Sunday, 1 December 2013

‘Left Brain, Right Brain…Is There a Right or Wrong Side?’ by Dyslexia Dublin © 2013



I like to construct and she likes to read… my wife and I are polar opposites which, as they say, are supposed to attract. She is left and right brained with no lobe dominance and I am right brained dominant. I am dyslexic and dyspraxic and she is very much mainstream.

This leads me nicely to my next point… has it ever crossed your mind why some love to be creative like the painter Michael Angelo but have real problems reading text or listening to verbal instruction and indeed, why the opposite applies?... many left brained cannot and have little interest in painting or even going along to an art exhibition. Well let me start by saying we arrive in this world in our nice little pink birthday suit equipped to one or the other to a high degree… I can already hear many of you saying you like to paint, read and or love the arts… well you are more likely to fall in to the category of left brain. If you are left brained, then you would be much happier just listening to someone talk about something, providing they kept it short and sweet, but hand you a novel and you would read forever… the nearest I get to reading a book is if its factual, otherwise it’s a real chore.

You will have a real problem writing and drawing sufficient information to complete a project as a right brainer, but if they asked you to act it out you would be right there.

We know the brain is made up of two halves spliced together, and as mentioned we can be left brain or right brain dominant. We are aware that learning comes from one area, sight another, balance another and for most people, these areas work together when called upon (left-right brained), whereas in others they perform below par and it is very much down to dominance.

Is Left brain right? Right brain is not left behind… it’s imaginative.

People who are dominant on the right half of their brain fare better with turning dreams into reality and are far more intuitive. They see things very much in 3D and from a young age will play with toys rather than look at the TV or read a book. This does not mean that we right brainers can’t and won’t ever read, we can train ourselves in this, as in many other things. Our long term memory, which supports us throughout most of our lives is very much equal, it’s the drawing down of that information (memory recall) and the processing that slows us up and is very much the area to work on.

So, Mr. Left brained… will he ever get to grips with building that barbeque in the box? He will read the instructions thoroughly from start to finish… then the fun will start and a bit of head scratching will ensue. What about Mrs. Right brained, will she fare any better?... well, she will more than likely ignore the instructions and go straight for the photo in her head of the display model or the picture on the box and hey presto she has it put together while Mr. Left is still reading the instructions… maybe he can turn them in to a best seller! They can put the proceeds towards lots of nice things to cook on Mrs. Right’s work of art!



We also know from the latest MRI technology, as well as former research, that our right side soaks up the latest information in lumps, and it is very much the job of the left brain to decipher what comes in. In relationships, we can be in a position to lean on each other if we can work each other out, let the cook work away while the other reads the tax form… both utilising their strengths to work together.

Academics and Thinking…

We now know that we arrive on this planet as a blank canvas (tabula rasa), however, our brain dominance or sided is already in place. We are born with left and right side dominance plus a few who are ambidextrous. We can also say very much the same about the brain… we can be one of three types - either left brain, right brain or left/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.

Do we all think in a linear way?

Most politicians and those who dominate debate would be convergent thinkers (identify the problem and use resources to find a single solution), whereas most right brained would be divergent thinkers that would look at the problem and come up with lots of ways around it, with new ideas and perspectives resulting in a variety of solutions.

The right brained person would most likely paint the house ahead of the sun (in the shade) and the left brained would attempt to paint in full sun and wonder why it was drying too fast.

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, or indeed verbalise themselves.

There is no right or wrong that it is better to be left brain dominant or right brain dominant. 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, although this is far from straightforward and requires the correct learning style.

Left brained are also thought to be the more controlling type, so you will read the manual Mrs. Right Brain, even if it’s the wrong way for you.



So, it’s not one size fits all and we wouldn’t want it to be. I, for one, would not want to have a world without right brained people, or left brained for that matter. Can you imagine how the world would stall without all the strengths both bring in life and eventually we would all be poorer as a result… we need each other and it’s this realisation that we need to work on.

Our articles are for guidance only and we recommend you always seek professional advice Dyslexia Dublin. © 2013

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