Sunday, January 25, 2015

Are You A Right-Brain Or Left-Brain Thinker?

The two sides of the human brain have distinct abilities unique to either the right side or left side.  An individual's strengths and weaknesses are often based on which side of the brain is dominant.  It's always been presented to me as left-brained being the logical, methodical, and pragmatic side and right-brained is the creative side.  There have been books written on this phenomenon.

At least that's the way I've always understood left vs. right brain.

The first thought is that writers must be right-brained since writing is a creative effort.  And many writers are also involved in other creative endeavors such as various forms of art and music.  But it seems to me that's only partly true.

As a writer, I certainly deal with my right brain creative side.  But as a writer, I also need my left brain methodical, logical, pragmatic side as part of my creative effort.  I would consider doing research as being methodical left-brained.  And then there's the switch over from right brain creative to left brain logical when writers go into edit mode.  And that edit mode is necessary in order to take a creative effort and hone it into a marketable effort.  And the many facets of self-promotion for our books is certainly methodical and logical.

I recently came across a ten question quiz to test whether someone is a right brain thinker or a left brain thinker.  Not sure I agree with all the conclusions, but I found it interesting.

Are you ready?

1)  Are you better at math and science than art and literature?

If your answer is YES:  People who are left-brained thinkers (logic) are often better at math and science over art and literature.

If your answer is NO:  People who are right-brained thinkers (creative) are usually better at art and literature than math and science.

2)  Do you love playing sports outdoors over reading indoors?

If your answer is YES:  Right-brain thinkers (creative) enjoy the great outdoors and athletics.

If your answer is NO:  People who are left-brained (logic) usually prefer staying indoors and reading.

3)  Do you prefer verbal communication over physical communication?

If your answer is YES:  Left-brain thinkers (logic) love to work things out by talking.

If your answer is NO:  Right-brain thinkers (creative) believe actions speak louder than words.

4)  Would you rather draw pictures freehand instead of putting together a model airplane?

If your answer is YES:  Those who are right-brained (creative) are not fans of tremendous structure and prefer having some creativity at work.

If your answer is NO:  Those who are left-brained (logic) are in need of structure and prefer having specific guidelines at work.

5)  Do you like being in groups more than being alone? (this goes along with question #2)

If your answer is YES:  Group oriented people are usually right-brained (creative).

If your answer is NO:  Loners are usually left-brained (logic).

6)  When given instructions, are lots of pictures easier to understand than text?

If your answer is YES:  Right-brained (creative) people love picture explanations.

If your answer is NO:  Left-brained (logic) people much prefer text explanations.

7)  Have you noticed that you're better at providing the details and necessary information for a project than coming up with the initial idea?

If your answer is YES:  Left-brained (logic) are more into processing information and details than being involved in the creative process.

If your answer is NO:  Right-brained (creative) are more interested in the initial creative process rather than the information gathering.

8)  Do you need a quiet environment when you are working?

If your answer is YES:  Left-brain (logic) people usually need quiet environments.

If your answer is NO:  Right-brain (creative) people don't mind a bustling background as they work.

9)  Would you enjoy helping someone solve a relationship problem more than a math problem?

If your answer is YES:  Solving relationship problems is a natural for right-brain thinkers (creative).

If your answer is NO:  Solving math and technical problems is right up the alley of the left-brained (logic).

10)  If you were a writer, would you prefer to write non-fiction books instead of fiction?

If your answer is YES:  The left-brained (logic) are obsessed with details and truth.

If your answer is NO:  The right-brained (creative) are more imaginative.

As I said, there are one or two of the conclusions that I disagree with.  How about you?


Ashantay said...

I think these quizzes are fun, but don't put much stock in the conclusions. My truth is in the middle, which you also noted in your intro. I suspect most people are a combo. Assigning people labels puts them in a box, which isn't scientific- it's a control issue.

Lynda Coker said...

Yep, I'm also definitely in the middle. But like you, there were a few of the conclusions that seemed totally off. That's probably because I was using the wrong side of my brain at the time. :) Fun post, really enjoyed it.

Mary Gillgannon said...

Very interesting quiz, Samantha. I scored somewhere in the middle. Which is why I agree with you that writing involves both sides of the brain. And I know several successful fiction writers who were engineers and even scientists, so you really can't stereotype writers as right-brained.

Samantha Gentry said...

Ashantay: If someone was totally right brained or totally left brained, that would make them somewhat dysfunctional in the real world. To be totally left brained and only relate to the logical and methodical, that person wouldn't be able to appreciate music, art, literature or even the beauty of a glorious sunset. Same concept for someone totally right brained, they wouldn't be able to deal with the details of modern society [such as computers :)].

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Lynda: LOL...I know what you mean about probably using the wrong side of my brain in certain situations.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: So true...John Grisham and Scott Turow are both attorneys, Robin Cooke and Michael Crichton are both medical doctors. Yet all 4 of these practitioners of logical, pragmatic, and methodical professions are also successful novelists.

Thanks for your comment.

Hebby Roman said...

Cool quiz, Samantha, but it left me scratching my head because I tend to switch back and forth. My graduate degree is in finance and accounting and I taught high school Algebra and was a Financial Analyst. But my very first loves are writing and history. So, I guess not clear cut for me, either.

Samantha Gentry said...

Hebby: I think most people use both in their daily life, though perhaps not in equal proportions. Some lean more to the right side and some more to the left side, but definitely both. The unusual exception would be the person who leans heavily on one side without giving credence to the other side.

Thanks for your comment.