Left Brain Right Brain




Left Brain Right Brain


Roger Sperry initiated the study of the relationship between the brain’s right and left hemispheres.  His significant research clearly demonstrated that the brain is divided into two major parts or hemispheres, the right brain and the left brain.  His research also identified that each of the parts of the brain specializes in its own style of thinking, processes information differently, and has different capabilities.  Sperry found that the left half of the brain tends to function by processing information in an analytical, rational, logical, sequential way.  The right half of the brain tends to function by recognizing relationships, integrating and synthesizing information, and arriving at intuitive insights.


Additionally, he found that people prefer one type of thinking over the other.  For example, a person who is “left-brained” is often said to be more logical, analytical and objective, while a “right-brained” person is said to be more intuitive, creative, and subjective.



The Left Brain


The left brain is associated with verbal, logical, and analytical thinking.  It excels in naming and categorizing things, symbolic abstraction, speech, reading, writing, arithmetic.  The left brain is very linear as it places things in sequential order.


The left-brain is often described as being better at:

  • · Language
  • · Logic
  • · Critical thinking
  • · Numbers
  • · Reasoning



The Right Brain


The right brain functions in a non-verbal manner and excels in visual, spatial, perceptual, and intuitive information.  The right brain’s style of processing is nonlinear and non-sequential.  The right brain looks at the whole picture and quickly seeks to determine the spatial relationships of all the parts as they relate to the whole.  The right brain is often associated with the realm of creativity.


Some of the abilities associated with the right side of the brain include:

  • · Recognizing faces
  • · Expressing emotions
  • · Reading emotions
  • · Color
  • · Visual Images
  • · Music
  • · Intuition
  • · Creativity




Linear Holistic
Looks at parts Looks at wholes
Logical Intuitive
Critical Thinking Creative Thinking
Sequential Random
Sequence Imagination
Systematic Casual
Verbal Nonverbal
Factual Visual
Words Images
Lists Dimension
Digital Spatial
Symbolic Concrete
Analysis Daydreaming
Reality-Based Fantasy-Oriented
Analytic Synthetic
Abstract Sensory
Rational Emotional
Objective Subjective
Black & White Color
Convergent Divergent
Numbers Rhythm
Pattern User Pattern Seeker






Brain Dominance

According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking.  We tend to process information using our dominant side.  However, the learning process is enhanced when all of our senses are used including our less dominate hemisphere. 




Whole Brain

Research into the brain’s function and individuals’ brain dominance was further enhanced by Ned Hermann.  Herrmann drew on the work of Sperry and developed the theory of brain dominance where people develop a dominant mode of thinking preference.  These can range from an analytical “left brain” approach to “right brain” approaches involving pattern matching and intuitive understanding.


Herrmann then went onto develop the four-quadrant model of cognitive preferences and a questionnaire called the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). The inspiration for this model came from dividing the brain into as four different systems with four preferred styles:


A: Left cerebral hemisphere – analytical

B: Left limbic system – sequential

C: Right limbic system – interpersonal

D: Right cerebral hemisphere – imaginative



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