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Left Brain and Right Brain

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: How can one develop the left brain? Can it be done for adults too?

A: The human brain (hemispheres) has two very different ways of thinking. The right brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The left brain is focused on verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. Strangely the right hemisphere controls our left side and processes what we see in our left eye while the left hemisphere controls the right side and processes what our right eye sees.

All of us have a natural tendency towards one way of thinking based on the hemispheres. But this does not mean that we only use half of our brain! For most people, the two parts of the brain work in tandem to enable them to function as well-rounded personalities. There is evidence that right hemisphere is often regarded as more creative. Having said that, there is no "better" hemisphere here, right of left. It is just two different ways of thinking. If your child is predisposed to a certain focus, it is important to be aware that there are different ways of thinking, knowing your child's natural preference.

Somehow, schools generally tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying and giving lesser attention to the right-brain modes. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy. On the other hand right-brained subjects focus on aesthetics, feelings, and creativity.

To develop the brain, left or right, all one has to do is practice activities that is predominantly controlled by that hemisphere of the brain. To develop the left brain, indulge in activities for e.g., traditional logic, math and spelling. Right brain activities involve a lot of visuals, patterns, fluidity, role playing and imagination. Of course adults can develop the left hemisphere of the brain. It is the right hemisphere that gets harder to develop as we get older.


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