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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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Recent comments (121 comments)
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Comment: 
Name: BrainSketch Solutions
Country: India

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. http://www.brains ketch.in/
 
Name: Mcdume
Country: India

Interesting article.
 
Name: Sonia
Country: India

hey thats really a great information.
 
Name: Rage of Reason
Country: Netherlands

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.
 
Name: Dodie
Country: USA

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. :-)
 
Name: Princess
Country: USA

i think that the school system should try to improve their grading system and gear it towards both sides of the brain
 
Name: MC
Country: USA

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.
 
Name: Franklin
Country: Singapore

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!
 
Name: ariana
Country: India

huh???? what??? what am i supose to do? your suposed to write something?? o.k., hi!
 
Name: sarah
Country: Other

i did not read your article so whatever!!!
 
Name: Sue
Country: Australia

my daughter is a right-brained thinker... accompanied by a high iq. i liked your article and agree with other comments that both sides of the brain should be exercised to work together as a whole. its about time educational institutions included activities to stimulate both right and left equally
 
Name: Lisa
Country: USA

your passage was a real eye opener. it describes my teen son and me--rigt brain thinkers. the school system needs to stop conforming and bring both brain thinkers together in teaching. it's scary to know that your child might be set up for failure if they are not exercising both. it reminds me of catholic school when they were trying to make me right-handed instead of left. to the phd comment, this is not an excuse for the children but a door opener that can change the way we all think...
 
Name: KF
Country: USA

i find the whole right/left brain concept just fascinating. i have taken several r/l brain quiz's, and confirm time and time again, i am a definate right brain thinker. it is interesting to me how much influence it has over our thought patterns, and actions, and how we relate to other people.
 
Name: Sangi
Country: India

it is a good article. but in today's contest one should learn use both the sides of brain .i would like to know how we can practice this right from the begining in the children ?
 
Name: MICHEL
Country: Canada

it is soothing to at last feel understod.
 
Name: joe church
Country: Mauritius

i would like to apologise for my friends actions, she isvery immature and i support the whole left-brain stuff, yeah
 
Name: H
Country: USA

i think it's the right brain people who are smarter. right brain people are also left handed. the right brain controls our left side and the left brain controls our right side. some people who have photographic memory are right brain.
 
Name: Rinku Bhate
Country: India

in india education system is now more emphasizing on this.here, even for a subject like maths, in the primary section one has to graphically illustrate the subject
 
Name: Bill
Country: Other

as a left-brained person, i found the article informative, yet annyoying. where is the left-brain? conventionally, the "left" is determined from the prospective of the observer, which results in "left" situated on the hemisphere located over the region commenly known as the right eye. in other words, the left-right axis is determined by the observer, standing in front of the subject or patient. i believe this is this what is taught in medical school. yet in common parance, "left" hemisphere suggests the area directly above the left eye. it would be helpful, at least to me, if the author would indicate what she means by the "left" hemisphere. perhaps if i were "right-brained" (hence intuitive) i wouldn't need to ask. unfortunately, i'm not; hence this question.
 
Name: FRIEND
Country: Germany

thanks for the great article. i'm finally feeling understood as i read more about the right-brain thinker.
 
Name: maximilian
Country: Germany

i am not from germany. i think that public schools need to honor creative thought also. if not, honor your kid's creativity and give them crayons! whatever they do with those crayons, praise them. this is the only way to prevent add and such.
 
Name: Skokie Joe
Country: USA

i totally agree. i am a right brain thinker and my school tries to turn everyone into a left brainer, with an exception of a few teachers. this needs to be distributed to schools all over the usa
 
Name: Kim
Country: USA

linda dreger silverman's book, "upside-down brilliance, the visual spatial learner" is a great book for those interested in those who are right hemispheric dominant thinkers.
 
Name: Winnie
Country: USA

i want to know if i am left brain or right brain
 
Name: gbigvals@aol.com
Country: USA

i think left handed children or right sided brain thinkers as they are called need to be taught a different way when it comes to math. i was am a right sided brain thinker and i found learning math very difficult. if it can be addressed and taught correctly these children can show their true math talents and score better on standardized tests and sats.


 

 
 
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