Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Right Brain vs. Left Brain

Anybody who's ever taken an introductory psychology class has heard the theory of how the left and right hemispheres of the brain control different functions related to thinking and behavior.

The left brain is thought to be analytical, logical, precise. The right brain, not so much. Words associated with right-brained thinking include "imaginitive", "intuitive", "creative". The left hemisphere of the brain controls functions on the right side of the body, and the right controls the left.

Anybody who has ever met me would say that I am pretty darn right-brained:
  • I'm left-handed.
  • I'm really bad at math.
  • I enjoy artistic pursuits.
  • I'm very emotional.
But that's not to say the left hemisphere of my brain is withering away from disuse. When using a knife, I do so with my right hand instead of my left, and I can't use left-handed scissors to save my life. My thought on this phenomenon is that cutting is a left-brained function because it is precise in nature, and because I'm using my left brain, I use my right hand.

Apparently talent with words is also a left-brained trait, but this one gives me pause. Yes, there's a certain amount of logic and precision involved in the writing process, but it is also creative, emotional, etc. So it would seem that writers draw on both hemispheres of their brain in order to practice their craft.

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