Understanding How Our Brains Work

Posted on: September 16th, 2019 by Pat Mesiti No Comments

Have you heard the theory that the left side of our brain is for logic and rationale, while we use the right-side for creativity? I have some interest in how the brain works but have not explored this theory. I saw a test in a magazine for ‘Are you left or right- brained’ recently so I took it – really out of curiosity more than anything.

Question one: would you rather be marked on a maths test or a picture you have drawn or either. I chose the maths test.

Question two: Are you more comfortable holding a tennis racket in your right or left hand? Well, that is an easy question!

Question three: Would you rather work alone or in a team?

Question four: Would you rather base a decision on the facts or your intuition? For this one, I’ve gone with a combination of both.

Question five: What is better, learning by reading or learning by doing? I’ll go with doing.

Question six: Would you rather read fiction or nonfiction? I’ll go with nonfiction.

Question seven: Would you rather sculpt or do geometry? Seriously, who wants to do geometry? Sculpt.

Question eight: Would you rather learn a new language or acting skills? Look, I speak Italian. I like languages and travelling and already have public speaking skills, so a language please!

Question nine: Would you rather critique a movie or just sit back and enjoy it? The truth – I can do both simultaneously, so I’ll sit on the fence with this one.

Question ten: Would you rather have a great bank balance or a great adventure?

Question eleven: Do we judge others on their intention or their actions? I think we go with actions more than intention.

Question twelve: What is more important, what you say or how you say it. Another fence-sitting question. Both are important.

Question thirteen: What is more important, logic or emotion? Important is a strange word, as both are needed to make us human, but I’ll go with logic as that is more valuable when dealing with others and sometimes hard to achieve.

Question fourteen: Which is better music or podcasts? Sorry people, but I can’t resist a good tune.

Question fifteen: Would you rather write a story or a sonnet? I’m a born-story teller, while writing sonnets is mighty hard. Story, please.

Question sixteen: Do you rely on experiences or experts? I’m going to say both, as both are useful when making a decision.

Question seventeen: Do you speak so quickly people struggle to keep up or mumble slowly? I’m definitely capable of rapid-fire banter, so quickly is my choice.

Question eighteen: Do you forget people’s faces or names? I never forget a face, but names stuff me up!

Question nineteen: Is bottling up emotions pointless, necessary or okay sometimes? I’ll go with okay sometimes. We should not always speak our minds.

Question twenty: Would you rather play drums, Sudoko or either is fine. I’ll go with either, the truth is I’d rather do neither!!!

Question twenty-one: Would you find it easier to remember a weird name or weird hair colour. I’m hopeless with hair colouring, so I’ll go name.

Question twenty-two: Would you rather act in a play or be the stage manager? Acting please!!!

Question twenty-three: Would you rather read lying down or sitting up? Sitting up or I’ll fall to sleep.

Question twenty-three: When it comes to fashion, do you choose style or function? I’m Italian. Style first.

Question twenty-four: Would you rather have a strict schedule or play it by ear? I’m a play it by ear guy, I won’t pretend otherwise.

Question twenty-five: Would you rather be reliable or spontaneous? The truth is both, but that wasn’t an option for this question so spontaneous.

Question twenty-six: What do you dislike more, dirty dishes or a messy desk? Dirty dishes! Yuck.

Question twenty-seven: Would you rather be in a lab or sports field. The lab sounds fun but I chose sports field.

Question twenty-eight: Would you rather be five minutes early or fashionably late? On time, all the time!

Question twenty-nine: Would you rather listen to heavy metal or classical music. I’m Italian, let’s go with the opera!

Question thirty: Would you rather hear about an unsolved mystery or how someone solved it. I’ll go with the intrigue. Unsolved.

Question thirty-one: Do you prefer dogs or cats. Neither thanks.

Question thirty-two: Would you rather learn in a loud, crowded classroom or empty space. I like people, loud and crowded is for me.

Question thirty-three: Would you rather lead a group or be a member? I’m a bit of a leader, haven’t you noticed.

Question thirty-four: Do you prefer a fun or informative teacher? From a teacher I need information.

Okay, what did this test tell me? “Based on the answers you gave, we've determined that you are right brain dominant, which means you excel at abstract thought, art, and sports?” Well, given I’m a writer and speaker I’m glad to hear I excel in thought, and if you think of writing as an art, it’s not surprise I’m also strong at this. Sport? Okay, I jog.

But the experts do not support the left-right brain theory. This is what the reputable science website, Medical News Today, says about the theory:

Recent research suggests that the left brain versus right brain theory is not correct. A 2013 University of Utah study looked at 3-D pictures of over 1,000 people's brains. They measured the activity of the left and right hemispheres, using an MRI scanner. Their results show that a person uses both hemispheres of their brain and that there does not seem to be a dominant side. However, a person's brain activity does differ, depending on what task they are doing. Language centres in the brain are in the left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere is for emotion and nonverbal communication. The left side of the brain is more involved with attention to the internal world. The right side is more interested in attending to the external world. Studies show no difference in how men and women use the two sides of their brain.

Left-handed people use their brains differently from right-handed people but you can’t just say that all the functions are inverted. A 2014 study notes that up to 99 percent of right-handed individuals have the language centres in the left of the brain, but so do about 70 percent of left-handed individuals. Hemispheric dominance varies from person to person and with different activities. More research is needed for science to fully understand all of the factors that affect this.

So people, we are neither left or right brained! I say keep learning, reading and studying and use all of your brain every day, and don’t believe the cheesy left-right surveys you see in magazines, even if they are fun!


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Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.


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