They say that the "right brain" is the seat of creativity, imagination, artistic talent, deep lingering emotions and a certain type of 'mood memory', while the "left brain" gets more intimately involved in processing intellectual information, associative intelligence, computations and the body's principal maintenance and logic functions. Both hemispheres are separated by a cluster of cells forming a barrier or wall called the corpus callosum.
Yet with all the talk about "left brain" activities and abilities versus "right brain" activities and abilities, neurologists have been working very hard to debunk the whole notion of this clear division, and instead claim (through experimentation and contrarian conjecture) that the many different functions tend to be centered in either of the two hemispheres, and that while many of the activities generally considered to be right-brained or left-brained are just due to locations of certain functional bases, and that the brain acts as an integrated whole. In fact, the notion of neuroplasticity and neurological adaptation at the cellular level would have us all think (probably with our left brains -- a little joke there) that either hemisphere can, with the proper stimulation and training, assume the responsibilities normally associated with the functioning of the opposite side.
Here are the common general beliefs:
The Right BrainAccording to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain (which tends to control the left side of the body) include:
The Left BrainThe left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The left-brain (which tends to control the right side of the body) is often described as being better at:
Now: Invest a bit of time watching a video about a fellow who had his corpus calossum surgically removed (in order to stop frequent violent epileptic seizures). He operates as if he has two different brains -- each behaves very differently. It is curious to see how he can do things which most of us would be incapable of doing, and that he has great difficulty with doing other things which we ordinarily take for granted which must require an "internal conversation and interpretation" between both sides of the brain. In this video, one of the conclusions is that the left brain is more critical in terms of its ability to "make sense of inputs."
"Are you predominantly a left-brained or right-brained person?" is not a fair question, since certain skill centers are located in each hemisphere. But -- it is fair to to test yourself to determine whether you have a left-brained or a right-brained orientation to learning and performing tasks.
Click Here For A Quick Test On Whether You Have A Right-Brained Or Left-Brained Orientation. Neither is better than the other, but knowing which "style" you usually default to will give you an indication of which exercises would serve to strengthen the less dominant hemisphere.
The exercises to integrate both hemispheres in both left-brained oriented Braintenancers and right-brained Braintenancers are largely the same, will genuinely serve to increase your skill sets, ability to learn and your ability to broaden the scope of your work and your studies. They are available on a number of websites. Here's a useful list of those sites:
In sum, for my Readers of The Braintenance Blog, much of the stereotyping information about left-brained versus right-brained people (in the extreme) is a product of misunderstanding, bad science or just anecdotal rumor mongering. Our greatest cognitive and operating gains are gleaned from doing more exercises which require the utilization of certain faculties, whether located in the left hemisphere or the right.
I have known enormously spontaneously-creative people who could organize and focus brilliantly. I have also know some self-proclaimed "left-brainers" (estimated by some to be approximately 90% of the world's population!) who were filled with creativity, spontaneity and fluid thinking.
Generalizing, I would share with you that I believe the best performers in terms of problem-solving and new skills mastery are the ones who are not obsessed with stereotyping themselves, and who like the challenge of working outside of their comfort zones. When we stereotype ourselves, we limit ourselves by programming our subconscious minds against us.
As always, thank you for reading, retweeting and expanding your minds and awareness with me. Stay healthy, stay happy, and get smarter by the day.
Douglas E. Castle