Thursday, May 20, 2010

all you never wanted to know about my brain

Have you ever tested to see if you are right brained or left? I just took this test and it says I responded as a right brained person to 9 of the questions, and as a left brained person to 9 as well... the test then concluded I am a left brained person, and to be honest I'm fine with that because I'm right eye dominant, right handed and I like to talk on the phone with my left ear (ears don't cross hemispheres) and pretty much everyone in my family will tell you I'm very business like one the phone, impersonal, and not that much fun. I also have trouble seeing the "big picture" until it is pointed out to me directly. Plus every other time I've taken these tests it says I'm left brained too. Maybe that's why I like singing but don't care to study music so much...

Another interesting fact I learned was that facial expressions can differ from one side of your face. If you take a photo of someone, cut it in half and flip it, putting left sides together and your right sides together the expressions can be exaggerated or muted. See this:

left+left/ regular/ right+right

 When we were in 6th grade my teacher did this to us. Not surprisingly I had the most symmetrical face in the class. I'm guessing it's because although my left brain is dominant, my right brain has a lot of stuff going on too. 

This study was conducted by a psychologist about 10 years ago. Basically the study suggests that the vast majority of faces are not symmetrical, because most individuals are more dominant in one hemisphere of their brain. It also raised the possibility that each side of our face could express different emotions at the same time. The study focused on the idea the people were in fact two people, one dominant, and one sort of sitting in the background, not really showing up all that often; because every human brain has the capability of thinking with each side independently, at the same time.   

side note: as I was typing this I started some "experiments" of my own. I learned that the quizzical look you do where you lift one eyebrow I can only do with the right side of my face (left brain:logic) and the half smile thing people do I can only do with the left side of my face (right brain: artistic, acting, emotionally expressive). I'm like a text book case of this stuff!

Our personality can be thought of as the result of the way and amounts the two sides of our brain interact, or don't interact. Simplified "left brain" types are very analytical and orderly, where as "right brain" people are more unpredictable, artistic and creative. But we draw upon specific sides of the brain for certain activities, and a combination of both is usually necessary. However, the choices of which brain is in control of which situations is what determines our character, forges our personality.

Because of the way the education system is set up, most children lose the highly creative capabilities of the brain when they enter school. Most children rank highly creative, but by adulthood only about 2% still have that highly creative right brain function.

Our conscious mind can only focus on data from one side of the brain at a time. It can switch back and forth very quickly, but that isn't very efficient and usually one side eventually takes dominance in the situation. In modern society that brain that wins is usually the left side. Because the two brains see the world in vastly different ways, and usually the left side just "doesn't get" what the right side is trying to do it will  usually dismisses anything significant from that side as being "flaky".

Because of this one side taking control, it appears most people will never be able to reach their full potential. Sometimes skills the right brain can handle better, are routinely handled with less skill by the left brain. Ideally both brains work together in people with optimum mental ability (ie: me... kidding. But seriously, I could be the next Einstein, aren't you excited to tell people you read my blog before i took over the world? I mean changed it for the better).

Although the left brain takes the stage (hypothetically of course, I'm pretty sure the left side would have nothing to do with such nonsense as stages...) during most daily activities, the left brain can be shut off by doing activities such as creative writing or listening to music (sans words, that would encourage the left brain to pipe in). The right brain however rules the night. Most dreams defy logic because the left brain is taking a back seat and the right brain is getting to drive.

Quick test to see how active your right brain is: Find the man in the beans. GO!

Find the man in the beans
If you found him in less than three seconds you have high right brain activity. Good for you!

If it took you between 3 seconds and 1 minute, your right brain is normally active.

And if it took you more than a minute, you have an inactive right brain, and are probably a bore. Or you need to put your glasses on.

I found it in about 10 seconds, but only after I decided to close my right eye; which may have been cheating, but it was almost instantaneous after the right one was closed. Once again, text book. I should be studied in a lab.

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