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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whole Brain

For a long time I have been interested in fact that our brain has two separate parts - the left and right hemispheres (see picture).

Growing up, I used to watch in fascination as my older sister, a budding artist, mixed oil paints on her palette. She would be painting a green bottle, and yet would mix up some purple and white that she then applied in a long streak to the image of the bottle she was depicting. When I looked for the mauve streak on the real green bottle, I found that if, instead of being aware of the bottle as an object, I just looked at reflections and light patterns, then I could 'see' what my sister saw - and there was that mauve streak. Later I found out that she was using her brain’s right hemisphere, and that I could switch into mine too, not just in the way I looked at things, but in my approach to situations or problems as well.

I'm told that geniuses always use both sides of their brain, but most of us have a preference. The left hemisphere specializes in analytical thought, facts, abstractions, structure, mathematics, logic, words, efficiency, science and technology, etc. Left hemisphere ability is the principal focus for what can be tested in school.

The right brain, on the other hand, tends to specialize in "softer" aspects like intuition, feelings, sensitivity, creativity, non-verbal skills, rhythm, spontaneity, impulsiveness and the physical senses. The right hemisphere perceives the entire view and can recognize patterns and similarities and combine those elements into new forms.

Apparently, by the time we are two years old, one hemisphere begins to be more dominant than the other. Both halves are in touch through a bundle of nerve fibers, and our hemisphere dominance develops until we are in our mid teens.

You can test which half of your brain is dominant and to what extent by just clicking on the word test. Answering this test will take about 10 minutes, and there is more background information to read after you finish it if you like. I found it interesting that my left hemisphere is 67% dominant - as you may have guessed from my posts so far.

My goal is to try to use both hemispheres of my brain when I am making decisions and dealing with relationships, or trying to see a problem from another person's point of view. Rie