Right brain vs left brain - which wins?

This page explores right brain vs left brain thinking; what is right brain thinking; left vs right brain; and connects with a right brain left brain test. It also relates to whole brain thinking; what is creative thinking; and a critical thinking definition.

Right brain vs left brain - what's the difference?

As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates noted that injuries to the left side of the head often resulted in impaired function to the right side of the body and vice versa.

Hippocrates concluded from these observations that “the human brain of man is double”.

In the 19th Century, researchers began to focus on the left hemisphere as the possible location of our ability to speak.

After conducting post mortem studies on patients who had lost their ability to speak, the French surgeon, Paul Broca, came to the conclusion in 1864 that the location of speech is in the left hemisphere.

In the early 1940’s Willian Van Wagenen performed the first “split brain” surgery to control epileptic seizures.

Later experiments by surgeons Philip Vogel and Joseph Bogen were highly successful in controlling epileptic seizures.

Later testing of these patients by Roger Sperry and his associates resulted in much of the knowledge of the specialisation of the hemispheres as we know it.

That is, that the left hemisphere is responsible for speech, linear, analytic and rational thought, and that the right hemisphere is more holistic, conceptual, emotive and spatial.

Click here for more background on whole brain thinking and for frequently asked questions about it.

Right brain vs left brain - how does it apply to YOU?

You probably already have a pretty good idea of your left vs right brain thinking preferences.

As a quick assessment of how you see yourself, allocate 100 points between these four descriptions:

* rational -_____points

* organised -_____points

* interpersonal -_____points

* imaginative -_____points.

If you add together the points you allocated to, "rational", and, "organised", this will give you a total that represents your left brain thinking, and "interpersonal", and, "imaginative", added together represent your right brain thinking.

If you choose to complete a 120-question HBDI survey form you will receive an in-depth profile of your thinking preferences.

How you prefer to think, of course, affects everything you do and how you do it.

Those with a strong preference for right brain thinking will go about things quite differently than those who prefer to rely on their left brain (which may create the right brain vs left brain myth).

This will often show in behaviour and may drive others nuts. For example, strong left brain thinkers will often like to make lists and cross things off their lists and will tend to be punctual and well organised (e.g. a place for everything and everything in its place).

Strong right brain thinkers tend to be more spontaneous and unstructured, less punctual, more disorganised and will likely value creativity above reliability.

People who are left brain dominant in their thinking will often describe the right brain thinkers as, "flaky" (i.e. informal, crazy or eccentric), whilst the strong right brain thinkers nearly always use this exact word to describe their perception of the left brain thinkers, "boring".

Right brain vs left brain - so what, does it matter?

"Yes", is the short answer not least because, as the above may illustrate, right brain vs left brain thinking can significantly affect relationships (e.g. remember "The Odd Couple"?).

Left vs right brain, or right brain vs left brain, or left brain vs right brain, or any other variation that contains that "vs", by implication, misses a vital point.

Which is?

BOTH right brain AND left brain thinking are inevitable (by a single person and between people) and the implication that one is "better" or "superior" to the other is not valid.

More accurately, the key is to be able to use BOTH left side of brain thinking AND right brain thinking appropriately. That is, to be able to match the different types of thinking to the situation.

This creates whole brain thinking and gives us the best of both worlds.

That is, some situations require predominantly left brain thinking (which for many people is the critical thinking definition) and other situations need predominantly right brain thinking (for many people, what is creative thinking - right brain thinking).

For example, systematic problem solving of a technical issue will probably be best served with left brain thinking whereas emotional relationship and communication issues may be best responded to with right brain thinking.

Click here for information on NED HERRMANN creator of the HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) and the whole brain thinking model.

Click here for some inspiring positive thinking quotes and phrases.


Right brain vs left brain - no, right brain AND left brain works best.
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