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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Understanding the Basic Differences

By Andrew Loh

The debate on right brain and left-brain has been raging for many years now. Did you ever hear people speaking on this issue? Some experts on brain development say that some people tend to be strong in their right brain, while others are endowed with left-brain skills. Let us not consider this issue now. What exactly is right vs. left-brain theory and why is it so important between growing children? What can you do to enhance left and right brain activities in equal measures?

In simple words, the basic theory of left or right brain predominance states that each side of the brain manages different kinds of thinking. In addition, people are known to choose one kind of thinking over the other type. Broadly speaking, a person who is perceived to be left brain endowed, is thought be more logical and objective, when compared to a right brain endowed person, who is assumed to be more thoughtful and subjective.

Psychologists suggest several theories for this differing pre-dominance. Some of them believe that the theory derives from another hypothesis called “lateralization of brain functions”. Now, the big question is also thought provoking – do both sides control specific functionalities? A Nobel Prize winning scientist named, Roger W. Sperry proposed the right brain-left brain theory in the year 1981.

An amazing thing called brain!

Both right and left side brain sectors are unique in their functions. Both are important and critical for normal living of a human. Both sides process information in different ways. How both sides function is a function of genetics. Most of us tend to possess a stronger side of the brain. It could be either right or left side of the brain. People process information by using the dominant side of the brain. Whatever the case, a person is said to be normal, when he or she possesses a brain that functions evenly in both sides of the brain. Optimum brain performance is possible, when you strengthen the weaker side of the brain. Information processing styles between two sides of the brain are different as well.

Here are some of the differences in learning styles between two hemispheres of the brain:

Linear and holistic processing of information

The left side of your brain can process information bits in a linear or lateral manner. In other words, the information is processed from tiny parts and to whole of it. When a person has left centric brain, it collects and collates tiny bits of information, aligns them in a linear manner and organizes all the bits into a logical sequence. On the contrary, the right brain does not accept information in bits and pieces. It always treats the information as a whole and it starts processing from top to bottom. It watches and treats the scene as a whole and it does not look at the finer details that hide inside the picture. If you are endowed with a right brain, you may not have the ability to summarize different bits of information into one. To do it, you must look at the set of information from all angles.

Sequential and random processing of information

Left brainers are linear processors of data. To perform it, they should use a sequential process. Persons, who are string in scheduling and planning, have a strong left sided brain. Most of them are very strong in English spelling and basic math. If you have a strong left sided brain, you are probably very strong in creating lists and working on those lists. On the other hand, the right-brained people process given information in a random fashion. In other words, they are very poor in scheduling and indexing. Following directions and spelling are also quite difficult for them.

Symbolic and concrete processing of data

The left-brain endowed people are strong in understanding and processing symbols. Processing numbers, mathematical models and notation are easy for these people. They have the giftedness to memorize words and formulae, in a much easier fashion than the right-brained people. However, right brain endowed people demand things that are in concrete shape. They want to experience things. They also want to see, perceive, touch and feel the real objects. They are more proficient in breaking down things and assessing them.

Logical and intuitive processing of data

Left brained people use logical ability to solve problems. They combine different pieces of information and use a logical sense to join them. Right-brained people, on the other hand, use a sense of intuition to solve problems. They may not know how to solve a problem, but they usually get the right answer by using the sense of intuition. They may have the gut feeling to choose the right type of solutions for a given problem.

Verbal and nonverbal processing of data

Verbal thinking is common among people, who have a strong left-brain. They can easily express themselves in words and sentences. On the other hand, right brain strong people find using words in a day-to-day conversation very difficult. Just watch the left brained people giving directions to people. The are very good at it. Right brain people will need backing up of data and information in a visual way. They may also need data and information in image forms.

These are some of the major differences between left and right brains. Left-brain strategies and methods are necessary for a classroom, while right brain power is necessary for acquiring skills other than scholastic ones. Continue to read Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Activities to boost both sides of the brain


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