The U.S. Is a Left-Brained Society for Right-Brained People
The Left-Brained Society Prevails
Go to any business meeting and you'll hear phrases like "the bottom line" and "let's look at the numbers" or "what systems do we need to implement to accomplish that goal?"
These phrases are found in the commerce sector and even the academic arena. You might surmise that the US is quite goal-oriented and focuses on numbers.
Think about what you watch on the news. Forecasters always report on the weather and the percentage of a chance that it will rain. The DOW Jones and Stock Market numbers populate the screen just before commercials. Think about how often you hear talk about Gallup Polls and politicians' ratings. You'll often hear the latest medical report juxtaposed with statistics of how many people have this or that illness. Numbers, numbers, numbers.
These are all left-brained thought processes.
- Value numbers
- Value routine and sequence
- Like multiple choice tests
- Look at the details before the big picture
- Often actively participate in organized religion
What Is Left-Brained Thinking?
If you're predominantly a left-brained thinker, you tend to think very logically and sequentially. You look at the smaller details before looking at the big picture.
Left brained thinkers are more preoccupied with numbers and they don't mind multiple choice tests - at all. That's good news for those of you who love those standardized tests that seem all too prevalent....
If you like math and can do algebra, you're more of a left-brained person.
You tend to like those assignments that are quite structured and direct you on what to do, as opposed to a more open-ended assignment that asks you to be more creative.
Left-brained individuals tend to be more organized and prefer quiet places to study.
You also like formulas of cause and effect. Since logic is a big part of left-brain thinking, you may find yourself asking, "Will this action lead to that result?" This works really well in science class.
But, left-brained thinking is good in business, too. You tend to think that hard work will bring more success and more success has the potential to bring in more money.
Can you see how US society seems very left-brained?
- Tend to be artistic, or musical (as in playing an instrument by ear)
- More absentminded
- Go from the big picture to the details
- Like open-question tests
- More likely to not participate in organized religion
What About Right-Brained Thinking?
If you find yourself as one of the more absent-minded types, you might be a right-brained thinker. It's because you're busy being philosophical or dreaming about "what if?"
Right-brained thinkers are often more creative than their left-brained counterparts and prefer more visual or demonstrative instructions on how-to projects. You also tend to love colors and often enjoy drawing, painting, different types of music and writing poetry.
You're also more likely to call upon your intuition in a given situation rather than looking at all the facts.
As far as school goes, reading and writing are often favorite subjects.
Tests with open-ended questions are easier to tackle than the multiple-choice versions.
However, when attempting to write a paper, it might be difficult to sit down and do an outline. Left-brained thinkers tend to want to make outlines. Right-brained thinkers, rather, find it easier to summarize what they want to talk about, and then just start writing.
Right-brained thinkers are very often attracted to spirituality and Eastern Philosophies rather than more organized religion.
Putting It All Together
By now, you may have surmised that the US is quite left-brained.
Left-brain thinkers don't often rely on intuition or instinct; they look at facts and tradition. They tend to like organized religion that is predictable and spells out how people should conduct themselves. This makes sense. Most people in the US identify themselves as Christian, and often actively practice at their church.
Schools - public schools, especially - are quite oriented toward left-brained thinking. Students are asked to provide outlines, and they require a lot of study in math and reading. It's not always a visual endeavor; teachers often give verbal instructions and expect students to follow them.
Schools that have art, music and foreign language at the elementary level are not all that rare, but these curricula are not emphasized in US society.
Because US society tends to value business and achievement - left-brained traits - other disciplines where people are required to think and ponder how society works or more creative endeavors are not as highly valued. How many Art History or Philosophy majors do you know versus Marketing, Business or Economics majors?
You can often pinpoint the right-brained student or adult. They're the ones who often march to the beat of their own drummer. They get bored and have to do something else after a little while - whether it is a simple task at hand or on a larger scale, a job. They are the ones who have a harder time choosing a college major and settling down to just one type of job.
I'm willing to bet that right-brained thinkers can quickly name off various great philosophers more quickly than left-brained thinkers.
Since right-brained thinkers tend to be more intuitive, they often philosophize about life or religion or the problems in society. They're the ones who have long sounded the alarm about taking care of the planet because they see the big picture and the sum total of human activity. The Hippie Movement was spurred on by right-brained thinkers.
Left-brained thinkers often find themselves as lawyers or politicians or in the military. They like the structure and measurable success that these fields can offer. Is it any wonder that with a predominantly left-brained society, the US economy is based on business growth? Does it surprise you that the US is #1 in military power in the world?
It's interesting to think about how the US is not the global leader in green technology and with green movements. But, it makes sense. Being "green" has long been associated with more right-brained thinking. Furthermore, it is science that is not rooted in tradition and the very idea of global warming is unpredictable.
Based On Reading, Which Do You Think You Are?
Left-Brain or Right-Brain?
If you feel like you exhibit traits from both right and left-brain thinking, well, you're exactly human.
We all use both sides of the brain, but many of us tend to have one side or the other that is dominant. Some people do not seem to have a dominant side and use both sides of the brain equally.
Because the US is a left-brained society, I would think that more people in the US are left-brained than right.
Did You Know?
The US military budget was $700 billion in 2010? It is the #1 military power in the world.
Who was #2? You might have guessed it: China. They only spent $119 billion.
The UK took third place, spending "only" $59.6 billion.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun