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  Use Both!  

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Use Both Sides of the Brain.

It appears that most people will never reach their maximum potential because of compromises that have been made between these two governing bodies. Sometimes skills which the right brain can perform better are routinely handled, with less skill, by the left brain. Ideally, both brains work together in people with optimum mental ability. This coordinating ability may be the key to superior intellectual abilities. In most people, however, the left brain takes control, choosing logic, reasoning and details over imagination, holistic thinking and artistic talent.

Methods have been devised to "shut off" the left brain, allowing the right side to have its say. Creative writing courses often use this method to combat "writer's block." The logical left side is easily bored by lack of input and tends to "doze off" during such activities as meditation (repeating a mantra or word over and over) or in sensory deprivation environments. The right brain is then able to "sneak" into our consciousness, filling our minds with emotional and visual vignettes and freely associated images. All too quickly, though, the left brain will assert itself and dispense with these irrational images with its Spock-like logical dominance and the right brain will have to be content to find expression in dreams.

We can thank Nobel Prize Winner (1981) Roger Sperry for this next contribution. Sperry conducted what are sometimes called the "split-brain" experiments. Here's how it went: A patient suffering from uncontrolled seizures had an area of his brain removed by surgery in an attempt to control his illness. This area just happened to be the corpus collosum, which was suspected of having developed lesions (short circuits).

Following his surgery, Sperry's patient seemed completely normal -- almost. A series of tests were conducted where each "half" of the patient was isolated from the other. Different visual and tactile information could then be presented to the patient's left or right side, without the other side knowing. The results were astounding.

With their communications link severed, each side of the patient's brain was functioning independently. Although this did not prevent his ability to walk, talk and eat, some unexpected findings were encountered in some of the higher brain functions when each side was examined independently of the other.

The right hand and eye could name an object, such as a pencil, but the patient could not explain what it was used for. When shown to the left hand and eye, the patient could explain and demonstrate its use, but could not name it. Further studies showed that various functions of thought are physically separated and localized to a specific area on either the left or right side of the human brain. This functional map is consistent for an estimated 70 to 95 percent of us.

The main theme to emerge... is that there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres respectively and that our education system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere.

-Roger Sperry (1973)

Upon completing the map, it was becoming clear to researchers that each side of the brain had a characteristic way that it both interpreted the world and reacted to it. The chart above will help illustrate the characteristics which are known to reside on each side of our brains.

All people have two brains which operate somewhat independently of one another. The left brain, in general, is more verbal than the right brain. It is also better trained in the educational process. For most people, the left brain is far stronger than the right brain. The right brain is, however, necessary for creativity and originality, thus it is hard to do much writing without it.

The left and right brain not only do separate things, they can interfere with each other if you try to do incompatible things all at once. The sub-conscious mind can do many things at once, but the conscious mind can use only one side of the brain at a time. The switch-over can be very fast, but the two sides are not used at once. Since the left brain is very strong, it is important to learn to quiet it so that the right brain can function. As you learn the parts of the writing process, the ones that are marked right-brained are parts you will have to learn to protect. One of the purposes of writing in your journal is to increase your skill at protecting right-brained functions. Here are some separate responsibilities of the two sides which relate directly to writing.

The Left Brain

  1. Is responsible for sequences. The left brain keeps straight the thousands (literally) of rules that govern meaningful word order in sentences. Much of our experience of life is instantaneous, and yet, when we seek to tell others about our experiences we must set them out in logical sequences. Think of a wreck, for example. It all happens in a second or two of time from your realization that you are about to be in a car crash until it is over. Nevertheless, when you tell the insurance claims adjustor what happened, you must tell him things in a sensible order which he can understand. The left brain makes that process possible.
  2. Is responsible for the memory of details and our access to those details. The relationship of this ability to writing is almost self-evident. How can you write without knowing what you're talking about?
  3. Is responsible for conformity. Writing as communication depends on some arbitrary rules which we all "agree" to follow in order to be understood. I am talking about things like how we form verb tenses, where commas and periods and capitals go, how quotations are used, and so forth. The "rules" of writing are the concern of the left brain.

The parts of the writing process which make most use of the left brain are: revising and editing, especially editing.

The Right Brain

  1. Is responsible for perceiving and creating wholes and patterns. In our thought processes, seeing relationships is what we mean by "making sense" or "seeing meaning" in experience. The right brain is necessary in the writing process because it takes the randomness out of random experience. It makes organization possible.
  2. Is responsible for originality. We all have the same world to live in, but the differences in our experiences make for different contents in out minds. What makes your communications different from those of other people is that you put together universal experience in a unique way. The right brain does that for you.
  3. Is responsible for your creativity because creativity is an expression of your unique approach to the world.

There is no real reason to write anything except, perhaps, examinations if you do not express originality and creativity. In the dullest writing in the world -- say, engineering field reports -- the reason you must write is that you have important and unique knowledge of the subject, and other people need to know what you know. You do not need to be cute or odd to be original and creative. You must, however, think for yourself, and that is the contribution of the right brain.

Women have a very different way of looking at problems. Research suggests that women see more nuances and have a more holistic approach than men, who are more linear thinkers. Without both kinds of thinking, you lose the breadth of perspective that can approach a problem from multiple directions, resulting in creative solutions otherwise unavailable.

"Vision without action is a daydream.
  Action without vision is a nightmare." – Japanese proverb

To inspire others to accomplishment | See Also

Limited Attention Span

The limited attention span means that only part of your memory surface can be activated at any one time. "This limited attention span is extremely important for it means that the activated area will be a single coherent area and that single coherent area will be found in the most easily activated part of the memory surface. The most easily activated area or pattern is the most familiar one, the one which has been encountered most often, the one which has left most trace on the memory surface. And because a familiar pattern tends to be used it becomes ever more familiar. In this way the mind builds up that stock of present patterns which are the basis of code communication."1

Your Brain Can Process Only Positive Information

The language of brain are pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells, i.e. inputs from your senses. Your brain cannot work with negative information, i.e. inputs you haven't experienced. It can work only with positive information, i.e. "information from the experiences of your five senses, which it then manipulates in the emotional blender we call the imagination."4

←<<Counter Clockwise / Clockwise>>→
...the image is a constant 34-frame loop representing 1 full revolution
... Just in case you are thinking it's trickery.

Comments from the internet

Right Brain vs Left Brain

THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ...
Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it. Depending on what we are thinking about (something logical or something artisic or emotional), will depend on which way she turns. By changing our thoughts to something else she might change directions.

Right Versus Left Brain: What Does the Spinning Dancer Teach Us?
By Steven D. Levitt

Last week I linked to an intriguing visual of a spinning dancer. It is intriguing because some people see her spinning clockwise, whereas others see her spinning counter-clockwise. Moreover, some people are able to make the direction of her spin switch. The article asserts that the direction she spins is an indicator of whether your thinking is dominated by the right side of your brain (counter-clockwise) or the left side of your brain (clockwise).

... These kinds of optical illusions are always fun. What they reveal is how our brain processes visual information in order to create a visual model of the world. The visual system evolved to make certain assumptions that are almost always right (like, if something is smaller is it likely farther away). But these assumptions can be exploited to created a false visual construction, or an optical illusion.

The spinning girl is a form of the more general spinning silhouette illusion. The image is not objectively "spinning" in one direction or the other. It is a two-dimensional image that is simply shifting back and forth. But our brains do not interpret two-dimensional representations of the world but the actual three-dimensional world. So our visual processing assumes we are looking at a 3-D image and is uses clues to interpret it as such. Or, without adequate clues it may just arbitrarily decide a best fit - spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. And once this fit is chosen, the illusion is complete - we see a 3-D spinning image. ...

... You can tell at leas neuro-muscular domination by asking various questions and seeing which way a person's eyes move. For Math and memory problems you will usually look up and to the right (left brain and it crosses to the right side of your body). If someone is asked a question about something that happened, and they start looking to their left -- it can mean that they are making it up, since they are now employing creativity to come up with a story.

An interesting side detail of this "left-right" thinking; Women have on average 15% more Corpus Collosum (the cross-linking of the hemispheres) than men. This does NOT mean "smarts" but rather, a better ability for multi-tasking. Men tend to focus more narrowly -- which helps in bringing a lot of brain power on one task at a time. So women have the natural advantage of being able to talk on the phone and deal with another task and pass more english tests, while guys will tend to do better at inventing better uses for paper clips, while ignoring of course, that chatter on the phone and saying; "yes dear."

"Some occupations usually held by a left-brained person include a lab scientist, banker, judge, lawyer, mathematician, librarian, and skating judge."

Two Aspects to the Brain

  1. Storing information in the memory

  2. Processing information, applying knowledge for decision-making and problem-solving in a variety of unforeseen situations

Right Brain / Left Brain Functions6

Left Brain works with:

Right Brain works with:





Parts and specifics

Wholes and relationships among the parts

Analysis (breaking apart)

Synthesis (putting together)

Sequential thinking

Simultaneous and holistic thinking

Is time-bound, has a sense of time and goals and your position in relation to those goals

Is time free, might lose a sense of time altogether

Governs the right side of your body

Governs the left side of your body

Three Metafunctions of the Mind3

  1. Analyzing: separating a whole into its constituent parts.  Analytical thinking is closely related to logical step-by-step reasoning. Logic has two main parts: deduction (inferring from the general to the particular; the process of deducing a conclusion from what is known or assumed) and induction (inferring or verifying a general law of principle from the observation of particular instances).

  2. Synthesizing and Imagining: putting or placing things together to make a whole. You can do it physically or mentally (imagining).

  3. Valuing: judging people, establishing success criteria, evaluating, appraising performance and so on. In all valuing there is an objective element and a subjective one. What you actually value depends very largely upon your environment and culture.

Our personality can be thought of as a result of the degree to which these left and right brains interact, or, in some cases, do not interact. It is a simplification to identify "left brain" types who are very analytical and orderly. We likewise certainly know of the artistic, unpredictability and creativity of "right brain" types. But each of us draws upon specific sides of our brain for a variety of daily functions, depending on such things as our education and life experiences. The choices of which brain is in control of which situations is what makes our personalities and determines our character.

Experiments show that most children rank highly creative (right brain) before entering school. Because our educational systems place a higher value on left brain skills such as mathematics, logic and language than it does on drawing or using our imagination, only ten percent of these same children will rank highly creative by age 7. By the time we are adults, high creativity remains in only 2 percent of the population.

    The Brain and Intelligence

There is a known correlation between brain size and intellectual ability. ... its not only how big the brain is as much as how it is configured. This is further evidenced by the fact that we have known genius brains measuring as small as 1000 cc. and as large as 2000 cc.

The brain requires a highly stable temperature and a supply of high protein and energy. One quarter of our caloric intake is used for brain energy consumption.

    The War of the Brains

The two brains not only see the world in vastly different ways but, in our current society, the left side just "doesn't get" what the right side is all about. It tends to dismiss anything significant coming into consciousness from its "flaky" cranial twin. Sometimes two sides can actually disagree, resulting in our perception of emotional turmoil from the expressive protests of right brain.

Our conscious mind can only focus on data from one brain at a time. We can switch from one side to the other very quickly (with our corpus collosum intact) but that's not always the most efficient way to act and eventually ultimate authority to enter consciousness is delegated to one brain or the other. In our modern world, this battle is almost always won by the left brain.

It appears that most people will never reach their maximum potential because of compromises that have been made between these two governing bodies. Sometimes skills which the right brain can perform better are routinely handled, with less skill, by the left brain. Ideally, both brains work together in people with optimum mental ability. This coordinating ability may be the key to superior intellectual abilities. In most people, however, the left brain takes control, choosing logic, reasoning and details over imagination, holistic thinking and artistic talent.

Methods have been devised to "shut off" the left brain, allowing the right side to have its say. Creative writing courses often use this method to combat "writer's block." The logical left side is easily bored by lack of input and tends to "doze off" during such activities as meditation (repeating a mantra or word over and over) or in sensory deprivation environments. The right brain is then able to "sneak" into our consciousness, filling our minds with emotional and visual vignettes and freely associated images. All too quickly, though, the left brain will assert itself and dispense with these irrational images with its Spock-like logical dominance and the right brain will have to be content to find expression in dreams.

"As we apply brain dominance theory to the three essential roles of organizations, we see that the manager's role primarily would be left brain and the leader's role right brain. The producer's role would depend upon the nature of the work. If it's verbal, logical, analytical work, that would be essentially left brain; if it's more intuitive, emotional, or creative work, it would be right brain. People who are excellent managers but poor leaders may be extremely well organized and run a tight ship with superior systems and procedures and detailed job descriptions. But unless they are internally motivated, little gets done because there is no feeling, no heart; everything is too mechanical, too formal, too tight, too protective. A looser organization may work much better even though it may appear to an outsider observer to be disorganized and confused. Truly significant accomplishments may result simply because people share a common vision, purpose, or sense of mission."5

In general the left and right hemispheres of your brain process information in different ways. We tend to process information using our dominant side. However, the learning and thinking process is enhanced when both sides of the brain participate in a balanced manner. This means strengthening your less dominate hemisphere of the brain. Listed below are information processing styles that are characteristically used by your right or left brain hemisphere. Read the information below to help you understand how your brain processes information. Pay attention to your less dominant style so that you can learn how to improve it.

    Linear Vs. Holistic Processing

The left side of the brain processes information in a linear manner. It processes from part to whole. It takes pieces, lines them up, and arranges them in a logical order; then it draws conclusions.The right brain however, processes from whole to parts, holistically. It starts with the answer. It sees the big picture first, not the details. If you are right-brained, you may have difficulty following a lecture unless you are given the big picture first. That is why it is absolutely necessary for a right-brained person to read an assigned chapter or background information before a lecture or to survey a chapter before reading. If an instructor doesn't consistently give an overview before he or she begins a lecture, you may need to ask at the end of class what the next lecture will be and how you can prepare for it. If you are predominantly right-brained, you may also have trouble outlining (You've probably written many papers first and outlined them latter because an outline was required). You're the student who needs to know why you are doing something. Left-brained students would do well to exercise their right-brain in such a manner.

    Sequential Vs. Random Processing

In addition to thinking in a linear manner, the left brain processes in sequence. The left brained person is a list maker. If you are left brained, you would enjoy making master schedules and and daily planning. You complete tasks in order and take pleasure in checking them off when they are accomplished. Likewise, learning things in sequence is relatively easy for you. For example, spelling involves sequencing - if you are left-brained, you are probability a good speller. The left brain is also at work in the linear and sequential processing of math and in following directions.

By, contrast, the approach of the right-brained student is random. If you are right-brained, you may flit from one tack to another. You will get just as much done, but perhaps without having addressed priorities. An assignment may be late or incomplete, not because you weren't working but because you were working on something else. You were ready to rebel when asked to make study schedules for the week.  But because of the random nature of your dominant side, you must make lists, and you must make schedules. This may be your only hope for survival in college. You should also make a special effort to read directions. Oh yes, the mention of spelling makes you cringe. Use the dictionary, carry a Franklin speller, use the spell checker on your computer. Never turn in an assignment without proofing for spelling. Because the right side of the brain is color sensitive, you might try using colors to learn sequence, making the first step green, the second blue, the last red. Or you may want to "walk" a sequence, either by physically going from place to place or by imagining it. For the first step of the sequence, you might walk to the frond door; for the second, to the kitchen; for the third, to the den, etc. Or make Step One a certain place or thing in you dorm room or study place, and Step Two another. If you consistently use the same sequence, you will find that this strategy is transferable to many tasks involving sequence.

    Symbolic Vs. Concrete Processing

The left brain has no trouble processing symbols. Many academic pursuits deal with symbols-such as letters, words, and mathematical notations. The left brained person tends to be comfortable with linguistic and mathematical endeavors. Left-brained students will probably just memorize vocabulary words or math formulas. The right brain, on the other hand, wants things to be concrete. The right brain person wants to see, feel, or touch the real object. Right brain students may have had trouble learning to read using phonics. They prefer to see words in context, to see how the formula works. To use your right brain, create opportunities for hands-on activities, use something real whenever possible. You may also want to draw out a math problem or illustrate your notes.

    Logical Vs. Intuitive Processing

The left brain processes in a linear, sequential, logical manner. When you process on the left side, you use information piece by piece to solve a math problem or work out a science experiment. When you read and listen, you look for the pieces so that you can draw logical conclusions. If you process primarily on the right side of the brain, you use intuition. You may know the right answer to a math problem but not be sure how you got it. You may have to start with the answer and work backwards. On a quiz, you have a gut feeling as to which answers are correct, and you are usually right. In writing, it is the left brain that pays attention to mechanics such as spelling, agreement, and punctuation. But the right side pays attention to coherence and meaning; that is, your right brain tells you it "feels" right.

    Verbal Vs. Nonverbal Processing

Left brain students have little trouble expressing themselves in words. Right brain students may know what they mean, but often have trouble finding the right words. The best illustration of this is to listen to people give directions. The left brain person will say something like "From here, go west three blocks and turn north on Vine Street. Go three or four miles and then turn east onto Broad Street." The right brain person will sound something like this: "Turn right (pointing right), by the school over there (pointing again). Then you will pass a McDonalds and a Walmart. At the next light, turn right toward the BP station." So how is this relevant to planning study strategies? Right brain students need to back up everything visually. If it's not written down, they probably won't remember it. And it would be even better for right brain students to illustrate it. They need to get into the habit of making a mental video of things as they hear or read them. Right brain students need to know that it may take them longer to write a paper and the paper may need more revision before it says what they want it to say. This means allowing extra time when a writing assignment is due.

    Reality-Based Vs. Fantasy-Oriented Processing

The left side of the brain deals with things the way they are-with reality. When left brain students are affected by the environment, they usually adjust to it. Not so with right brain students. They try to change the environment! Left brain people want to know the rules and follow them. In fact, if there are no rules for situations, they will probably make up rules to follow! Left brain students know the consequences of not turning in papers on time or of failing a test. But right brain students are sometimes not aware that there is anything wrong. So, if you are right brain, make sure you constantly ask for feedback and reality checks. It's too late the day before finals to ask if you can do extra credit. Keep a careful record of your assignments and tests. Visit with your professor routinely. While this fantasy orientation may seem a disadvantage, in some cases it is an advantage. The right brain student is creative. In order to learn about the digestive system, you may decide to "become a piece of food! And since emotion is processed on the right side of the brain, you will probably remember well anything you become emotionally involved in as you are trying to learn.

These are just some of the differences that exist between the left and right hemispheres, but you can see a pattern. Because left brain strategies are the ones used most often in the classroom, right brain students sometimes feel inadequate. However, you now know that you can be flexible and adapt material to the right side of your brain. Likewise, those of you who are predominantly left brain know that it would be wise to use both sides of the brain and employ some right brain strategies.

Am I mainly Left brain or Right brian? I took the test on 2 occasions (separated by 3 years and 8 months) and these were the results:
  1. December 2005
  2. August 2009. I took it again in Oct.2015 (6 years and 2 months later).
I took the test from: web-us.com brain dominance.