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As covered in the lesson on the left and right hemispheres of the brain, each hemisphere is responsible for different functions. This plays a large impact on how your brain learns. If, for example, you plan things out, are an avid reader, and are more thoughtful, then you have a left brain dominance; if, however, you excel at sports, art or music, and are a more visual thinker, then you have a right brain dominance. Learning what half of the brain controls what, and your learning strengths, can improve your grades at school.
When studying the different functions of each hemisphere, try using an image of the brain that shows the two hemispheres. Write down the functions on the appropriate side of the brain. Remember, each hemisphere function also correlates to the lobe; for example, sequential thinking is a function of the frontal lobe, which occurs on the left hemisphere.
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Left Hemisphere Functions
When studying the different functions of the hemisphere, remember that each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. So, the left hemisphere sends signals to the right arm and leg, while the right hemisphere does the same for the left arm and leg. The left brain is responsible for many of the logical and thinking process of the brain, such as:
- Language: Broca's area is in the frontal lobe (speech production) and Wernicke's area is in the temporal lobe (comprehension)
- Sequential thinking and putting details together
- Figuring out cause and effect
- Using facts
- Working with numbers (mathematics)
- Naming items
- Analyzing things
If you have a dominance in the left brain, then you are a verbal learner. This means you would do better reading or hearing information, instead of looking at an image. When studying, take advantage of this learning style: while writing notes down, then read them out loud.
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Right Hemisphere Functions
The right hemisphere, on the other hand, is the more creative half of the brain; this is why artists and musicians are called “right brained." Besides being artistically inclined, the right brain is also involved in visual tasks, like:
- Face recognition
- Visual imagery
- Spatial abilities, such as being able to tell where things are in space
- Music, including rhyming
- Creative writing, like drama and poetry
- Insight and meditation
- Art and color
If you have dominance in the right brain, then you are a visual learner. This means you learn best when a teacher uses a visual aid, such as a PowerPoint slide or a 3-D model. When studying, take advantage of your artistic abilities, and use drawings or charts with your notes. You can also print off images and include them in your notes if you do not want to draw.
- Image Credit: Cerebral Lobes by Wyglif under CC by -SA 3.0
- University of Washington: Hemispheres, http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/split.html
- ROTC: Left-Brain/Right-Brain, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/rotc_right-left_brain.pdf