The graphic above illustrates that INSIGHT takes place primarily in the RIGHT-FRONT region of the cerebral cortex. The cortex is where conscious thought takes place. The RIGHT side associates images by feel, which gives personal significance to memories. So thinking on the right side is nonverbal, instinctive and subjective The FRONT part of the right brain takes perceptions from the back part—sights, sounds, and body sensations—and relates them based on how you feel about them.

For instance, you may notice a friend's posture and tone of voice, along with the fact that she's under a lot of stress. Without consciously trying to do so, you remember these three perceptions—the posture, the tone, and the stressful situation—as a single pattern. Later, experiencing any one of these images may trigger a meaningful association with the other two. This is how insight tells you when something important is going on.

INSIGHT is the mindframe of imagination. It enables you to:

  • Read nonverbal "body language"
  • Interpret someone's moods
  • Be aware of a person's individual traits
  • Have empathy for another person's situation
  • Understand the characteristics of a human relationship
  • Appreciate the merits of a work of art
  • Associate one image with another
  • Think of a new solution
  • Visualize a possible future scenario
  • Know whether an action is ethically correct
  • Sense the personal significance of something
  • Feel a hunch that something is true, even without evidence
  • Hear "alarm bells" of high risk or danger
  • Form and use beliefs to make decisions
  • Consider some things to be more important than others
  • Make a personal commitment

INSIGHT isn't some kind of psychic power. It's simply the ability to "connect the dots" all at once by seeing the pattern. You get a feel for how the world works based on observation. You see a woman smile, and you know she doesn't mean it. How? Instead of careful step-by-step reasoning to reach that conclusion, you instantly recognize the special cues you've learned to associate with insincerity. This intuition only seems mysterious because it happens so fast.

INSIGHT answers questions of personal significance: "Is this right?" "Is it fair?" and "How important is this?" It uses the patterns drawn from past experience to assess the meaning of what's happening right now. You form beliefs that "feel right." You hold them as long as they continue to work for you. For instance, if you've learned to recognize the signals, you may be able to tell when a person is lying.

INSIGHT is a key mindframe for artists, designers, composers, performers, authors, architects, theologians and counselors. The ability to associate is also crucial to putting together a story, a poem, a song or a drawing. It lets you enjoy, appreciate and interpret works of art. When you connect the physical details of your experience, you discover their meaning. You see patterns and sense significance. The wisdom you gain, such as your understanding of people, isn't easily explained by logic.

These examples show how the insightful part of your mind does its work: intuiting, valuing and imagining. How much does the INSIGHT mindframe influence your thinking?

Copyright © 2002, Performance Support Systems, Inc.