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Left Brain vs. Right Brain

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Left Brain vs. Right Brain
“According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking.” (Cherry 2012) From books to television programs, you've probably heard the phrase mentioned that people are either right brained or left brained thinkers or perhaps you have gone online to take a test to see which one you are. Psychologist have been researching the brain to try and understand learning capability’s that can help with such things as epilepsy, dyslexia and other seizure and learning problems.
The right brain-left brain theory came from the work of Roger W. Sperry, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981. While studying the effects of epilepsy, Sperry discovered that cutting the corpus collosum (the structure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain) could reduce or eliminate seizures. However, Sperry also discovered that after the two parts were no longer connected, the patients could no longer name objects that were processed by the right side of the brain, but were able to name objects that were processed by the left-side of the brain. Based on this information, Sperry suggested that the left side of the brain is used to process certain information such as language.
When researching the different sides of the brain, it has been noted that each side is capable of leaning the same things just in a different way. The right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. The right side of the brain processes information such as:
• Recognizing faces
• Expressing emotions
• Music
• Reading emotions
• Color
• Images
• Intuition
• Creativity
The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The left side of the brain processes information such as:
• Language
• Logic
• Critical thinking
• Numbers
• Reasoning

The extent of any modularity, or specialization of brain function by area, remains under investigation. Broad generalizations are often made in popular psychology about one side or the other having characteristic labels such as "logical" or "creative". While functions are lateralized, these are only a tendency. The trend across many individuals may also vary significantly as to how any specific function is implemented. Short of having undergone a hemispherectomy (removal of a cerebral hemisphere), no one is a "left-brain only" or "right-brain only" person.
Both sides of the brain can reason, but by different strategies and one side may be dominant. “People think and learn in different ways. In any group there will always be evidence of different learning characteristics, but different cultural groups may emphasize one cognitive style over another. A. Hilliard describes "learning style" as the sum of the patterns of how individuals develop habitual ways of responding to experience and distinguishes learning styles by considering the holistic vs. the analytic learner.” (Freemen 2010)
Understanding what the most comfortable learning style is for you is very important to study habits and learning capabilities. Barbara Meister Vitale (Unicorns Are Real: A Right-Brained Approach to Learning) describes right brain (hemisphere) / left brain (hemisphere) individuals by both academic skills and modes of consciousness, which are the unique ways that each person processes stimuli.
More recent studies seem to indicate that hemispheric dominance is not as clear-cut as originally thought. Researchers are as interested in how the two hemispheres complement each other and combine to work together as they are in how the hemispheres are different. “In a nutshell, we humans do not literally have ‘two brains,’ but we do have two simultaneous systems of mental organization and functioning – each whole and complete in itself, each having highly specialized skills. As some scholars have summarized it: the ‘left brain’ does, the ‘right brain’ is. This is, however, an oversimplification, for quite clearly both the hemispheres are active, though in markedly different ways. As Karl Schmitz-Moormann has noted, the ‘right brain’ cannot accurately be considered a ‘passive partner’ in the human enterprise. Indeed, since the right hemisphere is responsible for our holistic perception of the world, one might argue that it is the dominant one, with the ‘left brain’ functioning as ‘analyzer for the right brain’s perceptions … a servant of the right brain’ (“Philosophical and Theological Reflection,” 255).
While considering the new research and the old research, it is safe to say that both sides of the brain act equally in ways we process information. It is how we interpret the information individually that makes us either a right-brain thinker or a left-brain thinker but no matter what side is your preference, we are all capable of learning the same information.


Understanding the Myth and Reality of Left Brain and Right Brain Dominance
By Kendra Cherry, Guide Retrieved January 31, 2012
Learning Styles and Hemispheric Dominance by Karen M. Gibson Retrieved January 31, 2012
New Research on the Relation between Brain and Mind: The Work of Roger Sperry, Liturgy Digest, Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 1993

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