Southeast of Disorder


Right Brain vs. Left Brain
August 31, 2008, 8:43 am
Filed under: Writing | Tags: ,

Occasionally I take off on little Web-based excursions that are the virtual equivalents of unplanned car trips: I start on a Web page I’ve visited for some Really Important Reason, and before I realize what’s happened, I’m 100 miles down a wholly unrelated, winding road I didn’t even know existed. The reason I don’t turn around and head back for home and safety before I find myself standing beside an out-of-gas vehicle and praying for the largesse of kind strangers is that I’m fascinated with the before-undiscovered scenery. It speaks to me in new and exciting ways, and I’m a glutton for that sort of experience. I find it enormously difficult to “do the intelligent thing” and stick close to home lest I become hopelessly lost.

Even though these impromptu treasure hunts sometimes get in the way of legitimate work, very seldom are they complete wastes of time (at least in my mind, which family and friends increasingly seem to think I’ve misplaced). Today, for example, I followed a link from Holly Lisle’s plot-building mini-course to StoryToolz.com, which led me to romance novelist Stephanie Tyler’s blog, which led me to a right-brain-vs.-left-brain test on the website of the Australian newspaper Herald Sun.

Here’s the test:

Right brain vs. left brain

Right brain vs. left brain

Now, answer this question: Does the woman’s figure appear to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise? According to the Herald Sun, most people see the figure rotating counterclockwise. (I assume that’s to the left in the Southern Hemisphere, as it is in the Northern Hemisphere, although I could be wrong.) Those people’s left brains are dominant, meaning they tend to be logical, detail-oriented, math-and-science types. Scientists also have determined most of them are right-handed. The folks who see her spinning clockwise generally are ruled by their right brains, the side which primarily is the seat of emotions, philosophy, symbolism and risk-taking. (The Herald Sun‘s website has interesting lists of right-brain and left-brain characteristics; see the “right-brain-vs.-left-brain test” link, above).

Many fiction writers and visual artists are right-brain types. Even though I’ve been writing fiction since childhood, I’ve always considered myself a left-brainer, and I do find numerous left-brain characteristics within my essential self. However, no matter how long I concentrate on that darn spinning woman, I can’t make her rotate counterclockwise (although the Herald Sun insists some people can make her switch directions).

Here’s another interesting right-brain-vs.-left-brain exercise.

Here are my results:


You Are 25% Left Brained, 75% Right Brained


The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

I don’t know why the results surprised me, but they did.

In which direction do you see the woman spinning? What did your results on the second right-brain-vs.-left-brain test say about you? Do the results jive or clash with what you’ve always thought about yourself? For very different reasons, both sides of my brain would be interested to know how other people reacted.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Kathleen

She’s definitely turning clockwise. No other possibility. Hope “Ike” spared you.

Sharon (from CC)

Comment by Sharon

I can make the figure spin either direction, you can too!!! Look down, keeping the rotating figure in your upper periphery vision, after a few seconds the figure will change directions. At least this works for me, of course in high school psychology class a test said I was 50/50 left right, or whole brained. (that was a long time ago, but I guess it could still hold true)

Neat stuff, I think most of us get “lost” on the net from time to time.

Comment by Paul Hosler

The woman is turning both clockwise and counterclockwise. She switches direction every so often. If you observe her long enough, you will see that she switch.

Comment by Phyllis




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