The left cerebral hemisphere's skills are those that, at least since the Renaissance, have been most favored by Western Civilization. It is analytical, rational and practical. People dominated by the left brain do not long for a mystical union with the cosmos; they just want the facts, ma'am! Because the left brain is almost entirely responsible for all human verbal skills, people in this category tend to be good conversationalists and writers. In fact, when a split-
brained patient talks, it's his left brain alone that is speaking to you. Information contained in the right brain cannot be expressed in words, since that hemisphere has the approximate linguistic ability of a three or four years old child.
Most technocrats, scientists, mathematicians, computer experts are left brained. So are lawyers.
They use the hemisphere's logic ability to assemble bits of disparate information into a coherent whole. Because they combine linguistic and logical abilities so well, people in this category are often brilliant and witty. But, others come across as driven, nervous and fanatically single-minded. Ralph Nader, for instance, is a classic left-brain man. He is devoted to a single goal and allows virtually no outside interests to interfere.
People dominated by their right brains tend to be intuitive and emotional. They take a Holistic approach to life; they sense things all at once and don't like to get bogged down in details. They see
the gestalt of things, instinctively absorbing the subtle connections and relationships that make up their sphere of consciousness. There is considerable evidence that creativity is centered in the right brain. So is spatial perception. Consequently, most artists are right-brain people.
Even science at its most creative levels seems to be right brain, according to Einstein's statement when he said that most of his important discoveries came to him as images, in pictures, not words. Only after he had the inspiration, did he go back and let his left brain work out the linguistic and mathematical descriptions of his discoveries.
Right brain people also have a deep-seated musical sense. Alexander Luria of Moscow's Burdenko Institute (he is one of the world's most famous
brain specialists) once treated a patient, a composer, whose left hemisphere had been incapacitated by a stroke. The man couldn't say a word, but with his unaffected right brain he went on composing as well as before. The exception to this rule is the professional musician. Rather than creating music, he must have extreme technical competence in order to reproduce it accurately. Therefore, he is likely to be left brained.
For him, music is not inspiration or melody but a line of notes, a language, to be put in order by his left brain. Right brained people are also more easily hypnotized. As a group they are more athletic. They are also people who can remember your face but not your name. The face, being an object in space, is remembered by the right brain. The name, a linguistic construct, is stored in the
left brain and thus is not so easily retrieved by the right-brained people. People in this category make good Californians;they tend to be laid back and mellow. But their passivity can sometimes disintegrate into withdrawal and depression.
Between the two extremes described above are people whose personalities blend the characteristics of both brain hemispheres. They are nice folks to be around, since they are not likely to exhibit either the extreme single-mindedness of the left-
brained types or the terminal hollowness of some right-brainers. Depending upon your career, this will never let the other dominate, neither brain is likely to achieve the full exercise of its talents.
Yet that limitation may prove a boon in fields that
require the skills of the middle-man or the mediator. True, you may never be a great writer, but you may make a hell of an editor. You may not be a great artist, but you may make a smashing success as a gallery owner. You may not be able to design computers, but you may be able to sell them very well. Your ability to match names with faces could be the basis for a promising political career.
One last thing; you should be great at charades, given the balance you have between your right brain, which gives you the manual dexterity, and your left brain, with its linguistic abilities. If you are ever offered a job as a professional charades player, take it - you should go far!