brain hemispheresOver the last decade great attention to the functioning of the cerebral hemispheres and its effects on the process of learning was paid. This interest has to do with the fact that traditional teaching models are based on the functioning of the left hemisphere i.e. the development of language and logic, without taking into account the characteristics of the right hemisphere, such as intuition, spontaneity, and imagination.
Although the famous French mathematician Poincare argued that “the logic proves but the intuition creates” and although the Hungarian scientist Michael Polanyi talked about mental beauty and passion in the process of knowledge discovery, only recently science began to recognize the role of imagination and other factors, which have nothing to do with the logic analysis and convergent thinking, in the learning process.

Speaking for the left and right hemisphere, it should be mentioned that the asymmetry of the human brain has been studied enough, and there is evidence to show the functions of each hemisphere. However, it is important not to overly stress the asymmetry or difference between them, since the brain is so complex that it could not be described simply as two separate regions, namely the right and left hemispheres. In the 80s, new research data showed that the division between the two hemispheres is not so clear, and that the thinking process involves simultaneously both hemispheres. American scientist Jerry Levy, clarifying the facts from the myths about brain function, outlined six main “truths” about the two hemispheres:

  1. The two halves are so identical that, when divided through surgery, each one can work incredibly well although not perfectly.
  2. Each hemisphere has particular functions.
  3. Logic is not only limited to the left hemisphere.
  4. There is no evidence that creativity is an exclusive feature of the right hemisphere.
  5. As long as the two halves do not operate independently of one another, it is almost impossible to train each hemisphere separately.
  6. 6.   There are psychological and physiological data showing that people differ in the relative activation of the two hemispheres.

Caine and Caine (1990, 1991), making a review of the brain function and learning research, established the following principles:

  • The brain is a “parallel processor” of information. This means that the brain performs many functions simultaneously (eg, logical thinking, imagination, intuition).
  • The whole physiology is involved in the learning process. So anything that affects the physiology of the body affects our ability to learn (eg, nutrition, stress, exercise).
  • The search for meaning is an innate process.
  • Emotions play a key role in this procedure.
  • The brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and sets.
  • Both focus and peripheral perception are involved in the learning process.
  • Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes.
  • The brain understands and remembers best when the knowledge and skills are acquired through experiential learning.

Left Hemisphere

• Analyzes data

• Uses logic in information processing

• Has awareness of time: past, present and future

• Organizes a sequence of events

• Organizes information

• Deals with facts and objects in a systematic way

• Reduces the whole into parts and vice versa

• Uses language for meaningful communication

• Uses mathematical calculations

• Uses facts

Right Hemisphere

• Responds to the data using intuition

• Handles the information spontaneously

• Perceives the information without taking into account the time

• Organizes events and actions out of sequence

• Disseminates information

• Deals with facts and objects according to the needs of the present moment

• Manages information only holistically

• Responds to sounds

• Perceives shapes and forms

• Uses images and metaphors

The biggest challenge the brain function studies meet does not seem to be understanding of the complex anatomy and physiology of the brain but understanding of its functions and abilities.



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Anna LeMind

Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.