The two hemispheres of the human brain process information differently and as such affect the way humans perceive and process information to affect learning process. However, the ability to function in information processing, learning and thinking varies greatly between children below 3years of age and those who are above 3years with the former showing significant dominance of the right hemisphere in information processing of learning while the left hemisphere becomes dominant in the latter group. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that while the right hemisphere develops to function earlier than the left, subsequent changes during development shift the dominance of the functions of the human brain to the left (Springer & Deutsch, 1997). This paper therefore elucidates on how information processing approaches are used by the right and left hemispheres of the brain and their implications to the learning process.
Morris (2006) proposes that the left hemisphere of the brain functions mainly in the information processing in a linear manner, processing information from part to whole, while the right side of the brain processes information in the reverse manner from whole to part holistically starting by seeing the bigger picture first then concentrating on finer details.
While conducting research hemispheric asymmetry, Chiron et al (2010) posit that the divergent parts of the brain are laterized and as such have functions that are specialized to perceive different cognitive processes. The results of the study strongly point out that during early stages of infant development before 2 years of age, the two hemispheres are at equal prospective for language processing until two years of age when the left hemisphere gains progressive dominance until puberty.
Ned Herman has been accredited for his enormous works on brain dominance technology. He anchors his hypothesis on brain dominance where individuals tend to build up a given preference to a mode of thinking, differentiating the approaches to left brain preference against right brain which utilizes pattern matching and intuitive perceptive. (Hopper, 2007)
Herman further argues that these preferences are rooted in the genetic make-up and its subsequent consequence on cognitive abilities. Using the four-quadrant model of cognitive inclination, Herman puts forward four learning styles depending on the level of preference and hemispherical asymmetry: the left cerebral hemisphere is concerned with analytical processes, the left limbic system deals with sequencing; the right limbic system is identified with interpersonal characteristic and the right cerebral hemisphere which deals with imaginative processes. (Hopper, 2007; Springer & Deutsch, 1997)
In supporting the sequential role of the left hemisphere, Morris (2006) maintains that the left dominant person is a list maker. For instance, the left brained individuals would mostly take pleasure in doing a daily master schedule thereby completing tasks in order and gaining satisfaction in their accomplishment. Similarly, it is easier for such individuals to master things in sequence, working greatly in solving math problems and direction mastery. Deviation from the sequential processing mechanism has been exhibited by left brain individuals. The author further reaffirms that right brained individuals portray random information processing, being always prone to dart from one task to another. Due to its sensitivity nature, the right brained individuals apply color to learn sequence. Therefore, as a learning style, the right brained individuals apply similar sequence consistently to abet them in the learning process.
Moreover, the left hemisphere is dominated by processing symbols, which include letters, mathematical expressions, and words. This implies that left-handed individuals are more comfortable with processing symbols information of vocabulary words or mathematical expressions. On the other hand, Morris (2006) has noted that the right hemisphere is more of a concrete processing unit thereby giving these individuals a strong desire to see, feel, or touch an object often preferring to see issues in context and workability of formulas. Their learning styles often insist on utilizing real things and constructing prospects for their undertakings.
Consequently, the left hemisphere has been advocated for its logical processing, often solving issues step by step to work out an issue. On the other hand, processing information on the right hemisphere is characterized by instinct. The individuals might at times be aware of a response to a particular problem beforehand. It therefore implies that the left hemisphere of the brain deals mainly with paying consideration to spelling and punctuation while the right hemisphere is more interested in rationality and meaning. (Hopper, 2007; Morris, 2006)
Even with such profound differences in information processing, Hopper (2007), Springer and Deutsch (1997) emphasize the fact that both the right and the left hemispheres share given processing functions that include pain perception, hunger detection, position sensitivity, sound transmission by both sides of the ears and sensation on equal sides of the face. The right hemisphere has been constantly associated with negative and fearful emotions while the left one is associated with positive ones.
The research conducted by Chiron et al (2010) proposes that handedness and language are mostly localized in the left hemisphere in the posterior region of the brain and that language is also associated with structural irregularity. The authors state that the left hemispheres’ superiority in mature children dominates speech and fine movements as opposed to the right hemisphere that dominates the visual spatial processes and a cognitive hypothesis that has been supported by Springer and Deutsch (1997).
The above information processing and learning approaches create huge implications for learning styles to be adopted by a particular individual. Under normal circumstances, left brained approaches are applied in normal classroom settings, creating a feeling of inferiority amongst the right brained scholars. This calls for balancing in participation of both hemispheres so that learning and progressive thinking process is enhanced.
Chiron, C., Ambaque, I., Nabbou, R., Lounes, R., Syrota, A., & Dulac, O. (2010). Brain a Journal of Neurology. Brain a Journal of Neurology, 120(6) , 1057-1065.
Hopper, D. C. (2007). Learning styles. Web.
Springer, S. P., & Deutsch, G. (1997). Left Brain, Right Brain: Perspective from Cognitive Neuroscience. University of Alabama at Brimming Ham: Worth Publisher.