Brain and Behavior

Brain and Behavior

Have you ever wondered why some people can paint beautifully, but have difficulty adding two and two; or why some people can understand the intricacies of calculus effortlessly, but struggle to write a one-page essay; or why some people are excellent inventors but poor producers or good managers but weak leaders? It is all about which side of your brain dominates-the left or the right.

Anatomy of the mysterious brain

“The brain is a wonderful organ: it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Robert Frost.

Our brain, like the rest of our anatomy, comprises two halves, a left lobe and right lobe. There is a big fold from front to back in our brain, essentially dividing it into two distinct parts. They are connected to each other by a thick cable of nerves at the base of each brain. This sole link between the two giant processors is called the corpus collosum.

The left side of our body is “wired” to the right side of our brain, and vice versa. For whatever reason nature did this cross-over, it applies even to our eyes, which process a majority of their sensory data on opposite sides of the brain. At the time of their birth, babies are not predisposed to be either left brain or right brain thinkers. Unfortunately, our education system with its emphasis on rote learning and exam syllabi is more tuned to encouraging left brain activity.

Experiments show that most children rank highly creative (right brain) before entering school. But only ten percent of these same children will rank highly creative by age 7, 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. By the time we are adults, high creativity remains in only 2 percent of the population.

Only within the last forty years has science shown that the left and right-brain hemispheres have unique and specific functions. Before this breakthrough, function of the brain was a mystery. More than ninety percent of what science discovered about the brain is directly or indirectly related to left-brain/right-brain research, which scientists also refer to as split brain or hemisphere specialization research.

Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. We need both kinds of thinking to function well.