Ah… the unruly right brain. We all know right-brained people – those out-of-the-box thinkers that confuse lefties with their random rhetoric, frustrate secretaries with their messy desks, and astonish everyone with their creative prowess. But what do all those right brain vs. left brain theories really mean? Are artists doomed to never be good at math? Are creative writers simply unable to think logically? Experience would tell us that perhaps it’s more complicated than just being one or the other. In fact, I’ll bet if you think about it, you can come up with a few things that you like to do, and even do very well, that don’t fit in with your generally “right-brained” or “left-brained” tendencies.
Right Brain Training: Artists, Therapists and the Corpus Collosum
There is reason to believe that adding a little left-brained-ness into the right-brain world can be a very good thing. A recent book, Touched by Fire, explores the fact that artistic people (who are notoriously right-brained) are more likely to suffer from manic-depression and other similar illnesses. While depressive illnesses cannot be solved purely by positive thinking, consider this: one technique used by many therapists (who are notoriously left-brained people) is to coach their patients to apply logic & reasoning to life’s circumstances in an attempt to combat negative emotions. While artists reap amazing things from their right brain, this left-brained objectivity helps balance out the random subjectivity that tends to worsen depression.
This evidence suggests that purposely connecting and utilizing the two sides of the brain results in optimal performance for both sides. Furthermore, studies have found evidence that there is a correlation between intelligence and the thickness of the corpus callosum – the tissue that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
Right Brain Training: Treating the Whole Brain
The idea that the left and right brains can help each other function optimally is an exciting idea for those in the cognitive training field. What it means is that when cognitive skills training is applied to the whole brain, both hemispheres benefit and grow stronger – and are therefore more able to help and communicate with each other. The goal should be holistic, functional connectedness that improves a person’s abilities to think, learn, reason and create, whether they tend to process information with the right brain or with the left.
Better memory, better attention skills, and better processing speed (all things that are results of effective, one-on-one brain training techniques) will make the whole brain – and a person’s whole life – better. So, the next time you get frustrated with a right-brained colleague, remember: two hemispheres are better than one.