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How to Tell if You Are Left-Brained or Right-Brained

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Both sides of the brain are used for most mental functions, yet each performs specific functions. The right side of the brain tends to have a stronger role in mental tasks that involve visual, intuitive and holistic thinking, and the left side of the brain is more strongly involved in language, numbers and logical-thinking tasks. Understanding whether you prefer to use left-brain or right-brain thinking can help you to determine where your strengths lie and perhaps choose a career that matches these strengths. It can also help you identify the fastest way for you to learn new information and find areas that need improvement in order for you to have a more rounded style of thinking.

Consider your approach to attacking a problem. Right-brain thinkers will look at the relationships between parts of the issue while left-brain thinkers will use data and analysis in order to make sense of a problem.

Think about how you generate solutions. Creativity, intuition and brainstorming are comfortable problem-solving skills for right-brained thinkers. Using systematic analysis of facts to generate the next logical step is agreeable to left-brained thinkers.

Imagine your preferred scenario for working with a group of people. People who are right-brain-dominant prefer groups where many people work on many topics at once using lots of questions, conversation and brainstorming. Left-brain-dominant people prefer groups where individuals are each assigned a particular task so the entire job is completed in a systematic, orderly fashion.

Consider what type of information you remember best. Information that is presented visually is more appealing to right-brained people, while left-brained people prefer information to be presented verbally.

Visualize your ideal study situation. Right-brain-dominant people prefer to study with sound or music in the background and like to move around frequently, while those who are left-brain-dominant want a more formal study environment with bright lights and a quiet chair. The right-brained prefer to process information in a varied order while the left-brained process information linearly. Left-brained people are also more likely to plan out their study time, while a right-brained person prefers to be more impulsive about it.

Tip

Most people have some traits associated with right-brain dominance and some traits associated with the left. Neither set of traits is superior to the other. The goal is simply to understand your thought patterns.

Prepare study notes in a format that best suits your dominant-thinking type. Use lots of pictures, mind-maps and flow charts to best stimulate the right side of the brain, or create logically ordered lists of notes to activate the left side of the brain.

Use your style of thinking to your advantage by choosing a career that is a fit for your talents. Managers tend to be left-brain dominant, as this job requires organizing and structuring. Social workers tend to be right-brain dominant as their ability to synthesize and understand relationships and emotions helps give them insights into difficult situations.

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