you get the most out of your brain? For instance, I am intrigued by the notion that many of the behavioral observations that have been made about the brain, behavior, cognition, and personality over the course of thousands of years can now be confirmed through imaging techniques such as the fMRI or the PET scan. Indeed, there is no better time than now to learn about the brain, appreciate individual differences, and to be wowed by it’s wonders.
The first book I read was The Edison Gene/ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thon Hartmann (By clicking the link, you can also read the American Psychiatric Institute’s review of the book). There is ongoing controversy as to whether ADHD is a real disorder or if it is the gift of creativity and adaptability in it’s highest form. Thomas Edison, left school after only 3 months of formal education and was labeled, “a problem child, stupid and difficult” by his teachers. He set his father’s barn on fire to see what would happen. He laid on goose eggs to see if he could hatch them. His mother had to move his laboratory into the basement for fear that he would blow up the house. Of course, without Thomas Edison, there would be no light bulbs, no phonographs, and no motion pictures among other critical inventions. The author makes the case that medicating or trying to “break” the highly creative types like Edison, our society would not move forward. As I read the book, I imagined the Thomas Edison types to be intuitive- thinking-perceiving types ( ENTP and the INTP) using the Myers-Briggs terminology. Another parallel terms would be right brain thinking (holistic, random, intuitive and a “could be” focus) versus left brain thinking (linear, sequential, concrete,and a “what is” focus).
I agree with the author’s assertion that people are wired differently and are therefore more adept at various tasks. Some individuals tend to remain open to changes in incoming data and adapt accordingly while others prefer structure, organization and consistency. Neither style of thinking is superior to the other.