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.
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
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
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.
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.