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The brain is divided into two hemispheres, called the left and right hemispheres. Each hemisphere provides a different set of functions, behaviors, and controls. The right hemisphere is often called the creative side of the brain, while the left hemisphere is the logical or analytical side of the brain. Read on to learn more about the two sides of your brain.

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Brain Hemispheres

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Left and Right Hemispheres of the Brain
Left and Right Hemispheres of the Brain

The brain is divided into left and right hemispheres. Each hemisphere controls its own unique set of activities or tasks. The right side of the brain tends to be more dominant in creative activities, while the left side of the brain tends to be more dominant in logical or analytical activities. These hemispheres communicate with each other through a large bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum, and through several smaller nerve pathways.

The right side of the brain is more visual oriented, involved in activities such as visual imagery and face recognition. The right side of the brain tends to view information as a whole, rather than as individual details. It also tends to process information more intuitively or randomly. The right side of the brain is involved in spacial abilities, such as judging the position of things in space, and knowing your body position.

The left side of the brain processes information more logically or sequentially. The left side of the brain is dominant in understanding and using language, including listening, reading, speaking and writing. It is involved in the memory for spoken and written messages, and plays a major role in the analysis of information.

The right side of the brain controls muscles on the left side of the body. It also receives sensory information from the left side of the body. The left side of the brain controls muscles on the right side of the body, and receives sensory information from the right side of the body.

The following table summarizes key differences between the left and right sides of the brain.

Right Brain Left Brain
Holistic, big-picture oriented Linear, details oriented
Random processing oriented Sequential or list oriented
Concrete processing oriented Symbolic processing oriented
Intuitive decision making Logical decision making
Non-verbal processing oriented Verbal processing oriented
Fantasy-oriented Reality-oriented

Most people tend to have a dominant side of their brain, and they tend to process information using their dominant side. This doesn't mean that individuals only uses half of their brain. It just reflects a matter of right versus left brain balance in processing information and performing activities. However, learning and thinking are enhanced when both sides of the brain are used in a balanced manner.

Left Brain versus Right Brain Students, and Learning

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How does right brain or left brain dominance affect how a student performs in the classroom? Most classroom teaching styles use left brain strategies. This tends to favor left brain dominant students, and can make learning difficult for right brain dominant students. Left brain students are good at linear and sequential processing, such as involved in language and math. Left brain students are also good at planning and following directions. These students easily learn information in lecture-style, teaching approach. Right brain students processes information more holistically. They learn by understanding the big-picture, not the details. They tend to be visual, not language oriented. This means they have more difficulty following a lecture-style teaching approach. Right brain students need to know why they are doing something. Right brain students can benefit from reviewing material before class to understand the bigger picture, and to understand the context for details that will be taught in class.

Left brain students can easily express themselves in words. This is a large part of what is expected in class participation and in assignments. Right brain students may know what they want to say, but often have trouble finding the right words. A left brain student tends to be good with symbolic language and mathematics, and can easily memorize vocabulary words or math formulas. A right brain student needs to see, feel, or touch the real object. Right brain students prefer hands-on activities, and need to draw out a math or other problem to understand it. They also need diagrams or illustrations to help visualize the problem or solution.

Right brain students learn visually, not by listening to a lecture-style class. They must take extensive notes, and use diagrams and drawings to make information more visual, to facilitate learning the information. They also need to make a mental images of things they hear or read in order to remember the information.

Left brain students are good note takers and list makers. They are also good at planning and scheduling. This means they are good at completing assignments. Right brain students tend to approach things randomly. They tend to not make study schedules, and jump around from one task to another without regard to priorities. Right brain students may be late with an assignment, not because they weren't working hard, but because they were working on a lower priority assignment. Right brain students need extra effort in reading instructions to ensure they understand the assignment. They also extra effort in making assignment lists and study schedules.

Left brain students are better at writing and spelling, since it involves sequencing and organizing of letters and words. Right brain students require more time to write a paper, and require more revisions to get it to say what they want to say. Right brain students must also rely more on spelling checkers and proof reading for their assignments. Right brain students tend to be more creative, but have more trouble than left brain students with the mechanics of writing and communicating.

 

Books on the Brain Hemispheres

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Other links on the Brain Hemispheres

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Test whether you are left brain or right brain dominant http://frank.mtsu.edu/~studskl/hd/
hemispheric_dominance.html
 

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