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  August 10, 2012
The World is All Right...

 

I was having a conversation with a friend last week when the topic of high school school drop-outs came up.

She immediately threw her hand to her head ...shouting "Losers!"...

 

I look at her in bewilderment...and then started to laugh out loud...

In her zeal to declare high school drop-outs "losers"... she had mistakenly put her left hand to her forehead... creating a "J" rather than the intended "L".

I asked her if the "J" was subliminally referring to me...

Suddenly realizing what she had done, she immediately started laughing with me...

"It’s not fair!", she exclaimed, "the world is biased against left-handers... and I just proved it".

She went on to list the many "right-handed" items that she’s forced to endure being left-handed...

"Can-openers, scissors, all-types of doors, wrist-watches, coffee cups, left-to-right writing, and computer keyboards and mice are all made to make life difficult for left-handed people."

And I added... and of course the letter "L" on one’s forehead as they mock "losers"...

Several studies show that although left-handers only represent approximately 12% of the world’s population they are over-represented when it comes to premier athletics (43%), Mensa membership (21%), and artists (57%) so being left handed does have its advantages, I suppose.

So what causes a person to become right or left handed and are there other significant differences between "righties" and "lefties"?

The Brain

The human brain is made up of three distinct parts, the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain.

The forebrain consists of the cerebrum, thalamus, and the hypothalamus.

The midbrain contains the tectum, and tegmentum.

The hindbrain consists of the cerebellum, pons and medulla.   

In the forebrain , the cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the brain and is associated with all higher brain functions such as thought, memory, and motor skills.

The cerebrum is divided into four sections or lobes each performing certain functions:

Frontal Lobe: Reasoning, logic, speech, movement, emotions, and problem-solving

Parietal Lobe: Orientation, recognition, perception of stimuli

Occipital Lobe: Visual Processing

Temporal Lobe: Perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory and speech

The cerebrum is divided into two very distinct cerebral cortex hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum.

These cerebral hemispheres appear to be symmetrical, each containing the four lobes described above, yet scientists have discovered that the left and right sides of the brain actually process information very differently.

The Left Brain

The left side of the brain is associated with logic, analysis, and sequential processing. It helps us to understand mathematics, complex problems, and language. The left brain helps us to retain facts, figures and the words to songs. It allows us to do computations, follow instructions, and understand cause and affect relationships.

The left brain is strategic and logical.

Mr. Spock is, without a doubt, left brained.

Right-handed individuals tend to be more left-brain dominated.

The Right Brain

The right side of the brain is associated with creativity, imagination, and visual thinking. It allows us to draw a picture on a blank piece of paper, dance to the beat of a song, or day dream. The right side is about feelings and intuition. It allows us to remember the melody and rhythm of a song, close our eyes and draw mental pictures, and create fantasies.

The right brain controls feeling and emotion.

Captain Kirk is definitely right brained dominated.

Left-handed individuals tend to be more right-brain dominated.

And not or

For many of us, we show significant characteristics of both right and left brains (which is good... since we typically all have both halves working). We aren’t left brained or right brained... we are simply left brained and right brained. This is what keeps us balanced.

Some of the best engineers are dreamers and artists but can also do the complex calculations and computations needed to create and analyze new designs. 

Some of the most talented musicians are incredible technicians who have mastered their instrument through hours of practice and hard work.

I recently had the opportunity to see an incredible TED Talks presentation by neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor who talks about her harrowing brain experience.  I was completely enthralled as she, as a neurologist, decribes in detail, what happened to her as her brain stopped working.

Now myself, I seem have an aptitude for calculating numbers in my head or unscrambling letters to make known words (Jumble).

I can do mental mathematics because I can visualize the numbers in my head as if they were written on a piece of paper and then mentally perform the addition, subtraction, multiplication or division by virtually performing the various mathematical steps in my head as though I were using a piece of paper and pencil.

I also excel at Jumble because I visualize the letters being on a small "scrabble-like" tile in mind. I will continue to shuffle the tiles mentally until I get a 5 or 6-letter word match.

The talent, in these examples, might be my ability to visualize the numbers or letter, however it takes also takes a great deal of sequential processing to actually perform the mathematics or shuffling of letter tiles until a word match is found.

Here I described talents that sound incredibly right brained - highly defined visual thinking... but anyone who knows me well... will tell you that I am one of the most left brained individuals that they know.

I hardly think of myself as an aberration as a human being. I believe, in fact, that most people have similar talents whereas they can use the different parts of the brain to think, calculate, feel, visualize, process, reason, sense, communicate, and/or retain information.

Whether or not we are right-handed or left-handed, we all have the capabilities to be someone special if we use our brain to its fullest capacity.

Many studies have shown that we need to fully exercise our brains on a regular basis in order to keep it healthy and strong (just as we also need to exercise our bodies).

In the same way that we wouldn’t just exercise only one-half of our bodies, we should try to find ways to exercise both sides of our brains in ways to add creativity, non-linear thinking, analytics, dreaming, logic, laughter/humor, visualizations, and/or problem solver.

Keeping our bodies and minds well exercised and nourished will help us live long and productive lives...

...lives worth living...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we visualize the greatness in all of us...  


Jim Kalb
President
jimk@optifuse.com
www.optifuse.com

www.optifuse.blogspot.com (blog archive)


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