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Raising Children Topics..

You are here : home > Raising Children > Related Articles for Raising Children > Left Brain, Right Brain

Left Brain, Right Brain

I'm creative and he's analytical

Have you ever thought why some people can paint beautifully, but have difficulty adding two and two? Or why some people can understand the intricacies of calculus effortlessly, but struggle to write a one-page essay? It's all about which side of your brain dominates -  the left or the right. 

The human brain is bifurcated down the middle into two parts, popularly known as the left brain and right brain respectively. We know that different parts of the brain control different bodily and mental functions. Over the years, a theory that has gained in popularity is that the right brain and the left brain are responsible for different modes of thought and that the way in which a person thinks will depend on which side of his brain predominates. 

Left brain vs. right brain

People who rely more heavily on the right half of their brain tend to be more imaginative and intuitive. They see things as a whole and are interested in patterns, shapes and sizes. The right brain is associated with artistic ability like singing, painting, writing poetry, etc. Left-brain dominated people may find their thought processes vague and difficult to follow, for they are quite opposite in the way they think. Left-brain dominated people tend to be more logical and analytical in their thinking and usually excel at mathematics and word skills. But this does not mean that a person who is left or right brain dominated does not use the other part of his brain. For most people, the two parts of the brain work in tandem to enable them to function as well-rounded personalities. 

The right brain absorbs new information in chunks, but it is the job of the left brain to sift and sort it in an organized fashion. However, there is no clear-cut definition of the functions of the two parts of the brain. Each can do the other's work, just not as efficiently. Most people have a tendency to lean towards using the left or right brain while thinking or learning. For instance, right brain dominated people are often poor spellers as they tend to rely more on their intuition rather than actually studying the order in which the letters in a word occur. 

Academics and thinking

At the time of their birth, babies are not predisposed to be either left brain or right brain thinkers. Unfortunately, our education system with its emphasis on rote learning and exam syllabi is more tuned to encouraging left brain activity, often to the detriment of right brain creativity. School examinations are designed to test left brain activity and encourage conformity in thought. There is a possibility that if right brain skills are not exercised, they may not develop sufficiently.

When it comes to academics, left brain dominated children do well at school, as they are more likely to respond to formal learning. They exhibit greater responsibility, are quite content to study by themselves and have greater concentration. Right brain dominated children, on the other hand, are less likely to perform well academically. They prefer to study with company, cannot sit still for very long and are more responsive in informal settings.

Convergent and divergent thinking

Right brain and left brain dominated people can also be categorized as divergent and convergent thinkers respectively. A convergent thinker has a systematic approach and plays by the rules. He analyzes everything and reaches a logical conclusion. Thus, scientific and mathematical activities are more up his street. Such people do very well on straightforward question and answer type tests.

Divergent thinkers, on the other hand, are creative and tend to throw the rules out of the window. They are artistic and always looking for ways to express themselves. They do much better in exams that require essay-type answers. 

There is no such thing that it is better to be left brain dominated or right brain dominated. You need both kinds of thinking to function well. While a person may have a dominant style of thinking, it would be interesting to see how the other half works and even learn to develop the skills that you lack.

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Lack of awareness of our actual strengths and weaknesses leads us to spend our lives in mediocrity. This goes on generation by generation. Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT) is a tool to identify our potentials. It works as GPS System in our life. It helps us to know our position and map our direction in life.
Mcdume.8 years ago
Interesting article.
Sonia.8 years ago
hey thats really a great information.
Rage of Reason.8 years ago
i can really relate to what is clearly but briefly described in this article. i recognize it in myself and in my oldest daughter's approach toward many matters in life. both of us tend to obey the impulses of our right brain more than most people are inclined to do.
Little Miss Muffet.8 years ago
could you direct me to more articles on how right vs left thinking affects preschooler development.
JK.8 years ago
i am a high school student hoping to go into music. i agree entire with the message given in this short passage. the school system is geared towards conformity.
Dodie.8 years ago
for more info read betty edwards' "drawing on the right side of the brain." also try clasping your hands together, folding over the fingers (as if in prayer.) if the left thumbis over the right, you have right brained tendancies, and if the right thumb is over the left, you have left brained tendencies. :-)
MC.8 years ago
don't give children an excuse that because they are right-brain dominant that they don't have to be good in math. i am a right-brained person and i excelled in math by studying hard and determined to be a science major in high school. i am a phd now and teach statistics.
Princess.8 years ago
i think that the school system should try to improve their grading system and gear it towards both sides of the brain
Franklin.8 years ago
i think that it is important to develop practical means to train both of the hemispheres sufficiently so that the average intelligence and creativity of mankind can be raised to a higher level, as such there will be more outstanding scientists,politicians,musicians etc. after all, the modern civilization is intimately related to creative and rational thinking, as well as the courage to experiment!
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