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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Left or Right? It's a no-brainer!

Todays lesson post is Brain Function 101.  ‘Where’s the art in that?’ I hear you cry, well, friends of The Art in Science, the art is in the right side.  Okay, so that’s perhaps a little elementary, however, the brain is split into two halves, or hemispheres, and their functions really do differ...like, a lot!

Everybody has a ‘dominant side’ of the brain so before you get stuck into this post (as if you aren't already), know that, by the end, you will know which camp you can set up in; you’re a right- ,or a left-brainer and there’s no avoiding it.  

Okay, so maybe it’s not just so cut and dry.  The learning and thinking process is enhanced when both hemispheres work in a balanced way; kind of like getting two children to paint one picture, if one kid is too dominating, the other is bound to go off in a strop and will sit redundant, whimpering in the corner.  If, however, both participate equally, not only will the painting get finished, but it might even be worthy of sticking to the fridge with an RSPB fridge magnet.

Okay, child-friendly analogies aside, let’s clear up the characteristics of each side and try and work out which is you dominant side.  

Left Hemisphere
Right Hemisphere
Rational Side
Intuitive side
Analogic (sees correspondences and resemblances)
Problem solver (looks sequentially at the parts of things, not just the whole)
Problem solver (looks for patterns and configuration – uses hunches)
Draws on previous accumulated, organised information (present and past)
Draws on unbounded cluster of images and patterns (present and future)
Prefers talking and writing
Prefers drawing and tactile action
Prefers multiple choice
Prefers open-ended questions
Controls feelings
Free with their feelings and emotions
Prefers established hierarchy and authority
Prefers shared power and team responsibility
Responds to verbal instructions
Responds to images, symbols, diagrams or demonstrated instructions
Prefers math and science
Prefers ‘meaning’ (philosophy and religion)
Is practical and forms strategies
Imagination rules, presents possibilities

Whilst it’s not left=scientist, right=artist, it is clear to see that different people's minds work and respond to the world around them in quite different ways.  As far as I can see, I am skilled in all areas of both (I am ridiculously smart, AND I heart images), although if I were pushed to make a decision (stop pushing me), I would say I am probably a right-brainer but have my left brain well trained!

That is the key: whichever side of the brain you have discovered best describes your thinking and problem solving style, concentrate on the traits of the other.  Therefore, the more adept you will become at each of the 'non-dominant' traits and the better your brain will work as a unified whole (remember the kids painting?).  So my advice to you is to not invest in brain training software named after a fictional Japanese neurologist, but instead, focus on exactly what your brain needs and use its plasticity to your advantage.  You can teach an old dog new tricks (although the brain does get less neuroplastic (fact-spongey (I coined that phrase, remember the name (too many brackets? (it’s okay, it’s good practice for your left brain)))) as you age so make haste!)

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting! I would say most people would think i would be a right brainer, but i feel i am perhaps more left! I find the brain really fascinating, you have covered this area well!