Before this assignment I had never given much thought to how much our dominant brain hemisphere impacts our behavior. Through learning more about the different characteristics associated with right and left brain orientation. I’ve come to realize how large of an impact our brains have not only on how we approach our environment, but how we relate to one another. According to the Pink (2005, p. 13), the left brain is more sequential, specializes in text and is concerned with detail. The right brain is simultaneous, specializes in content and is concerned with the big picture of things. Throughout history and even now our society has seemed to favor individuals that are more left-brained oriented and are skilled at math and science and more deliberative thinking (2005, p. 29). As a right brain oriented person I have found it frustrating that creative ability has seemed to hold little value as far as intellectual aptitudes are concerned. The quiz seemed to be a pretty accurate reflection of my right-brained orientation; I scored a 14 on right brain dominance and a 5 on left brain dominance.
I’ve always considered myself more right-brained, I’m artistic, I absolutely hate math, and I really hate being given a set of direct instructions for anything. But part of me has always wished that I could be more left-brained, mostly because I grew up believing that my “creative talents” would lead to a life of struggle in low paying jobs. While my best friend’s high aptitude in math and science (she is now a Mechanical Engineering major at UT) would lead to success and a high-paying career.
According to Pink (2005, p. 46), due to the current shift that outsourcing and technical advancement have brought over the past decade, the right brain oriented among us might start having the upper-hand in the working world. I think this shift has yet to occur in a very noticeable way for most of us – my engineering friend will still start of making a great deal more than I will as a school psychologist, but I can see where he’s coming from with this argument. With most left-brained oriented jobs – from computer programming to law are becoming less and less dependent upon people and American people at that.
One of the main issues with automation and outsourcing that Pink and that I have also noticed is the lack of personal contact that these two options offer consumers (2005, p. 61). For example, I’m constantly having technical issues with my cable and instead of getting to talk directly with a repairman of some sort; my phone call is transferred to someone in India that then attempts to help me solve the technical issue myself. This might be a great deal for Time Warner; I’m sure it saves them lots of money, but as a costumer I end up less than satisfied with my service. There is definitely a niche is costumer service that only the right-brain can fill– I would much rather talk face to face with someone who can not only empathize with me being stressed at the thought of missing The Real Housewives reunion episode but can also physically come and fix the problem for me.
As someone who is predominantly right-brained I feel like put extra emphasis and value on interpersonal interactions. This is why I think it bothers me so much when I can’t communicate effectively with others. According to (Shamay-Tsoory, Tomer, and Goldsher, Berger, and Aharon-Peretz 2004, p. 1114), it has been found that the right brain is responsible for mediation of emotions and that people with damage to the right hemisphere of their brain show deficits in empathic responses. It can be drawn from this that right-brained individuals might show slightly more empathetic responses than those that are more left-brained oriented. I think this may make me a more effective decoder of nonverbal messages in the behavior of others. The empathy that I’m able to feel for others may make it easier for me to decode those nonverbal cues than it would be for someone more left-brained. One thing that I think definitely affects my communication is I tend to notice more how something is being said rather than what is being said. This can be problematic when someone may say something harmless in a negative tone because I tend put more emphasis on the delivery rather than the message, even when the tone may have not have anything to do with me.
According to Szaflarski, Holland, Schmithorst, and Byars (2006, p. 202), It has been found that genetic factors contribute to lateralization in brain, which makes sense in my case because from what I’ve observed of my parents, both of them seem to be predominantly right-brained oriented. If genetics have anything to do with brain lateralization I was destined to be right-brained. I was also encouraged to embrace my tendency towards more creative activities rather than being forced to do math flash cards.
I think that my right-brained cognitive composition has good and bad effects on my relationships with others. As far as being able to be supportive of my friends by listening to them and offering support and advice I feel that being right-brained is definitely an advantage. I also think that I’m pretty good at reading the emotions of my friends which is a good skill to have, especially if you live with five roommates like I do. A downside of being right-brained is that I’m really disorganized and tend to be pretty messy and I’m also not very detail oriented in my planning – all things that have caused frustration in my relationships.
This quiz gives a little more detailed breakdown of what it means to be right or left brained and what areas of orientation you most fall under – http://www.wherecreativitygoestoschool.com/vancouver/left_right/rb_test.htm
Pink, D. H. (2005). A whole new mind. New York: Penguin Group
Shamay-Tsoory, S. G., Tomer, R. R., Goldsher, D. D., Berger, B. D., & Aharon-Peretz, J. J. (2004). Impairment in Cognitive and Affective Empathy in Patients with Brain Lesions: Anatomical and Cognitive Correlates. Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Neuropsychology, 26(8), 1113-1127. doi:10.1080/13803390490515531
Szaflarski, J. P., Holland, S. K., Schmithorst, V. J., & Byars, A. W. (2006). fMRI Study of Language Lateralization in Children and Adults. Human Brain Mapping, 27(3), 202-212. doi:10.1002/hbm.20177