For those interested in more detail about the difference between the left and right brains, here are two quick recaps.

Iain McGilchrist, a psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher, has provided a bold new and important perspective in his best-selling book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

The left brain:

  • Focuses narrowly on what is already known to be important
  • Excels at what is isolated and static
  • Deals with what is abstract and lifeless; has no use for context
  • Offers linear, logical, sequential thinking
  • Wants to manipulate the world; breaks the world down into things it can label and try to control
  • Does not know–or care–about what it does not know; doesn’t know its own limitations
  • Narrows things down to “certainty”–a world of either/or
  • Concerned with internal coherence of its representation of reality
  • Can make a case for itself through language

The right brain:

  • Offers broad, open attention to the world
  • Scans for what is different and unexpected
  • Deals with people and living beings
  • Focuses on what’s interconnected and evolving
  • Understands context, meaning, and emotion
  • Wants to understand and make sense of the world, not control it
  • Understands the big picture and how the pieces fit together
  • Opens things up into possibility; is happy with both/and
  • Cannot make a case for itself through language

A more traditional view of the left vs. right brain comes from Science News:

Left/Right-Brain Refresher

Speech/verbal Spatial/musical
Logical/mathematical Holistic
Linear/detailed Artistic/symbolic
Sequential Simultaneous
Controlled Emotional
Intellectual Intuitive/creative
Dominant Minor (quiet)
Worldly Spiritual
Active Receptive
Analytic Sympathetic, gestalt
Reading, writing, naming Facial recognition
Sequential ordering Simultaneous comprehension
Perception of significant order Perception of abstract patterns
Complex motor sequences Recognition of complex figures

Source:  “Clinical and Experimental Evidence of Hemispheric Domination as of 1976”, Science News, 109 (14): 219.  Thanks to Inside Her Pretty Little Head by Jane Cunningham & Philippa Roberts for bringing this reference to my attention.