Differences Between Left and Right Hemisphere

One way of looking at learning styles is to determine your hemispheric dominance. Are you more right brained or left brained?  We know that the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that houses rational functions. It is divided into two hemispheres connected by a thick band of nerve fibers (the corpus callosum) which sends messages back and forth between the hemispheres. And while brain research confirms that both sides of the brain are involved in nearly every human activity, we do know that the left side of the brain is the seat of language and processes in a logical and sequential order. The right side is more visual and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly. Most people seem to have a dominant side. A key word is that our dominance is a preference, not an absolute. When learning is new, difficult, or stressful we PREFER to learn in a certain way. It seems that our brain goes on autopilot to the preferred side. And while nothing is entirely isolated on one side of the brain or the other, the characteristics commonly attributed to each side of the brain serve as an appropriate guide for ways of learning things more efficiently and ways of reinforcing learning. Just as it was more important for our purposes to determine that memory is stored in many parts of the brain rather than learn the exact lobe for each part, likewise it is not so much that we are biologically right brain or left brain dominant, but that we are more comfortable with the learning strategies characteristics of one over the other. What you are doing is lengthening your list of strategies for learning how to learn and trying to determine what works best for you. You can and must use and develop both sides of the brain. But because the seat of our preferences probably has more neural connections, learning may occur faster. This section will look a t some differences between left and right brain preferences. Be on the look out for practical strategies that work for you.

Let's begin with a few basics. First, no one is totally left-brained or totally right-brained. Just as you have a dominant hand, dominant eye, and even a dominant foot, you probably have a dominant side of the brain. Second, you can and must develop both sides of your brain. Click on the link to an inventory which helps you determine the balance of your hemispheres.


Hemispheric Dominance Inventory