Left and right brain (2-second test)

The left side of the brain is responsible for analytical thought processes and numbers, the right side for holistic comprehension and intuition. Is this true?

In recent years, science has discovered a great deal about the processes involved in learning, which more than question the idea of the brain as a simple information store. Any cultural development is based on the fact that once remembered something remains in the memory. With the individual human it is not different. Learning and remembering are therefore basic building blocks of mental progress.

Do the 2-second test

Which of your two brain hemispheres is the dominant one?

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Look at the dancer!

  • Does the dancer turn clockwise? – You give preference to your right brain and you are more creative, intuitive and emotional. In your head, the images predominate.
  • If the dancer turns counterclockwise, your left brain dominates, which makes you more of a structured, logical-analytical thinker. Numbers and letters predominate in your head.
  • Can you get the dancer to change direction?
    (Tip: Focus on the dancer’s shadow – suddenly the dancer turns in the other direction…)

Our brain and its two halves

A changing encyclopedia, photographic memory – our paraphrases for perfect memory still convey the idea that memory is first and foremost a store of knowledge and objective facts. The greater the extent of this knowledge, the better our memory performance. This idea still shapes the superficial ideal at school of teaching children as much knowledge as possible.

In our western world, the left side of the brain is usually much more challenged than the right side. Think, for example, of school – where logical-analytical thought processes were more important than anything else, with a focus on language and numbers. Excellent and creative thinking, however, can only come about if both brain hemispheres of the cerebrum work well together and complement each other. This is why it is so important to also challenge the right hemisphere of the brain in thought and learning processes.

According to current scientific findings, however, it is not how much one knows to remember something or to remember something, but rather how well the once stored (learned) information is networked with each other.


Tasks of the cerebral cortex

This networking is the task of the cerebral cortex. Our memory is not located in any nerve cells, but consists essentially of a strengthened connection of nerve cells – whereby the individual cells are partly located on the different hemispheres of the brain and thus „far away“ from each other. These nerve connections, called synapses, must be strengthened in order to achieve optimal learning and thus the greatest possible memory performance.

A number of scientists suspect that especially those people in networked systems are successful or creative when the left and right hemispheres of the brain communicate well with each other, i.e. when systematic thinking (left hemisphere of the brain) and intuition (right hemisphere of the brain) combine in the brain. The amazing thing is that, for example, new realities often push their way into our consciousness when we are occupied with something completely different (the so-called „flash of inspiration“).

Silently pressing a school bench is therefore not exactly the optimal position for learning. The new findings concerning the neurobiology of memory confirm the teachers, who have long since used variable methodical concepts to help students and pupils, for example, to acquire experience and knowledge in the described sense.

Networking the left and right brain

There are several ways to strengthen the networking of our brain hemispheres:

  • Mind Mapping (visualizes and structures „chaotic“ creative thoughts)
  • perform activities that address both sides of the brain at the same time (listening to music or walking up and down while learning in addition to analytical tasks)
  • Kinesiology exercises (right elbow to left knee and vice versa or circle with one hand on the belly, tap on the crown with the other, etc.)

One of the two halves of the brain is usually dominant.

There are people who have a „left brain“ or „right brain dominance“. This means that „left-brained“ people are mainly objective and analytical, but they lack creativity, feeling and an overview. „Right-wing brains“ are creative, sensitive, intuitive, artistic, but lack analytical thinking.

Each of the two halves of the brain can be trained, but also the integration of the two (see box). Only if the left brain cooperates optimally with the right brain can we unfold the full potential of our brain.

Most of us rely predominantly on our left brain, which is responsible for logic. It mainly determines lawyers, writers, accountants, doctors, tax experts – professions that deal with logical, language-related information.

The seemingly silent right brain – the so-called artistic and emotional brain – can process information and communicate the result to us in dreams, symbols and gestures or sudden inspirations. These flashes of inspiration often flare up without long searching and move each thing to its place. Poets, politicians, musicians, architects, dancers and top managers therefore work more closely with the right half.

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© Triff / Shutterstock

The tasks of the two halves of the brain

Left brain

  • Language, reading, arithmetic
  • Ratio, Logic
  • Rules, laws
  • Concentration on one point
  • Analysis, detail
  • Science
  • Step by step
  • Particulars
  • Sense of time
  • Linearity
  • Controls the right side of the body
  • Perceives details
  • Processes one piece of information at a time
  • Processes information step by step in logical order
  • Controls oral presentation, grammar and word order
  • Controls verbal and mathematical information
  • Special memory centre for words, numbers and rules
  • The more important brain hemisphere for analysts and mathematicians
  • Determines the sense of time

Right brain

  • Body language, imagery
  • Intuition, feeling
  • Creativity, spontaneity
  • Volatility
  • Curiosity, Playing, Risk
  • Synthesis, Overview
  • Art, dance, music
  • Holistic
  • Interrelations
  • Spatial sensation
  • Controls the left side of the body
  • Has the overview
  • Thinks in pictures, visualizes
  • Puts things together, holistic view
  • Regulates body language, facial expressions and gestures
  • Controls movements and physical activity (sport, dance)
  • Regulates artistic achievements and experiences (music, drawing, painting)
  • Special centre for intuition, spontaneity and feelings
  • Is the more important brain hemisphere for painters, designers, musicians and other artists
  • Determines the perception of space

Why don’t we use the right brain more often …

… if it would make life easier for us and information about the cooperation of both brain hemispheres is stored so much easier?

The answer lies in our childhood. Already in elementary school we are fed an academic diet of reading, writing, arithmetic and grammar. School progress is determined by class tests, which are almost exclusively tailored to the thinking processes of the left brain.

School subjects that address the right brain, such as drawing, music or sports, are called „minor subjects“. But in adulthood nothing prevents us from using our right brain in everyday life, we have only forgotten it.

Which half of the brain do you give priority to?

This reveals how you hold your head and eyes when you think about a question from your interlocutor: If you turn your head to the left, you have a preference for the right brain; if you turn it to the right, you prefer logic or language.

Another test possibility: Assembly instructions for technical devices. Those oriented to the left follow the instructions sentence by sentence. The „right-wing thinker“ ignores the written text and assembles the device according to image or diagram.

Original source of the dancer’s animation (requires Flashplayer installed)