Friday, January 18, 2013

Left Brain, Right Brain

Among the infinite number of things which fascinate me is the working of the human brain, and the division of basic functions between the left half and the right half. Most people tend to be either “left brained” or “right brained.”

I did a Google search on the subject, and one site offers the silhouette of a dancer turning. The key is for the viewer to tell which way she is turning: clockwise or counterclockwise. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that she was turning clockwise and, even though the text said that by concentrating, I could get her to change directions, I could not. So that, according to the test, indicated that I was a “right brain” person. I just went back to look at it again, and she was turning counterclockwise and, stare and concentrate as I might, I could not get her to reverse direction.

The right side of the brain deals with feelings, imagination, appreciation and belief. That’s definitely me.

The left side of the brain deals with logic, details, facts, words and language. That’s definitely me, too. So which am I?

Google is rather like the dictionary in that it is nearly impossible for me to pick one option without going from one to the next. One included a 20-question test to determine if one is left-or-right brained. According to my score, I am right-brained without question. So where does that leave my left-brain words and language foundation?

I’m definitely far more word-oriented than I am visually oriented, which is why I am really not very good at physical descriptions. I admire writers whose physical descriptions of characters and settings paint vivid pictures. I wish I had that ability, but I do not.

Fortunately, one of the other sources I checked espoused the belief that some people are whole-brained, and I think I'll go with that one.

The loss of speech is common among stroke victims. But there are fascinating conditions in which, for example, a victim can speak and can recognize an item but be unable to say what it is. Shown a pencil, they know what it is but cannot name it. Yet, amazingly, when the pencil is put in their hand, they can. Fascinating.

I’ve read, and seen TV programs, where for one reason or another…some severe forms of epilepsy or physical injury, for example…it is necessary to physically detach the two halves of the brain, and in some severe cases, to remove one half entirely. Astonishingly, in the latter case, it is possible for the remaining side to slowly take on all the responsibilities and functions lost with the other half.

While, as an Agnostic, I do not know if there is a God, and I definitely do not subscribe to the Judeo-Christian portrayals of Him as having any physical resemblance to the human form, I must acknowledge that there is simply too much wonder in the universe—too much order in chaos and too much chaos in order—for there not to be some force behind it.

I’ll let you know as soon as I find out. Promise. But I’m in no hurry.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Wouldn't it be something if our lives were currently being broadcast in the afterlife as the ultimate reality shows? The only way we'd know our ratings is when we pass on or if we got cancelled...which would be kinda obvious.