Right/Left/Whole Brain


          A commonly held misperception is people are either right-brained or left-brained. Right-brained individuals are said to have a more global point of view; they are visual, more creative, relying on pictures, examples, interactions, language development, exploration, and experiments to form their views. Right-brainers tend to ask questions but may jump to conclusions. Left-brained individuals have a more focused point of view; they are sequential, systematic, and rely on order, linear thinking, logic, and a system of steps to form their views. Left-brainers tend to concentrate on words and written messages, perhaps ignoring the nuances of nonverbal messages.

          In reality, everyone may be whole-brained. The human brain consists of two hemispheres. The left side of the brain is for movement for the right side of the body. Similarly, the right side controls the movement for the left side of the body. The neural regions of the brain are responsible for different functions and work synchronously. There is no strong evidence to suggest that the belief of left- or right-brained individuals is true. The human brain is like a computer, using a visual format (the right side) and a linear system (the left side) to provide complete information.

          An example of whole-brained work may be a team project in a professional setting. If team members are perceived solely as being left- or right-brained, it may hinder the progress of the team on the project. But when team members use their diverse brain strengths for the good of the project, the task will have a broader, more complete outcome.

          A great Ted talk relevant to this topic to check out is Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight.”

Review Questions

1) Why is the right/left brain debate inaccurate?