©Arlene R. Taylor PhD

It’s usually easier to retain new information when it can be connected with something the brain already knows. Some find it helpful to imagine that each of the four divisions has its own built-in scanner to collect the type of data it pays attention to most easily and prefers to receive.

altYou may find it helpful to compare the contributions of each division to the objects often found in a four-room-house. Better yet, create your own internal picture of a four-room house and place objects in each room to help you recall key functional contributions made by each cerebral division. Notice that some rooms may contain similar types of equipment but the reason for using the equipment and/or the emphasis placed upon its functions may differ rather dramatically.

Remember that all parts of the brain are designed to work together at some level even though some portions manage or orchestrate specific functions in a lateralized manner.

Following are examples to get you started and stimulate your thinking.

altPrioritizing Division

altEnvisioning Division


Left Upstairs Room Contains

  • Mechanical tools
  • Research equipment (e.g., computer, test tubes, imaging equipment)
  • Charts and graphs, and reading materials about great leaders or about people who “won,” along with research papers and abstracts of articles
  • Framed awards
  • Trophies from winning
  • List of goals and objectives
  • Written 5-year plan
  • Abstract photographs of arrows
  • Collected art objects that are expected to appreciate in value
  • High-tech equipment for use in research, analyzing financials , and achieving goals (computer, iPhone, iPad)
  • Accessories for accomplishing goals (e.g., clock, time table, electronic calendar, e-mail)


Right Upstairs Room Contains

  • Plenty of flat surfaces on which tostack things (wants everything in sight as out of sight is out of mind)
  • Wide range of reading materials
  • Large sheets of paper with a variety of pencils and markers
  • Caricatures and cartoons
  • Bulletin board with pins
  • Furniture for meditation and dreaming
  • Sculpture, paintings, and unusual art
  • The latest in equipment to assist with innovative creativity and brainstorming (e.g., computer, camera, easel, iPhone, iPad)
  • Access to the internet to search for the latest in research and futuristic ideas
  • Binoculars and telescopes (e.g., panoramic view from the windows)

altMaintaining Division

altHarmonizing Division


Left Downstairs Room Contains

  • Filing cabinets with folders and labels
  • Equipment and or furniture for life-sustaining activities
  • Equipment for keeping track of information (e.g., computer, to-do list, address program, telephone listings)
  • A selection of how to books and manuals, including histories of how things were done in the past
  • A desk with helpful items each in its own place (e.g., pencils, paper clips, calculator, dictionary, calendar, clock)
  • Service awards
  • Equipment for organizing, tracking, and retrieving information (e.g., computer, iPad, iPhone)


Right Downstairs Room Contains

  • Photos of family and friends
  • Furniture for comfort and collegiality (e.g., cozy afghan, overstuffed chairs, sectional furniture, bean bags, or La-Z-Boy recliners)
  • Equipment for connection (e.g., writing materials, anniversary and birthday cards telephone, fax machine, computer for email)
  • Inspirational pictures and books of stories about people
  • Objects from nature (e.g., plants, pets, sea shells)
  • A variety of musical instruments and/or equipment for listening to and/or playing music
  • Equipment for staying connected with and communicating with others (e.g., computer, iPad, iPhone)


Differences between the upstairs rooms and the downstairs rooms may be even more pronounced than differences between the left and right rooms. You can enter any room and move from one room to another through connecting doorways and via stairs. You will tend to be more comfortable in one of these rooms over the other three, however, and prefer to spend more time there.

A given function, however, even though the primary impetus is housed in one region of the brain, may work most effectively when supported by a variety of other systems (or even not at all unless in combination with other functional systems). When testing modalities show areas of high metabolism, oxygen consumption, and blood flow, this doesn’t necessarily indicate complete lateralization to only one region, either. For example, the hands assist each other even when one hand takes the lead.

Understanding the purpose of each cerebral division, the way in which each interacts with the environment, and its functional specialization can help to reduce misunderstanding and enhance all your relationships—personal and professional.

Upstairs rooms

Abstract, geared for and energized by problem solving

When you pay careful, conscious attention to something, the frontal lobes are exercised. They also show increased activity during some types of meditation (prayer is a form of meditation).

altPrioritizing Division


altEnvisioning Division


Its functions help you to:

  • Set/achieve goal
  • Make objective and timely decisions
  • Set and pursue goals
  • Perform logical analysis (inductive/deductive reasoning)
  • Process small elements and details (e.g., one flower in the garden, one instrument in the orchestra, the weather at the ground level versus that in the outer atmosphere)

NOTE:  Tends to understand the word “no” even though it may not like its goals thwarted


Its functions help you to:

  • Envision and innovate
  • Anticipate and make changes
  • Imagine and innovates
  • Identify trends and patterns
  • Brainstorms options
  • Gets the gestalt of something
  • Process large elements/big picture/balcony view (e.g., the entire garden, the forest, the orchestra, the satellite-weather picture)

NOTE:  Tends to want a “yes” or a “yes if” response as it is interested in possibilities


Downstairs rooms

Concrete, here-and-now

altMaintaining Division


altHarmonizing Division


Its functions help you to:

  • Supply services needed for maintaining life
  • Follow routines dependably
  • Follow the rules
  • Maintain the status quo
  • Handle point-to-point links, sequential steps, and details
  • Accomplish precise hand and tongue movements (e.g., speech, handwriting)

NOTE:  Tends to understand “no” even though it may not like it


Its functions help you to:

  • Build trust
  • Gravitate toward harmony
  • Promote peace
  • Gets the gist of something
  • Read nonverbals
  • Recognize faces
  • B e sensitive to emotion in the self and in others (there may be more connectors to the emotional brain)

NOTE: Wants a “yes” or a “yes, if” response especially in relation to promoting harmony and collegiality