Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Leveraging Your Whole Brain

Of all the natural predispositions, the most fundamental one is the intellectual orientation of the individual. This determines the choices and interests which he/she would pursue from the present moment onwards. If we were to look at the surface, the brain is divided into two hemispheres. There is the common hypothesis that the left brain tends towards logical activities and the right brain towards creative ones. If we were to go deeper we would find that any individual uses both the faculties of the brain, but at different points in time for specific activities. This is possible because both the hemispheres are connected. In fact in rare cases when they were not connected the individuals found it difficult to talk. Language although predominantly a left brain activity needs you to access the right brain faculties for humor and imagination. In a study of poetry, for instance initially it was thought that the poet has exceptional verbal ability. After a thorough introspection by poets themselves it was discovered that poetry is not all about linguistic convulsions but also about the emotional intensity, which is a tendency associated with the right brain.

If we look at Mathematics, we find that story problems need a combination of verbal and mathematical abilities- two different faculties in the same left brain hemisphere. In the case of Geometry, what is needed is a combination of visual-spatial and logical abilities where the former is associated with the right brain and the latter with the left brain. Without the connection it is rather difficult to solve problems in Geometry. This fact, although difficult to observe is of utmost importance to draw a clear picture of the nature of intellectual activities. It is in this light that we can tell the difference between intellectualism and intelligence. It would therefore be wise not to draw conclusions based on scores in I.Q.tests as they are not designed to assess every intellectual activity that the brain is capable of.

In the brain hemispheric tests, the objective is to show your hemispheric dominance. After the result of the test, it gives some inputs into the nature of activities that you would tend to pursue and areas where you would face difficulties. Usually, most individuals exhibit either left brain dominance or right brain dominance but there is a minority which has a balanced hemispheric dominance. They use both the hemispheres equally. Although, it is thought that one needs to use both the hemispheres in order to be capable of multiple activities, the whole brain dominant individual tends to experience conflicts in decision making, which he/she may overcome by prioritizing the nature of intellectual activity. For example; he/she may decide to be practical when it comes to mundane activities and may prefer putting away the creative dimension for the time being. The same person may reject common sense when the need of the hour is to find a creative solution. Knowing your brain hemispheric dominance helps you understand your strengths and limitations but what helps you more is leveraging your intellectual orientation depending on the nature of your activity and of course what helps you most is to play it by the ear instead of going by the rule book.     


Cheenu Srinivasan said...

One way to extend oneself is to ascertain one's dominant disposition and with that recognition work with initiatives led from the other side.

The brain is plastic enough to learn new tricks and over time one could strengthen both hemispheres and thereby keep growing.

Unknown said...

That is a valid point. The brain receives more experiences and becomes plastic as coordination strenghtens. You then discover newer ways of thinking and this helps in developing your whole brain and leveraging it for enriching cognitive experiences.