Last weekend our grandson, Carsen, visited with us. We had a fun time playing Sorry, watching his favorite show — Brain Games — and playing with the stuffed puppies. Carsen is eight years old, and while he has some interest in art, he’s more interested in science.
We love having grandchildren visit. We enjoy talking with them, hearing about their likes and dislikes, and learning more about their thought processes. As someone with a keen interest in science — specifically natural sciences, oceanography, and zoology — Carsen definitely seems to have a unique way of looking at the world, one that’s much different from mine.
One of the Brain Game episodes we watched on Saturday dealt with questions about the right brain versus left brain concept. I’ve often laughed at the little quip that lefties are the only ones in their right mind, and I’ve always assumed that the right side of my brain is probably dominant. Of course, I know it’s not really an either/or proposition. We use both sides of our brain, and they work together more than people might have realized in the past.
Here’s an interesting article I stumbled across: Are You Left or Right Brain Dominant?
While browsing I also came across this quiz: Right Brain/Left Brain Test
For what it’s worth, my results show my brain leaning a bit toward the right side — 58% — but mostly my brain seems fairly well balanced. To me, that’s good news. I like a lot of left brain things — classical music and languages, for instance — yet definitely have a creative right brain streak.
But then I came across this picture:
What color do you see? Is this shoe green or pink? I see green, which — according to the test — means my left brain is dominant. If you see pink, you’re right-brained.
Of course, the familiar spinning dancer tells me I’m right-brained, so for me, it seems to be six of one and a half-dozen of the other, as the old saying goes.
Now, you might be wondering exactly what any of this has to do with a village. The answer is “Very little, actually.” Let me explain. When we picked Carsen up on Saturday morning and came back to our house, he made a remark as we drove through our neighborhood. “It’s almost like a little village here, isn’t it?” We nodded in agreement. Yes, the neighborhood does have that sort of feel about it.
I realized that I’ve often heard Carsen use analogies like that, mentally comparing one idea to another. “It’s almost like…” Yes, I’ve heard him say that many times about many different things.
My first thought was that this was indication of his logical, scientific approach to life. Using analogies is the way his brain makes sense of things, the way he orders the world around him. It seemed like quite a left brain thing to do. Until I thought about it a little more. Maybe analogies were part of right brain thinking.
It all got quite muddled in my mind. So, I was off and searching, coming across one test after another, wading through different theories, and in the end, getting more and more confused.
Here are a few other interesting articles on the subject:
The general consensus these days, it seems, it that the “dominant side of the brain” idea is mostly myth. While we may hold to the much-touted belief that creativity is a right-brain function, research today suggests that creativity might more accurately be described as an integration of both brain hemispheres.
That makes sense to me. I know I am a creative individual, and I know my creativity extends to both “right brain” and “left brain” activities.
And what about that green or pink shoe? Does it really tell you which side of your brain is dominant? I’m not so sure about that.
Quite simply, recent research tends to discount the right brain/left brain theories. While I don’t doubt that different individuals see the world differently and that Carsen’s thought processes are uniquely his own, we aren’t really ruled by one side of the brain or the other, and that’s how it should be.