Personalities vary, which might explain the many ways that people classify them.

One "pop-psychological" theory pegs personality to the hemispheres of the brain; apparently, a dominant left-brain makes people more logical, verbal and analytical while right-brainers are more intuitive, perceptual and artistic.

Although this assessment doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny, our understanding of brain systems still gives us insight about how people interact with their surroundings, according to renowned psychologist, Stephen Kosslyn, and G. Wayne Miller, a staff writer at The Providence Journal. In The Atlantic they explain that personality should be understood as interplay between top and bottom systems of the brain.

“The top brain formulates and executes plans…whereas the bottom brain classifies and interprets incoming information about the world,” the authors write. While a lot of correspondence occurs between these two brain systems, they said, the top brain ultimately uses information provided by the bottom brain to allow us to strategize.

“[P]eople vary in the degree that they tend to rely on each of the two brain systems for functions that are optimal (i.e. not dictated by the immediate situation),” they explain.

The degree that people rely on one, both or none of these brain systems is the basis of the Theory of Cognitive Modes. “[E]ach of us has a particular dominant cognitive mode, which affects how we respond to situations we encounter and how we relate to others.”

There are four dominant modes that emerge according to this theory: Mover, Perceiver, Stimulator, and Adaptor.

When people heavily use both their top and bottom brain systems they tend to be in the Mover Mode. These types of people make and act on plans and can adjust accordingly, making them “comfortable in positions that allow them to plan, act, and see the consequences of their actions.”

The Perceiver Mode occurs when just the bottom-brain system is heavily utilized, which pushes people to make deeper sense of what is perceived. “They interpret what they experience, put it in context, and try to understand the implications,” the authors clarify. “[They] do not often initiate detailed or complex plans.”

The Stimulator Mode describes a sate that employs the top-brain system more than the bottom. This mode tends to bring about a creative characteristic but, according to the authors, “their actions can be disruptive, and they may not adjust their behavior appropriately.”

Finally, a person who isn’t highly dependent on either brain system is considered to be in the Adaptor Mode. These people are “open to becoming absorbed by local events and immediate imperatives,” write Kosslyn and Miller. “They should tend to be action-oriented, and responsive to ongoing situations.”

While these categories describe a distinguishable cognitive mode, the theory postulates that one person can take on different modes depending on the context.

If you wish to find out which mode you tend to fall into as a person, the authors invite you to take a test.