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What is NBI™?

The NBI™ (Neethling Brain Instruments) is a revolutionary battery of instruments that strive to develop whole brain thinking in individuals. There are currently more than 20 different NBI™ profiles for a wide range of personal and business applications. Through the use of these instruments you will be able to develop strategies to sustain creativity and positive thinking in your personal as well as your professional life.  You will be able to identify the essence of your problems and apply creative solutions immediately.

The NBI™ was developed after extensive international research on left/right brain functions. Kobus Neethling, under the research guidance of Professor Paul Torrance at the University of Georgia developed the first NBI™ for adults. He then applied similar methodologies to develop a number of other, complementary whole brain instruments.


Physiologically, the brain consists of two halves, or hemispheres.  Each hemisphere controls the movement and vision on the opposite side of the body.

Early scientists found that the human brain consists of millions of small cells called neurons.  Each of these cells has a central nucleus from which octopus-like tentacles move outwards. Prof Pyotir Anokhin (a student of Pavlov) found that it is not the number of cells that determine intelligence and creativity, but the ability of the brain (the tentacles of the neurones) to make connections and so create new systems and patterns.

In 1981 Roger Sperry received the Nobel Prize in Physiology "for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres". Sperry, his student Michael Gazzinga and the neurosurgeon Joseph Bogden, performed the first split brain operation and can be credited with some of the most important insights we have of the physiology of the brain today.

After the first successful split brain operation on a patient suffering from severe epilepsy, similar operations were performed on numerous other patients. The operation entails the severing of the corpus callosum, which is the main connection between the left- and right hemispheres of the brain.

The corpus callosum consists of more than 200 million nerve fibres. Without this connection, each of the two hemispheres of the brain functions virtually independently, largely unaware of the other hemisphere. Sperry's operation made it possible, for the first time, to study the separate functions of the two hemispheres of the brain. A large number of experiments followed Sperry's success, and were mostly focused on the identification of the processes of thought associated with each of the hemispheres.

Sperry discovered that each hemisphere had its own specialist functions, confirming a hypothesis that had existed for a number of years. Sperry himself declared, "Each disconnected hemisphere appears to have a mind of its own." A very practical example of this came when one of Sperry's patients got involved in an argument with his wife. The patient reached out to grab her with his one hand, but to everyones surprise, the other hand immediately grabbed the aggressive hand back.

Although the average person is not confronted with this extreme kind of behavior (largely because our corpus calossum is still in place), it has become clear that most of us prefer the functions and processes of one of the two hemispheres to the other.

The first four-quadrant instrument was developed by Ned Herrman in 1981. Herrman's studies of Sperry's split brain studies and Paul McLean's Triune Brain Model; lead to a combination theory, based on a metaphorical model of four quadrants.

Building on the work of Herrman and Paul Torrance, Kobus Neethling determined that both the left and right brain processes (as originally categorized by Sperry) could be divided into two definitive categories, effectively dividing the brain into four quadrants.

Between 1988 and 1991, 2000 adults and 1500 pupils (with an equal distribution between 10 and 19 years of age) were included in research groups to test Neethling's model. A question with four possible responses was posed to each of the subjects, who then had to arrange their personal thinking preferences from the strongest to the lowest. The choices for each question were based on the thinking processes belonging to the four different quadrants. Neethling found that thinking preferences fell equally into four preference-clusters, corresponding to the four quadrants. Both the validity and reliability levels of each of the quadrants were found to be higher than 80.

The Developer

Dr Kobus Neethling: President SA Creativity Foundation

(1988 Recipient of "The Distinguished Leader Award" from the International Creative Problem Solving Institute and the Creative Education Foundation: The most prestigious creativity award in the world)

Abridged Curriculum Vitae: Kobus Neethling

Founder and Director of the South African Creativity Foundation and the Kobus Neethling Group.

6 University degrees (Cape Town, Potchefstroom and Georgia USA), including two Masters Degrees, a Doctorate and a Post Doctorate (Cum Laude).


  • Included in 9 International Who's Who Publications
  • Included in 5000 Personalities of the World
  • Member of the World Institute of Achievement (one of only a few selected members)
  • Included in 2000 Outstanding People of the 20th Century (Cambridge, England)
  • South Africa's Best Speaker (Toastmasters International)
  • Communicator of the Year (Toastmasters International)
  • Pretoria, Man of the Year Finalist (one of five finalists)

Organisations/Companies/Education Institutions

  • Motivational speeches, training programmes, development programmes to most of South Africa's leading companies and organisations and numerous international companies including Shell, BMW, Ogilvy & Mather, Mercedes Benz, Anglo American, Amplats, Anglo Gold, Old Mutual, Sanlam, ABSA, First National Bank, Standard Bank, Toyota, Multi Choice and Johnson & Johnson.
  • Played provincial rugby and mental coach of 3 Olympic athletes.
  • Whole brain adviser of UK County Cricket Team.

What people are saying:

"By far the most valuable training we have ever received." (Brazilian Business Institute: Campinas Sau Paulo)

"Kobus Neethling has demonstrated the most thorough scholarship in creativity that I have been able to witness in my years of teaching." (Dr. Mary Frasier: Past President of the American Society of Creative Thinking)

"In my 40 years of innovation work in most of the Fortune 100 companies I have never come across anyone who can put theory into practice like Kobus Neethling." (Dr. Dr Sid Parnes: Creator of the Creative Problem Solving Model and author of numerous international best sellers)