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Creativity and the Right Side of the Brain
posted by admin on 19/10/06

Creativity and the Right Side of the Brain

Where does creativity come from? How can one person be so creative and another person appear to be uncreative? The source of creativity really stems back to the brain. Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century little was actually known about the brain. In the late 1950's and early 1960's some significant research was conducted by Roger Sperry. Sperry's work, which later earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1981, clearly showed that the brain is divided into two major parts or hemispheres, the right brain and the left brain. His research also identified that each of the parts of the brain specializes in its own style of thinking and has different capabilities.

 
The Left Brain

The left brain is associated with verbal, logical, and analytical thinking. It excels in naming and categorizing things, symbolic abstraction, speech, reading, writing, arithmetic. The left brain is very linear: it places things in sequential order -- first things first and then second things second, etc. If you reflect back upon our own educational training, we have been traditionally taught to master the 3 R's: reading, writing and arithmetic -- the domain and strength of the left brain.

The Right Brain

The right brain, on the other hand, functions in a non-verbal manner and excels in visual, spatial, perceptual, and intuitive information. The right brain processes information differently than the left brain. For the right brain, processing happens very quickly and the style of processing is nonlinear and non-sequential. The right brain looks at the whole picture and quickly seeks to determine the spatial relationships of all the parts as they relate to the whole. This component of the brain is not concerned with things falling into patterns because of prescribed rules. On the contrary, the right brain seems to flourish dealing with complexity, ambiguity and paradox. At times, right brain thinking is difficult to put into words because of its complexity, its ability to process information quickly and its non-verbal nature. The right brain has been associated with the realm of creativity.


Our educational system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere.

Roger Sperry - 1973

 
The Whole Brain

As we develop our creative skills we must also develop our ability to suspend the left brain and to release the right. The ultimate goal for all of us is to approach our life and our work using a "whole" brain approach. We can't make the mistake of thinking that the left and right brains are two totally separate entities within our bodies. They are connected and do have areas of overlap. An integrated "whole" brain approach begins to maximize the untapped potential of the human brain

Left Brain
Right Brain

Words (verbal)
Images (non-verbal)
Logical
Intuitive

Black & White

Color
Numbers
Rhythm
Sequence
Imagination
Analysis
Daydreaming
Lists
Dimension

Critical Thinking

Creative Thinking
 
Ways of Knowing

These lists extend Michael Pitek's above.

Left Brain
Right Brain
intellect
intuition
rational
intuitive
rational
holistic
analytic
holistic
analytic
relational
analysis
synthesis
parts
wholes
sequential
intuitive

objective

subjective
logical
random
logical
whimsical
convergent
divergent
abstract
concrete
directed
free
propositional
imaginative
linear
nonlinear
sequential
multiple
successive
simultaneous
reasoning
mystical
mathematical
creative
speaking
visual-pictorial
accuracy
aesthetics
digital
analogic
dominates
submits

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pattern seeker

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