Characteristics of Left vs right Brain Dominance

Once, psychology had a simple formula for determining if you were left-brained or right-brained. Because the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain, someone who is left-handed was decided be right-brained. Furthermore, someone who is right-handed must be left-brained, because the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain.

That seemed to make so much sense. Of course, like most issues in psychology, things aren’t so simple. Instead, people must go against the grain of deep cultural ideals to find out the truths of the matter.

For example, because about 92% of the global population is right-handed, wouldn’t this suggest that 92% of the global population is left-brained? Indeed, there is an astoundingly high correlation between the ‘right’ hand being the ‘right’ way to do things (in all cultures, past and present, right is either the ‘default’ hand or the ‘graceful’ or ‘correct’ hand – Chinese calligraphy is designed for right-handed people, both the French and Latin words “droit” and “dexter,” which mean “right,” translate to terms adroit and dexterious – correct and graceful…alternatively, the English word left comes from the Anglo-saxon lyft, meaning “weak,” and the latin word for left is sinistra – English form sinister). This correlation might lead you to believe that 92% of the global population indeed IS left-brained, and that right-hand is right thinking.

Does this mean, then, that all right handed people think the “right” way and all left-handed people think sinisterly? Of course not. Human society as a whole has evolved past this primitive “Us vs. Them” mentality of forcing left-handed children to learn to use their right hands to write or be punished.

Still, some would suggest that your handedness determines which side of the brain you primarily use. So, what are the characteristics specifically of left-brained vs. right-brained people.

Left-brained people are:
*Sequential. They take tasks and do them one at a time. To find a particular sheet of paper from a stack, they would look at one, analyze to see if it was the piece they were looking for, then go to the next one.

*Analytical. They look for reasons and causes for everything, and from these causes, they find effects.

*Verbal. Generally, they want to hear the message clearly to understand it.

*Logical. They have an internalized code that they use to process information in a step-by-step process.

*Focused on grammar, patterns, literal meanings. The content of words means more to these people than the delivery, so they might be more captivated by the speaker or writer’s use of parallel structure or rhyme (some recognizable pattern) in speaking, than anything else.

Right-brained people are:
*Simultaneous. They take tasks and look at the broader pictures of them. In the previously mentioned search example, they might spread all the papers out and look at all of them at once.

*Holistic. The specific line of causes and effects aren’t as important as the entire mechanism as a whole. Furthermore, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

*Imagistic. The actual words in a message aren’t as important as the mental images or emotions evoked.

*Intuitive. Information is processed by insight and “what feels right” rather than a set code.

*Focused on intonation, context, and pragmatic meaning. The most important information to right-brained people is the tone of voice, or volume, or some aspect of the speaker or writer’s delivery. The deeper meaning is more important than the obvious facade of a sentence, word or phrase.

Ask yourself this: if you are right handed, are you completely left-brained? If you are left handed, do you fit all the qualities of the right-brained person?

The fact is that, first of all, there is no cut-and-dry way to determine whether you are right-brained or left-brained. Handedness especially can’t determine the way you think fundamentally. Furthermore, most people are not completely right-brained or completely left-brained. Most are some of both – so chances are, you could’ve identified with a few points from each. So, taking a few traits from both “sides,” be logical and take a holistic approach to the entire situation of left vs. right brain dominance.