Have you ever been told that you are more “left brained” or more “right brained”? Do you wonder what that means and if there is even any difference? You’d be surprised! Read on to find out how there are actually two distinct halves of the brain and how they affect you.
The Two Halves of the Brain
Every person has a left brain and a right brain. The two different sides of the brain control two different types of thinking. The left brain is the “logical” side while the right brain is the “creative” side. Research shows that most people prefer one style of thinking over another. That is, some people are naturally more logical or left-brained, while others are more creative, making them right-brained.
In the brain, there is a fold that goes from the front to the back, essentially dividing it into two separate parts. The two parts of the brain area connected by a thick bundle of nerves at the base of the brain and this is called the “corpus collosum”. This bundle of nerves wires the left side of the body to the right side of the brain and vice versa. This crossover applies to all areas of the body – even the eyes, which process a majority of their sensory data on opposite sides of the brain.
It is interesting to note that research has shown that most children rank as being highly creative (right brained) before entering school. By the time children are aged 7, only ten percent of these children ranked as highly creative. This is because the education systems places value on left brained skills such as mathematics, logic, and language. By the time adulthood is reached, only two percent of the population ranks as being highly creative.
The left side of the brain processes information in a linear manner, that is, it processes from a part to a whole. It takes pieces of information, lines them up, and then arranges them into a logical order before forming conclusions. The left brain also processes in sequence. Tasks are completed in order and learning things in sequence comes easily. The left brain is easily able to process symbols, such as letters, words, and mathematical notations. Therefore left brained people are easily able to cope with linguistic and mathematical tasks. Left brained people are easily able to express themselves in words.
The right brain, in contrast, looks at the whole first, before breaking things down into parts. The right brain is also random. A right brained person is more likely to flit from one task to another – getting the same amount of work done as a left brained person but without paying as much attention to priorities. The right brain likes things to be concrete. That is, it likes to be able to see, touch or feel the real object. It likes context. People that are right brained know what they mean but often have trouble expressing it verbally.
The Functions of the Left Brain
The left side of the brain can be thought of as the “logical” side. The functions of this side of the brain include:
- uses logic
- detail oriented
- facts rule
- words and language
- present and past
- math and science
- can comprehend
- knows object name
- reality based
- forms strategies
The left brain is the logical, sequential, and rational side of the brain. It is analytical, objective, and looks at the parts of a thing first, before assembling it into a whole.
The Functions of the Right Brain
The right side of the brain can be thought of as the “creative” side. The functions of this side of the brain include:
- uses feeling
- “big picture” oriented
- imagination rules
- symbols and images
- present and future
- philosophy and religion
- can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
- spatial perception
- knows object function
- fantasy based
- presents possibilities
- risk taking
The right brain is thought of primarily as being the random, intuitive side of the brain that tends to look at the whole first. It is holistic, subjective, and synthesising.