Are you a left-brain learner or a right-brain learner? Does it matter any longer? Should we be “whole lobe” learners — or do lateralized brains, instead of mirrored ones, better serve us?
One hypothesis is that a lateralized brain is more powerful than one that works like a mirror image. Instead of two matching parts of the brain performing an identical task, one can take charge, leaving the other free to do something else. Lesley Rogers, a biologist at the University of New England in Australia, tested this hypothesis on chickens. The birds use their left hemisphere to peck for seeds and their right hemisphere to detect predators. Some chickens have more lateralized brains than others, and there is a simple way to make any chicken more lateralized: Just shine a light on it while it is still in the egg. Chick embryos usually develop with the left eye tucked inward and the right eye facing out. The stimulation of light on the right eye alters the developing left-brain hemisphere but not the right.
Rogers and her colleagues reared 27 chicks that had been exposed to light and 24 that had not. Each day the researchers put the chicks in a special box with grain and pebbles scattered on the floor; at the same time, they distracted the birds by moving a hawk-shaped cutout overhead. They then observed how well the chicks were able to distinguish between pebbles and grain. Light-exposed chicks learned to do a much better job. Rogers concludes that lateralized brains allowed the chicks to multitask more effectively, with each eye handling a separate job.
Are we the essence of the duplicity of our brains?
Or are we stronger, and more cogent, in diving the mind and letting each hemisphere create its own realism, catharsis and concentration of the human spirit?