Sunday, April 20, 2008

Left-brained epiphanies!

In an earlier post about two new movies featuring introverted eggheads who emerge from transformative experiences more passionate and socially engaged, I asked whether all epiphanies are right-brained.  How often, for example, does an outgoing musician learn that what makes him truly happy is retreating to his study to analyze business cycles and market equilibria?

In response, Dawn of Day by Day Discoveries posted an inspiring comment that she's given me permission to reprint here:

I've been a life-long dreamer who draws and sings and is (or so I thought) as right-brained as the day is long.

Then I started really looking at math while homeschooling my kids and engaging in demanding debates and suddenly I've had a blossoming of rational thought and a found a lot of joy in numbers. It has been wonderful.

I don't know what kind of thinker I am now though I suspect I hover in the middle.

Dawn went on to take an online test that assesses how systematizing (left-brained) and empathetic (right-brained) you are.

I scored in the average range at 34 on the systemizing quotient but above the male average of 30.

On the emotional quotient I was 52, slightly higher than the average for women.

There must be other unsung tales like Dawn's--ones that may not play in Hollywood but are nonetheless compelling.  And should be told.  

If you have one you'd like to share, please post it as a comment below. 

I'm hoping there will be enough to make today's feature a regular one.


Liz Ditz said...

I distrust the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy on general principles.

HOWEVER, 1984 was a watershed year for me: I acquired an Osborne portable computer (which I named Ozzie). Suddenly, I discovered the satisfactions of quantitative analysis! I did not have to undertake the huge cognitive burden of mathematics my own self -- my faithful friend Ozzie did the calculations, and I could now play with assumptions. I was in an MBA program at the time. I'd read a case study, and have a way of quantifying my sense that "hmmmn, something's wrong here". I had enough math to set up the parameters, and Ozzie's abilities let me play until my intuitions were quantified.

Hmmmn. I'm also thinking about the cognitive demands of interpreting behavior. I have a dog (a middle-aged, female Golden Retriever) and I'm currently taking care of a friend's dog (a young, female Border Collie). Today I had a guest who is naive about dogs; he was very much concerned about the "aggression" the dogs were displaying. Well, they were playing--play biting, play growling, play chasing. To him, it was fearful aggression; to me, I could easily see by the dogs' respective demeanors that it was just play.

Dawn said...

[Out in Left Field wants to know about any right-brainers out there who've had left-brained epiphanies...]

PaulaV said...

I scored in the average range at 35 on the systemizing quotient. On the emotional quotient I was also a52. On the Reading the Mind test, I was a 27.

I certainly never thought I would be interested in reading graphs or stats on cognitive behavior. Yet, one day this changed when my son's principal told me he was unfocused and had a disconnect in math. I've became quite obsessed with finding out all I can on working memory, executive function, processing speed and how it relates to various subjects.

Also, those reading the mind skills come in handy when your dealing with educrats.

Tim Worstall said...

There's another set of the Simon Baron Cohen tests out there. Slightly Americanised.
Worth noting that it's not the nominal numbers you get which is the important thing. It's the relationship between the two.
For different people (the same person on different days even) will give different answers as to how "important" something is because we simply assign different values to "important".
So rather than "EQ of 30" being the result, or even whether that number os the average for men and women, it's "EQ result half, or double SQ result" which is the important thing to be looking at.