Friday, August 28, 2009

Right Brain- Left Brain and Art

Robert Genn’s twice weekly column ‘The Painter's Keys’ stirred my interest in right brain and left brain activity. It got me thinking you might say with my left brain. Customarily I don’t do much thinking about how I think. I realize thinking is critical and persuasive. Thinking for Rene Descartes was the evidence he required to verify his existence. “I think, therefore I am.” To arrive at his conclusion Rene was using his left brain.

According to this theory of the structure and functions of the mind which was developed through research in the late 1960’s the human brain has two ways of thinking. The right hemisphere or right brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive, subjective and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture (holistically) and then the details. The left brain is verbal and processes information in an analytical, objective and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. American psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1981 for his 1960’s work in this research field. , although subsequent research has show things aren't quite as polarized as once thought (nor as simple).

I took the test. Apparently according to this quiz I am 75% right brained dominant. So with the other 25% I must have managed a great deal of administrative and organizational and journalistic projects over my lifetime. My son Jeff will appreciate this line. "If the left brain controls the right hand, then only left-handed people are in their right minds." Judging from the most of the material I read on the subject we have pretty much bought this concept.

If you want to read something clinical that blasts holes in the notion that one hemisphere dominates your personality then follow this link in which the dancing girl spins. She will be moving for you either clockwise or anti clockwise depending upon whether your right or left brain is dominant is the popular theory. There is a suggestion that you try to focus to change your perception that the dancer is moving in the opposite direction to your initial impression. My initial perception was that she was turning clockwise which is a right brain observation. But as I became absorbed in mentally processing the words beside the picture I was suddenly conscious that she was dancing anticlockwise. She switched a couple of times as I gazed. This Neurolgica blog demythologizes the right and left brain beliefs with some scientific explanations of how our brain sides are massively interconnected and work together as a seamless whole.

You can subscribe FREE to Robert Genn’s newsletter. Here is his welcome letter.

Here is a great page with resource articles on right and left hemisphere influence on the art of painting.

Take the right brain/left brain quiz

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