Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Right- and Left-Brained Modes of Thinking

The human brain is composed of two hemispheres joined by the corpus callosum. In popular science, each hemisphere has been associated with distinctly different functions.

Things are not so clear-cut, though there is a certain division of mental processing functions, or ways of thinking, across hemispheres.

Left Brain Functions

Right Brain Functions

sequential simultaneous
analytical holistic
verbal imagistic
logical intuitive
linear algorithmic processing holistic algorithmic processing
mathematics: perception of counting/measurement mathematics: perception of shapes/motions
present and past present and future
language: grammar/words, pattern perception, literal language: intonation/emphasis, prosody, pragmatic, contextual

Integrative functions however (such as intuitive arithmetic, binaural sound localization, emotions, etc) appear more bilaterally controlled.

In the late 1960s, the American psychobiologist Roger W Sperry proposed there were two very different ways of thinking. One involving the right brain which is visual where information is processed in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The other involving the left brain is verbal where information is processed in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at parts and then integrating them as a whole.

As such, people could be described as left- or right-brained, depending on their mode of thinking.

So which are you?

One indicator is handedness, earedness or eyedness. If you predominantly use your left hand, ear or eye, then you are right-brained. And the reverse.

Another indicator is which way you see the woman below turn - clockwise suggests you are left-brained and anti-clockwise that you are right-brained.

For me, she mostly spins clockwise. But sometimes the other way. And I seem to be able to make her change direction.

Not quite sure if I'm pleased about this or not!

POSTSCRIPT - This morning the dancer was mainly clockwising, but now she won't do other than the reverse! So I use different modes of thinking at different times of day?! How's she going for you?


  1. Its got me confused she seems to go either way as soon as i look away and back again mind you I'm left handed and that's confusing too as I can't use scissors with my left hand also knife and fork use is the same as a right hander but I don't consider myself as ambidextrous cos if I try to write with my right hand It's a mess, great blog by the way.

  2. When I FIRST started it it was counterclockwise. Then as I read your remarks under the picture and my attention returned to her she was going the other way ... now I can't see her going counterclockwise again!

  3. Hey I figured it out.
    Close your eyes and think about math or a logic problem. Then open your eyes. You will problably see her turning clockwise. Then close your eyes and think about someone you fear, hate, love, whatever, something that makes you emotional. Open and she will be turning counterclockwise.

    It worked for me.

    By the way your pictures and posts are nice and interesting.

    Too bad it's not a turnng man.

    See ya,