The Brain and How to Use It

I’m up in Stirling, which is a city about 45 minutess northwest of Edinburgh.  I’m here over the next couple of days doing a piece of work for a client.

I like the Scottish.  They are a friendly and accomodating people and make great hosts.  My taxi driver, Steve, makes me feel right at home from the moment he collects me from arrivals until he drops me off at the Stirling Highland Hotel.  He gives me a few tips about the city and tells me where I can find the local watering holes, from the traditional to the trendy. 

On the flight up, I read the first instalment of, Your Brain and How to Use It, a four part series in the Sunday Times Magazine.  I learnt a few things about how MY brain works. 

First, I took the Mensa test that was included on the DVD that came with the article.  It turns out, I have a medium strength brain, which I guess is to say my brain power is just average, and I’m not likely to get an invitation to join Mensa any time soon.

Some myths about the brain that I’d always thought were true were dispelled.  That we use only 10% of brain turns out is NOT true.  Apparently we use most of our brain most of the time.

Another myth shattered – men are more intelligent than women.  It turns out that, yes, men on average have larger brains than women, but like penises, size apparently doesn’t matter, or at least doesn’t bare any relationship to intelligence. 

Now this myth buster I like – contrary to popular belief, we can grow new brain cells.  Now I can drink without fear of permanently destroying my meagre brain.

Moving on, I learnt more about my personality.  There are five traits identified by the psychologist Gordon Allport that describes the human personality.  The traits are dimensional which means that an individual’s characteristics can be plotted against a numerical scale to reveal their overall personality type.

I took the Big-Five personality included with the article.  This is how I scored:

  • Neuroticism: low, which means I am calm, laidback and not prone to mood swings.
  • Opennes: high, which means I am creative, moved by art, sensitive and tolerant.
  • Agreeableness: high, which means I am trusting, altruistic, co-operative and modest.
  • Conscientiousness: low, which means I am untidy, disorganised, cut corners and slapdashed.

That’s my personality summed up.  You can read up more on the Big-Five personality test here. You can take a version of the test yourself here.

Now here’s a shocker.  I  look manly, and I like to think I act manly, but the results of my gender-brain test say I have a female brain! Is that why I like shoes and handbags?  Why not take the BBC’s SexID test to what gender your brain is.

Well that’s all for the first instalment.  I’ll let you know how I get on with the rest.


1 Comment

  1. Tisha January 8, 2007 at 9:38 am


    Such a delight to read this post!

    I learned a great deal on the topic and you revealed quite a bit about yourself as well, thanks 😉

    I will give the tests a go…


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