Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ARE YOU RIGHT BRAINED OR LEFT BRAINED?

Are you right brain dominant or left brain dominant, or a bit of both? (When we refer to "right brain" and "left brain", respectively, we are, of course, talking about the two separate, but connected, hemispheres of the human brain.)

Try this quick test.

Click on the photo, to start the dancer spinning.

Do you you see the dancer turning clockwise or counter-clockwise?


If you see the dancer turning clockwise, then you use more of the right side of your brain.

If you see the dancer turning counter-clockwise, then you use more of the left side of your brain.

It is claimed that most people see the dancer turning counter-clockwise. However, just as you can “increase” your IQ by regularly doing IQ tests, so it is possible to focus and change the direction of the dancer ... except that whilst the former (an increase in IQ) is artificially produced and not “real” - not that I am a believer in IQ tests (all they measure is your ability to do IQ tests) - the latter is real. That is, we can train ourselves to become more right brained or left brained as the case may be.

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern and linear perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe


RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy and religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking


Is meditation a right brain function or a left brain function?  Well, both---and neither. You see, meditation is a way to access all the benefits of the right brain while quieting the stresses caused by overwhelmed left brain functioning. That is good news.

We already know that meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, increases brain grey matter and, it seems, right brain activity as well. However, it is unclear whether all of the increased right brain activity is a direct result of the meditation itself. It may well be the case that right brain dominant people are more likely to meditate in the first place because they already have more regional grey matter than left brain dominant people.

At the end of the day, I hate categories of all kinds. I love the following lines from Dr Alfred Kinsey (pictured below). I always quoted these lines to my students at UTS, and I reproduced them in one of my published books on the law. The lines are from Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), which has been named one of the "100 Best Books of the 20th Century" by Logos magazine:
“The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all white. ... Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes.”

Be that as it may, meditation is good for you ... and others. End of blog.


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