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Right Brain and Left Brain Inventory
An inventory of the different ways the right brain and left brain process information.

Written by Marion Boddy-Evans

While we have a natural tendency towards one way of thinking, the two sides of our brain work together in our everyday lives. The right brain of the brain focuses on the visual, and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The focus of the left brain is verbal, processing information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole.

Right Brain Inventory Left Brain Inventory
• Visual, focusing on images, patterns • Verbal, focusing on words, symbols, numbers
• Intuitive, led by feelings • Analytical, led by logic
• Process ideas simultaneously • Process ideas sequentially, step by step
• 'Mind photos' used to remember things, writing things down or illustrating them helps you remember • Words used to remember things, remember names rather than faces
• Make lateral connections from information • Make logical deductions from information
• See the whole first, then the details • Work up to the whole step by step, focusing on details, information organized
• Organization ends to be lacking • Highly organized
• Free association • Like making lists and planning
• Like to know why you're doing something or why rules exist (reasons) • Likely to follow rules without questioning them
• No sense of time • Good at keeping track of time
• May have trouble with spelling and finding words to express yourself • Spelling and mathematical formula easily memorized
• Enjoy touching and feeling actual objects (sensory input) • Enjoy observing
• Trouble prioritizing, so often late, impulsive • Plan ahead
• Unlikely to read instruction manual before trying • Likely read an instruction manual before trying
• Listen to how something is being said • Listen to what is being said
• Talk with your hands • Rarely use gestures when talking
• Likely to think you're naturally creative, but need to apply yourself to develop your potential • Likely to believe you're not creative, need to be willing to try and take risks to develop your potential

In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Betty Edwards quotes psychologist David Galin's favorite example of how we use our right brain when something becomes too difficult to describe something verbally: "Try to describe a spiral staircase without making a spiral gesture." When it comes to painting and drawing, it's worth trying to shelve the more analytical side of your thinking and 'go with the flow' on the right side.

If you're interested in finding out more about Right Brain / Left Brain Theory , here an easy-to-understand explanation of its origins and how it's relevant to painters. You will probably also enjoy giving this Right Brain Exercise for Artists: Taking a Line for a Walk a try, and testing whether your right brain or left brain is dominant with the Right Brain / Left Brain Quiz.


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