Over the last decade, many people became increasingly interested in brain hemispheres and their functions, as well as their effects on the process of learning.

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.

Famous French mathematician Poincare argued that “the logic proves, but the intuition creates”. Hungarian scientist Michael Polanyi talked about mental beauty and passion in the process of knowledge discovery.

But only recently science began to recognize the role of imagination and other factors in the learning process, which have nothing to do with logical analysis and convergent thinking.

Speaking for the left and right hemispheres, 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.

The Brain Hemispheres and Their Functions

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 decided to separate the facts from the myths about brain function. He outlined six main “truths” about the two brain hemispheres and their functions:

  1. The two brains 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. There are psychological and physiological data showing that people differ in their reliance on one 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 neuroscience meets does not seem to be an understanding of the complex anatomy and physiology of the brain. It’s more about understanding the brain hemispheres and their functions and abilities.

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