Left Brain/Right Brain – What Were You Thinking Anyway?

1.8.15 brain .dominance.jpegI am fairly creative, love to think out of the box – so I’m right-brained, yes?  Hmm, well I’m also very logical and appreciate a good logical discussion (ok, maybe the proper word is argument) – so that makes me left-brained, right?  Wait, what’s going on here?

What we’re really talking about are the two sides (hemispheres) of the brain that certain behavioral traits ‘favor’.  What science tells us about the brain and is widely accepted as facts are the following:

The left side of the brain is the logical side: math, puzzles, problem solving lives here, also criticism, rush to judgments, anxiety, and being tightly wound (sometimes too tightly?)

The right brain houses our creative traits: poetry, music, art – creation and appreciation – sit here, as well as intuition, flights of fancy, daydreaming and other less than serious activities (called fun by many)

Males have bigger brains, but males don’t move from one side to the other side very quickly, due to the separating line (technically called the corpus callosum) being thicker in males; it’s harder for men to jump sides (i.e. bigger brains but used less efficiently).  So males tend to get stuck on one side (called it ‘focused’, or call it tunnel vision – with vision differences as another whole topic)

Women, with a thinner white strip (the cc) are able to jump from side to side much faster (i.e. smaller brains, but used more fully, so women are technically smarter)

So what’s happening with me is that as a female I am able to process from both sides fairly quickly and develop both sides nicely.  So what about handedness – i.e. does being left-handed make you better at being “two-brained”?  I would say yes.  Only about 11% of the population is left-handed, but in our family it’s 50% (2 of my 4 kids, plus me).  Being left-handed in a largely right-handed world definitely makes you more capable on your less dominant side.

Since another brain fact is that the opposite side of the brain controls the body movements on the opposite side, being left-handed in a right-handed world makes the left-handed person use both sides much more than the right-hander is required to do.  There is no need for a right-handed person to develop their left side at all.  Most people in the world favor their left logical and critical brain side (as right-handers) and many of the world’s creative emotional types are left-handed (especially creative males).

Of course, creativity and innovative thinking can be cultivated; also many developmental factors go into both (childhood influences and experiences).  We are all creative and can work to be more so, even those who claim not to have “a creative bone in their body”.  But if you’re left-handed, you may have an advantage in the creative department.

So how does handedness happen?  While babies innately prefer one hand as dominant, parental interaction can be influential.  When a mother carries a baby on her hip, which hand is open to reach and grab, and which hand is tucked behind the mother’s back and out of commission by this positioning?

How does the two different brain sides effect our communication?  Well, think about it.  If you’re emotional, something upsetting has happened that affects your feelings deeply, you are squarely on your right side.  If someone tries to show you charts, graphs, figures, data (left brain activities) while in an emotional state you will be hard pressed to process accurately or easily.

If you’ve been hard at work on your computer or crunching numbers and your spouse picks that time to ask you about vacation plans, you need to switch gears, and brain sides, to be nicely responsive, and probably nice at all.

If you’re talking to someone and need them to process what you’re saying on a designated side of the brain, consider either what side they are on now, or what their normal leaning is, then adjust accordingly.

Buying a red sports car – who do you bring with you?

–> You really want it, regardless of the price – your right–brained friend will talk you right into it.

–> You really want to be talked out of buying a car you can’t afford – your left-brained friend is key to help you realize the impracticality of a red sports car that gets lousy mileage.

Next time the topic is: Vanity License Plates –what they communicate about the owner and to the driving world.

Post a comment of when you noticed a brain side trip-up, yours or another’s.

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