Theory of Brain Lateralization

Brain Lateralization theory stress on the fact that the two halves of the brain known as right and left hemispheres function differently but yet interdependently. If we study the brain anatomy, we will understand that the brain is divided into 2 hemispheres which are connected by the corpus callosum. Both these hemispheres regulate the body movement and receive the sensory stimuli from the opposite side of the body. For example, the left hemisphere controls the movement and sensory stimuli of the right side of the body.

Left Hemisphere: The left hemisphere is more analytical in nature and pays attention to details, handles assignments or processes information sequentially and takes care of the tasks like writing, reading and speaking. This hemisphere of the brain is also concerned with reasoning, rationality, logic, discipline & rules and dealing with hard facts. People with strong left hemisphere have an inclination for science, maths and technology, have a clear picture of their goals due to a clear sense of planning, are physically quite active and extroverted in nature. The left hemisphere controls the right portion of the body.

Right Hemisphere: The right hemisphere deals with the softer facets of life. This hemisphere of the brain is concerned with emotions, feelings, intuitions, visualization, spatial knowledge, creativity and recognizing patterns. Right hemisphere also helps in making inferences and provides a holistic perception, as a result of which the right hemisphere is helpful in developing a strong self perception or sense of self-awareness. Right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, looks after the motor skills, sports & play, risk enduring capabilities, variety, flexibility and people with strong right hemisphere are mostly introverts.

Lateralization of the Brain

In case of a normal brain, information will travel from the left hemisphere and pass through the corpus callosum to the right hemisphere of the brain and the reverse is equally true. Both the hemispheres of the brain function interdependently and the information is solely not processed by only a single hemisphere. Lateralization theory in psychology believes that one hemisphere dominates while carrying out certain tasks or functions. However, the degree or the extent of lateralization will differ from person to person or individual cases. For example, in case of right handed people, the language control function is controlled by their left hemisphere, whereas, in the case of left handed people this function is controlled by the right hemisphere of their brain. Whichever task one performs, one hemisphere of the brain will always dominate, though the other hemisphere will also have a role to play while handling that task to some extent. For example, while playing cricket sports (which is a right hemisphere governed activity) if we are bothered about excessive rules & regulations (which is related to left hemisphere), we would lose interest from the game, though rules & regulations are an integral part of this game.

Few Important Facts Related to the Lateralization Theory of Brain

  • An understanding of the brain lateralization process will enhance the efficiency by consciously allowing one hemisphere of the brain to handle specific tasks and making use of the correct hemisphere for catering to diverse task requirements. For example, while problem solving we make use of the left hemisphere for gathering details or the information, on the other hand, we use the right hemisphere while brainstorming or idea generation.
  • Right from our childhood we tend to have ‘Brain Dominance’, which means one hemisphere of the brain will always dominate and will be overused.
  • We have a tendency to dislike or distrust the other hemisphere of the brain which is not used very much. This attitude can be projected on oneself or onto other people. For example, research has revealed that employees who are ruled by their right hemisphere, might find their co-workers to be boring or uninteresting if they are oriented towards their left hemisphere. On the other hand, employees with predominant left hemisphere would perceive the right hemisphere co-workers to be unreliable or highly disorganized.
  • One should develop both the hemispheres by enhancing the skills of the less dominant hemisphere in the following ways:

    1. By increasing awareness of both the modes of the hemisphere and analyzing which hemispheric mode dominates while performing various functions, the feeling which one experiences while functioning in a given hemispheric mode and the sensations in the mind and body which one goes through. This requires a thorough assessment or monitoring of the most dominant hemispheric mode.
    2. By increasing the awareness of the hemispheric shift or transition by paying attention to the mental and physical changes which one will have to undergo during this transition.
    3. By developing a sense of clarity or understanding about the requirement of each task which we perform.
    4. By acknowledging the presence or the importance of the other hemisphere while performing any task. For example, while taking care of a serious nature of work which requires logical reasoning, one can make some effort to allow creativity or some humor at work. This change can be brought about with an attitudinal change.
    5. By altering our lifestyle for allowing the other hemisphere to express itself.
    6. By gaining an understanding about the hemispheric preference of other people for improving relationship or communication with other people. If we take into consideration the successful examples of many internationally famed public speakers, they skillfully make frequent changes between the hemispheres for keeping their audience engaged and interested.
    7. By improving awareness about the 90 minutes brain cycle when the brain tends towards a hemisphere and then towards the other hemisphere.
    8. By developing an understanding about the frustration or discontentment which might develop because of the usage of wrong hemisphere while handling various tasks.

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