How you respond to drama depends on if you are a holistic or analytical thinker

November 30, 2018

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of people watching the same clip from a dramatic film show that holistic thinkers all have similar brain responses to the scene, whereas analytical thinkers respond differently to each other.

Aalto University researchers showed volunteers the film My Sister's Keeper on a screen while the research subjects were lying down in an MRI scanner. The study compared the volunteers' brain activity, and concluded that holistic thinkers saw the film more similarly with each other than analytical thinkers. In addition, holistic thinkers processed the film's moral issues and factual connections within the film more similarly with each other than the analytical thinkers.

Before conducting the MRI scan, the 26 persons participating in the research were divided into holistic and analytical thinkers on the basis of a previously established evaluation survey. According to previous studies, analytical thinkers pay attention to objects and persons while looking at photographs, whereas holistic thinkers consider also the background and context.

'Holistic thinkers showed more similarities in extensive areas of the cerebral cortex than analytical thinkers. This suggests that holistic thinkers perceive a film more similarly with each other than analytical thinkers,' says Professor Iiro Jääskeläinen.

Significantly more similarity was observed in holistic thinkers in the parts of the brain generally related to moral processing - in the occipital, prefrontal and anterior parts of the temporal cortices. This suggests the holistic thinkers processed the moral questions of My Sister's Keeper in a similar way to one another. The anterior parts of the temporal lobes, however, process meanings of words.

Analytical thinkers showed similarities mainly in the sensory and auditory parts of the brain. They listen to the dialogue literally, whilst holistic thinkers perceive the meanings through the context and their own interpretation of the film's narrative.

'It was surprising to find so many large differences in so many cerebral areas between the groups.' Professor Jääskeläinen said. 'Analytical and holistic thinkers clearly see the world and events in very different ways. On the basis of the visual cortex, it can still be concluded that holistic thinkers follow the film scenes more similarly, whereas analytical thinkers are more individual and focus more on details.'

So far, research dealing with analytical and holistic views has focused on cultural differences between the east and west: more analytical thinking has been detected in western cultures, and more holistic thinking in eastern cultures. Now the study was carried out within one culture and, for the first time, as a film study.

'The research can help people understand the way other people observe the world. A holistic thinker may find it frustrating that an analytical thinker interprets things literally, sticks to details and does not see the big picture or context. An analytical thinker may, on the other hand, see the holistic thinker as a superstitious person, who believes in long causal links, such as the butterfly effect.'

Iiro Jääskeläinen's research group has also published an earlier brain study dealing with moral questions in October 2017. This article was the tenth most read article in 2017 in Nature science magazine's Scientific Reports series, which published over 24000 articles last year. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14323-x)
-end-
Enquiries:

Iiro Jääskeläinen
Aalto University
iiro.jaaskelainen@aalto.fi
tel. +358 50 560 9503

Aalto University

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.