Overheard: Word of the Day

Oct 19 2007   8:00PM GMT

Overheard: You have a dominant hand, dominant eye and even a dominant foot. Why not a dominant side of the brain?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Which way is this dancer spinning?

A: Clockwise (to the right)

B: Counterclockwise (to the left)

If your answer was A, the right-hand side of your brain was dominant.

If you selected B, the left-hand side of your brain was dominant.

What? You don’t believe she could be spinning the other way? Show this to someone who thinks very differently than you do. Or better yet, get a couple of people to look at it at the same time.

When it comes to online content about technology, right-brain learners tend to be attracted to:

  • articles and blog posts written in a conversational style
  • case studies
  • illustrations
  • videos that show you places and people
  • short videos or podcasts that provide a brief overview of a broad topic
  • big picture overviews
  • collaboration and brainstorming
  • QnA interviews
  • overview lists (Top 10, Best of..etc.)
  • open-ended quizzes
  • check lists

Left-brain learners are attracted to:

  • expert webcasts or podcasts
  • bulleted content with annotations
  • sequential instruction
  • dry, straight-forward articles that are outlined well
  • white papers with an outline or table of contents
  • multiple choice quizzes
  • schematic diagrams
  • product manuals
  • specifications
  • content presented in a consistent way each week
  • comparison charts

Right brain/left brain dominance is a preference, not an absolute. No one is totally left-brained or totally right-brained. You have a dominant hand, dominant eye, and even a dominant foot. But dominant doesn’t mean you hop on one foot or do everything with one hand — it just means that when you’re asked to do something new, your body instinctively selects which side is best equipped to take the lead. When your brain received data about this two-dimensional image that represents something your brain knows is three-dimensional, the dominant side interpreted which way the dancer was spinning. Concentrate hard, and you can probably get to see her spinning in the opposite direction.

Theories about brain dominance grew largely from the “split-brain” research in the 1960′s that won Roger Sperry, from the California Institute of Technology, a Nobel prize. Left-brain thinkers often doubt his work. ; -)

Here’s another brain excercise that deals with concentration and perception. Left-brain folks will find the answer in #2 frustrating. Right-brain folks will find the answer amazing.

1. Play the 30 second video and count the number of times the kids in the white t-shirts pass the ball.
http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/grafs/demos/15.html

2. Read this discussion and watch the video again. (This discussion reveals the answer.)
http://physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-98645.html

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