Anyone who has spent any time studying art has heard of the whole right brain vs. left brain debate. I read “Drawing on the right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards many years ago, but many of her strategies weren’t new to me even then. I remember a game we played in high school that involved copying someone’s handwriting upside down. The idea was to fool the brain into thinking only of the shapes and not the meaning. This forces right-brain thinking, except we didn’t know that then.
There has been a lot said about the right brain being supposedly “creative” and the left brain “logical” or “linear”. If you do a google search on right brain you return countless pages spouting the same stuff (often verbatim). If you believe what they say, nobody would ever want to be classified as left brain (dull plodding, middle-management drones). It reminds me a little of those “true colours” tests that we put our grade nine students through in career studies. Everybody turns out to be orange (energetic, spontaneous, opportunistic) because no-one wants to admit to being gold (dependable, responsible, conscientious).
I have taken various left vs. right tests and I seem to fall squarely in the middle, with a very slight leaning toward the right (hemisphere that is, not politics). I have always enjoyed language as well as visual arts and while I am perfectly capable of being organized I have a tendency to find the answers first and then go back and figure out how I got there. I am often accused of being a “detail person” by people who think that they are “ideas people”. Personally I think that any fool can have ideas but it takes true creativity to figure out how to make them work.
Where I disagree with a lot of what has been written is on the subject of math, science and engineering. These are often said to be left-brain activities. I think that the sciences and the arts have been divorced for far too long. It wasn’t always that way, during the Renaissance artists and scientists worked side by side (and were often in fact the same people). In my personal experience the people who find it easiest to grasp systems design and computer technology in general are actually the same ones who have a natural talent for the arts, either graphic or music. I also think that most math, with the possible exception of arithmetic, requires a great deal of right-brain activity.
According to Psychology Today:
The best scientists are much more likely to be artists, musicians, actors, craftsmen, and writers than are typical scientists, or even the general public. Scientists draw skills, knowledge, processes, concepts, and even inspiration from their non-scientific avocations.