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Left and Right SIDES OF THE BRAIN: Which is your dominant side?

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Biology 103
2000 Second Web Report
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LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES OF THE BRAIN: Which is your dominant side?

Trudell C. Smith

Do you prefer to study lying down or sitting up erect? This question is not only relative to your study habits but also which part of the brain you use to study. The brain is divided into parts, labeled left and right cerebral hemispheres. The ways of knowing that these two hemispheres exist are because there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal. The left mode is the "right-handed", left-hemisphere mode that is foursquare, upright, sensible, direct, true, hard-edged, unfanciful and forceful (1). The right mode is the "left-handed, right hemisphere mode that is curvy, flexible, more playful in its unexpected twist and turns, more complex, diagonal and fanciful (1). Later in this paper you will be able to take the Hemisphere Brain Dominance Test, to see which brain is more dominant than the other. Given by the brief descriptions of the two different modes, you may be able to tell why you prefer to study lying down or sitting up. Which is the your dominant side?

I know you are eager to take the Hemispheric Brain Dominance Test, but first let us understand the functions of each side of the brain. If you prefer to study lying down, you may use your right side to study more effectively. The right hemisphere processes information from whole to parts. Usually it sees the whole picture first before the details. If you are right brain, it may be difficult for you to follow a lecture without the professor had given the outline first. If that is the case, it may be best for you to read the chapter before class or ask the professor to give you the topic and outline of the next lecture. You may also have trouble writing outlines if you are right-brained. You would write the entire paper and then last, the outline (if required). The right hemisphere is spatial orientated, recognizes sequencing of symbols, objects, and events, appreciates music, non-verbal, emotional, empathic, witty and humorous. Other functions consist of drive, order, planning, and executive control (2).

If you study sitting up erect, you may be left lobe. The left hemisphere of the brain processes information from part to whole. In order to draw conclusions, it first takes pieces, lines them up and arranges them in logical order. When left-brain students read or listen, they look for pieces so that they can draw logical conclusions. They have no problem comprehending or expression oral or written language. The functions of the left hemisphere of the brain are verbal, rational, realistic, and rigid. Some problematic characteristics, which exist in the right hemisphere of the brain, are emotional comprehension and procession of symbols.

Left-brain students are verbal and have little trouble expressing themselves in words. Right brain students know how they feel but have trouble expressing it in words. An excellent illustration (of those who are right brain) is directions given by a left or right brain person. A left-brain person will say, "From here, go past Taylor Hall, walk across Merion Green, and the Campus Center is on the right". In contrast, a right brain person would say, "Go straight up there (pointing straight), you'll see Senior's Row on left and Merion dorm on the right, but keep going straight and the Campus Center should be following Public Safety's office on the right". This is relevant to study strategies because right brain students need to see everything visually. Directions, from a right brain person, will be better illustrated and if it is not written it is probably hard to remember. Right brain students are creative and need interesting ways to retain information.

During the 1960s further research on the corpus callosum caused scientist to hypothesize the capabilities of the two sides. A summary of observations showed that the mode of the left hemisphere is verbal and analytic, while that of the right is nonverbal and global. Nearly 24 epileptic patients received a life-saving neurosurgical procedure in the 1960s in which the corpus callosum, a large commissure of some 200 million connecting the two cerebral hemispheres, was detached During the 1960s further research on the corpus callosum caused scientist to hypothesize the capabilities of the two sides. A summary of observations showed that the mode of the left hemisphere is verbal and analytic, while that of the right is nonverbal and global. Nearly 24 epileptic patients received a life-saving neurosurgical procedure in the 1960s in which the corpus callosum, a large commissure of some 200 million connecting the two cerebral hemispheres, was detached (3). These operations were successful in controlling seizures, which the patients experienced every little side effect. These patients presented meuropsychologists with an opportunity to study the processes of each cerebral hemisphere individually. There exist a Split Brain experiment that is easy to do with your friends. To access the experiment click here(3). Listed below is a chart of physically differences of each side of the brain that may be proven facts that there exist two halves with different function (3). Left Right * Convolutions mature more rapidly * Convolutions mature less rapidly * Extends further posteriorly * Extends further anteriorly * Higher in density (more gray matter) * Larger and heavier * Planum temporate larger on left * Primary auditory larger on right * Larger insula * Smaller * Longer Sylvian fissure * Shorter * Double cingulated gyrus * Single * Larger lateral posterior nucleus * Larger medial geniculate nucleus * Larger inferior parietal lobule * Smaller This chart is used to show the structural asymmetries of the left and right side of the brain. Even though, these researches seem to have accurate data, there are myths about the brain's asymmetry. Some myths are that the left cerebral hemisphere is suppose to be the coldly logical, verbal and dominant half of the brain, while the right developed a reputation as the imaginative side, emotional, spatial aware but suppressed (6). Most myths were created after the split-brain research in the 1960s, which Roger Sperry of Caltech won a Nobel Prize. In most of the test, both sides of the brain played an active role in such processes. It is believed that the hemispheric research is young and the important features, in further research, should be how the two sides of the brain complement and combine in further research(6).

There are some differences between the left and right hemisphere of the brain but there is a pattern. The left-brain strategies are most often used in classrooms, where right brain students sometimes feel inadequate. However, you can be flexible and adapt material to the right side of your brain. Likewise, if you are predominately left brain, it is good to use both sides of the brain. We seem to forget to use the right side of the brain, which interprets information visually, creatively, and emotionally (5). One of the reasons why tests are done on hemispheric dominance is to encourage usage of the right side of the brain for learning. No one is totally left-brained or right-brained. Just as you have a dominant hand, eye, and foot, you probably have a dominant side of the brain. Now is the time to see which side of the brain you use the most: Hemisphere Brain Dominance Test (4).

Additional functions that consist of the right hemisphere are that it controls the movement of left body and the left voluntary gaze. Likewise, the left hemisphere controls movement of the right body and the right voluntary gaze (2). Based on the lab done in class about the "Think-Act", the question was raised whether it takes time to think? I raise a few new questions, if the quick reaction of thinking is relevant to the reading of shapes/words? What effects of thinking time have on the clicking of the mouse with the right/left hand? These two questions will be great to find out because if there is a consistency in the results there could be a difference between the right and left lobe functions. For right lobe consist of symbols and fundamentals of the left side of the body and the left lobe consist of language and fundamentals of the right side of the body.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this web paper. My purpose was to help students improve their study habits and learn about the way they think. Understanding a person's weaknesses/strengths is helpful in relationships, as well. After I did the test, I learned that I am a right brain student; therefore, I tried to get an early start this paper. In order to keep an open mind, knowing that this research is probably superstitious, always take what you have learned and critic it. I hope to give new lab procedures for next year when the students do the "Act-Think" test. This way they will learn about themselves and not how well they think but how they think.

WWW Sources

1)Left and Right Sides of the Brain.

2)Left and Right Cerebral Hemisphere Functions.

3)Cerebral Asymmetry.

4)Left Right Hemisphere Brain Processing.

5)Left/Right Brain.

6)New Scientist Planet Science: Left brain, Right brain.



Comments made prior to 2007

Thanks for the nice article on the brain . I had to do some research for my physiology class on the dominant left and right sides of the brain . Your article is the best I found on the whole web. Thanks !!! ... Maria, 15 March 2006



I have read ur article about the left and right hemispheres of the brain and the effect of the binaural heat technology. I am a right eared person.... my left ear doesnt work.... i hear with my right ear alone and doesnt use any hearing aids...It is practically difficult for me to analyse the sound source. Does this have an influence on the binaural heat... Does it affect the performance of my brain....
I am a studious person..... excelling above 85% in my studies.... But when i read ur article about the binaural.... i just couldnt help asking? ... Gogi, 24 March 2006




Jean Wilkie's picture

I want to take your brain test but cannot find it

Please send me the link to your brain test. I suspect I'm left brained. I use both left/right hands for a variety of things. Cell to left ear, bat left handed can play drums right but prefer left, used to knit left handed. I am creative but studious analytical and logical. I mostly plan out my days weeks and extramural activities.

p. newby's picture

I am about to attempt the test.

where is the test?

Serendip Visitor's picture

left brain right brain test

I tested right brain dominant
and I am :-)

debbycrisman's picture

the brain

is it true that you sing and talk from the opposite side of ur brain?

Serendip Visitor's picture

brain test

On the first test, the dancer initially appeared to be turning clockwise and then switched to counter-clockwise. On all subsequent reloads of the page, the dancer appeared to be turning counter-clockwise. My daughter insists that the dancer is turning clockwise. I experience a visual phenomenon where straight lines often appear to shake. I don't experience this effect if I close one eye. I have hypothesized that my visual issue is the result of my faster left hemisphere (which has more white matter) being superceded by my right-hemisphere (which has more gray matter). When I closed one eye with this test, the dancer continued to appear to rotate counter-clockwise. Interesting test. I'd like to see more (only less scantily clad).

Serendip Visitor's picture

I might be right-brained.....

Im not good at math or whatever...! but im not good at drawing or being fancy! But i can express myself very clearly writing a note or playing sherades.....idk people!!! Im doing a science project right now on this type of stuff so...hopefully i find my answer!!!!...............

Serendip Visitor's picture

The way I remember which

The way I remember which one's which, I think Logical/Left and cReative/Right. :)

Dude12's picture

I can see it both says, cause

I can see it both says, cause picturing her from above she would be dancing counter clockwise.. but in the image viewing it normally you can still distinguish her moving counter clockwise, although you see her hand and leg motions and they move clockwise. Cool little visual

Ahima's picture

Does anyone know the term or

Does anyone know the term or the word for someone who uses both sides of the brain equally? Ahima

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Serendip Visitor's picture

hey where is the test

i can't find the test..where is the test?

Serendip Visitor's picture

A simple test for determining dominant brain size

Please refer to a simple test located here: Depending on the direction in which you see the dancer turning, if you see her turning clockwise you are right brained and left brained otherwise.

cool chic's picture


this helped me a lot

Ray's picture


For all those who are too stupid to click the "WWW source 4" link. Heres the website URL.

OT: I personally didnt find much help in this article, but im sure my elder sister will find much help in reading/taking the brain dominance test.

Teri's picture

Hemispheric Brain Dominance Test

I cannot find the Hemispheric Brain Dominance Test the article referred to?????

Serendip Visitor Alice McClaughry's picture


where is the brain test for right an left?

James's picture

Do you know that when you put

Do you know that when you put your earpiece into your left ear first you're a right brainer, or vice versa?

John's picture

The Mind- How confusion sometimes

I find your article very interesting. I am a 60 year old who in the last year or so has found memory, comprehesion, and reasoning more difficult. I have been to a neurologist who indicated everything looked good on the MRI test performed of the brain. Have been to a "councellor" who believes it is a chemical issue. I recently started to read more about the brain in hopes that it help me understand why some of my issuesare ocurring. Here is an interesting Web page for you and your readers to explore, LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN (just google this in)

binaural beats's picture

Response Asymmetry and Binaural Interaction in the Auditory

Asymmetry in the auditory brain stem evoked response (ABR) and its effect on measurements of binaural interaction were studied. Monaural and binaural ABRs were recorded from 24 normal hearing subjects at two sensation levels: 70 and 50 dB. Monaural responses were judged to be asymmetrical when the right response minus the left response resulted in a difference trace which was significantly greater than the level of the background noise in the ABR. It was found that sensation level significantly affected the frequency of monaural response asymmetry and that the amplitude of the derived binaural interaction component (BIC) was positively correlated with the degree of asymmetry present. Offsetting the asymmetry by introducing an interaural intensity difference resulted in a significant reduction in the amplitude of the BIC. It was concluded that the BIC is affected by factors other than those which can be attributed solely to binaural interaction.

Jeff Galfione

Serendip Visitor's picture

auditory response asymmetry

please tell me what you think of my data published in Sandman CA Vigor-Zierk et al 1992 on the asymmetry of the N1-P2 and cardiovascualr phase
also please send me a citation from your 05/20/2010 post
Carey S Vigor-Zierk MD COHC PhD student statistics and audiology Wayne State U

E.A's picture

thanks ur text realy help me

thanks ur text realy help me

Serendip Visitor's picture


Thank you very much for writing this article. So far, it is one the best I have found on the subject.

Perhaps the programming for the test under link 4 has been messed up. No matter what one answers, it says one gave 0 right brain and 18 left brain responses. I cannot think it was possible for you to have gotten a right brain label from that.

Also, I do not understand how all these different sources come up with these seemingly arbitrary distinctions. Because everyone has connections between the halves of the brain and uses both sides, how can a certain trait be definitively attributed to one side by us? Who are we to make a distinction between characteristics and give them labels? This situation provides doubt as to the validity and worth of such studies, because if there is not even the potential for the definitive, what is the point of trying to find it? And then this and any accountability are hidden under a clever cover, saying "Oh, well, if it doesn't match up to you personally, it's not our fault for mismatching characteristics. You just have some of both."

I perceive that the general idea may have some validity, but if the examples are accurate, they are not reasoned properly at the least. For instance, organization of a paper is a frequently used example. As given, right brained people do not need outlines and left brained people do. How can right brained people who think in the general, overall picture write an outline last, if required? These are the people who need an outline because it takes the abstract and puts it in the concrete. These are the people who will actually revise their outline to make it fit the thesis. Conversely, wouldn't left brained people (I suppose we are to assume that they are the ones to use the outline. It wasn't directly mentioned.) be the people who go back and fill in the outline after they are done? For them, spontaneous writing is a breeze because they think of the pieces, moving from the first part of the first matter directly along the line of reasoning. There is no need to organize a line that is already straight; an outline can be useful for them, too, in order to figure out the big picture. These people will revise the thesis to fit their outline. Of course, a good paper needs both the concrete and abstract; concept without the empirical has no substance, and fact without a pattern has no point.

While this study of cerebral hemispheres looks at how such an end is achieved, it must not be so lost in the method that it overlooks the alignment of the parts of the pattern. Sometimes it seems that some of the authors take something they have heard without the reasoning for it. Then, they mold the rest of their ideas and reasoning off of it, extrapolating not from something observed but from something thought. A better technique of reasoning is to either extrapolate a pattern from an observation, or check an observation against a pattern. Otherwise, one can think anything, but how would one know if it is true? And, if such a lapse of reasoning is disagreed with, perhaps the authors just didn't think and wrote to fill space. (And, yes, I should have given examples. But seeing as this is not the article but a response to it and I cannot navigate away from this page, I will leave it up to you to find them. Just take it as food for thought.)

I submit that the study of cerebral hemispheres and their dominance be taken back down to their observation stages in order to try again to separate the characteristics. Maybe using the things that show which part of the brain activates when doing what, in conjunction with observation and whatever was originally used, would provide a stronger data base. And if this was the case, make it plainer in the reports.

Similar to an essay that has substance-giving perceptions intertwined with meaning-giving conceptions, functions of the brain have both sides working together. Algebra expresses geometry. In doing either to its full potential, the other is involved (I think half and half). I submit that the connections between the halves are as important to understanding brain hemisphere dominance and should be treated as such. Figuring out what is black is important. Figuring out what is white is, as well. But figuring how the black and white make grey is not adding two things and getting a third. Each individual speck of black and white retains its characteristics, but their connecting positions create the pattern of grey.

Thank you for your sufferance in reaching the end of this extremely long response.

I must now air a personal grievance. Being right brained gives you no excuse for publishing an article in this state. Some of the words were obviously corrected to a homonym by spell check, and your grammar could do with some upgrades. While some people think it is just distracting or annoying to some people, you should realize that if your sentences are incomprehensible or illogical, the reader may not be able to follow your argument or report. It then becomes a matter of content expression, and it also affects your ethos. Grammar aside, the article was disorganized, flinging bits of argument across sections, and omitting or ineffectively using anything to support your claims.

While this is not bad writing, a little more attention to detail would have made it more polished and ready for publication. I would have thought Bryn Mawr would have paid more attention to something like that. They say they're a good school.

*Ah, I have gone back and found the exceedingly long, convoluted paragraph in which my concerns were addressed in your version. I would like to admit that it is entirely possible some of my irritation originated in your sources and not your article, so please take it for what it is worth. You know what you wrote.

Thank you again, and have a good day.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Grammatical errors

Sara- I hate to tell you this but your own writing is fraught with errors- in grammar, incomplete sentences, misuse of words, etc. Sorry, it's as painful to a cognizant person as a sore thumb (much as the author's errors were painful to you, apparently). You decry his long, convoluted passages, & then evince them yourself. Everything is relative.

Anonymous's picture

Giving Directions

Your example of giving directions is incorrect. The right brain works in a singular manner and would not be able to give this long sequence of directions.

Miranda's picture


I was wondering why I could not get the test under source 4 to work. Is it found in another page or something now....?

Dev's picture

thank s for u r article it

thank s for u r article it help me clear my self why i was not consntrate in my study during school . i think so i m right side brain dominant

Anonymous's picture

Source 4

The test in source 4 Doesnt work!!!!!!!
Waste of time. Always comes out with the same result!
I can't get that time back!!!!

Jack Saunders's picture

Test Brain

How do brain to brain test get?

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the intriguing

Thanks for the intriguing information. I had suspected for a while that I was dominantly left-brained. But that test confirmed it! 18 answers in favor of the left side and none for the right. Heh heh. Great thing to know!

molly's picture


i am just in 9th grade and i found this site by google, haha. i am really interested in this stuff and i have been on multiple sites like this, all saying that i am almsot completely right brained. i have to say i am really relieved at some of the stuff i'm seeing about right-brainers! I thought i was a weirdo or something, the learning techniques i think will help me. it was like you were describing me about the "write the paper first, then the outline if mandatory" part. hahaha. thanks a lot! this was really good info.

Everyone's picture

Turns out, I have a well

Turns out, I have a well balanced brain according to this test. Got 10 for right, and 8 for left. Go figure. Very informative paper by the way, and well written. Nice job!

Imy's picture

lol, i'm in exactly the same

lol, i'm in exactly the same situation as you! i too am in year 9, and i've taken a couple of tests too, all showing that i'm right brained! sorry, i just felt the need to comment... it's really funny how that happened... lol

Serendip Visitor's picture

I'm seventh grade but I'm

I'm seventh grade but I'm DEFANTLY right side (I like to sing, create art, dance [though I can't dance... lol], and act!!!)

margo's picture

Thanks dude!! ; ]

this really helped with my science fair project reaserch!!! THANKS:] 20 days till christmas!!

Meg's picture

A Big Thanks

Thank you. I thought I was a left-lobed-brain person, sort of... :-)
But then thanks. At least this will help me with my reading and mental processes as I write (or whatever I do). Thank you again for such an informative piece.

Jared's picture

Thank you.

This paper really helped me with my science fair project. Thank you thank you thank you!

Anonymous's picture

Yeaaaa Um

I also read some initial paragraphs of ur article but better it would be u had placed da test in da start be ironically i did not find it at da end too, lolz
so next time better keep ur promises , what ever part of ur brain u use.

Anonymous's picture

um yeaaaa

heyy! ur article is awesomeeeeeeeee but wheres the little test u said after u read the article?!?!?

admin's picture

link to the brain dominance test updated

You can find it under source #4.
Serendip Visitor's picture

The games

I enjoyed playing the games. I believe my dominent side is right. By the way, I do in fact write legibly with both hands.