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Head, hands and heart

 

Explanations > Preferences > Head, hand and heart

Head | Hands | Heart | So what?

 

We are all influenced by a combination of preferences for thinking (head), doing (hands) and feeling (heart). 'Head, heart and hands' is easier to remember than 'cognitive, affective and behavioral' although it means the same thing.

Head

People who are ruled by their heads prefer to think before acting and are driven more by cognitive logic than by emotion. They prefer rational ideas and structure. Pure intellect is held as the sharpest skill and any problem is simply a case of insufficient data or understanding.

Head people learn by thinking. They typically theorize first about something and then try it out later, with a 'think-try-think' approach. When something happens that they did not expect, they are surprised and immediately start to work out what happened.

They use logical language and expect the world around them to be rational and behave in predictable ways.

The disdain of action

Thinkers may look down on doers as unintelligent or lacking the wisdom of forethought.
Putting ideas into action may be feared, as it can threaten the clean and rational idea, obstructing it with messy reality.

The fear of emotion

Cognitive people may have a low threshold of emotional overload and hence fear emotion. They may also have high control needs and fear the loss of control that emotion brings.
Paradoxically, they may get angry when faced with emotional approaches.

Hands

People who are driven by the hands prefer to do things and then worry later about whether it was the right thing to do. At least they have got into action and have found out practically what works and what does not work.

Those whose response to a problem is to leap into action typically believe that the only understanding worth having is gained through direct experience. Rather than think-try-think, they will try-think-try.

They use physical language and expect the world to behave sensibly.

Distain for the egg-heads

Doers tend to view thinkers as impractical time-wasters who do not understand the 'real world'. They may be seen as ivory-tower academics who just like to play with unrealistic theories. This may be seen in pejorative comments such as 'That's just a theory'.

Irritation with the softies

Action-oriented people may see those who pay attention to feelings as being soft-headed and weak-willed. Doing the job is considered the real issue and such sidelines as motivation is seen as a wasteful distraction.

Heart

Those of us who are rules by our hearts think first about our feelings and the feelings of other people. They learn by experiencing and seeing how they feel about their experiences. Before acting, they may internally rehearse a situation to predict how things will feel.

They use affective language and expect people to be considerate with one another.

Wariness of the Ice-people

People who focus first on feelings may well see Head people as cold and distant, viewing decisions that neglect emotions as dangerously inadequate.
They may also fear the cognitively-focused as being potentially Machiavellian or psychopathic, or at least emotionally inadequate and lacking in people skills.

Sympathy for the Blockheads

Action-oriented people may be seen as bulls in the china-shop of human feelings, treading on toes without realizing what they are doing. Such people are perhaps to be pitied or helped.
If the doer is seen as being deliberately inconsiderate and bullying then they may find themselves being ferociously attacked back by the vengeful feeler.

So what?

Watch and listen to people to find their preferences, then talk to those preferences. For Head people, talk about the ideas and the theories and the bigger picture. For Hands people, talk about what has been done and how things really work in practice. For Heart people talk about how people feel and the implications for society.

See also

Thinking vs. Feeling

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