Monday, January 25, 2010

Are right-brainers really quirkier than left-brainers?

In the title review of my book (which no longer appears on Amazon), one reason the reviewer was convinced my title was wrong was that she was sure that quirky, creative kids must be right-brainers, not left-brainers. A similar reaction is seen in a comment about my book on Wrong, a site for adults with Asperger's Syndrome: "I was under the impression that most people WERE left-brained. I thought right-brained people were very creative types, artists."

I've already addressed the creativity issue. But what of the notion that most people are left-brained, such that what's quirky and special are right-brained traits? The popularity of this notion, I maintain, is evidence that there's in fact a widespread right-brain bias that marginalizes left-brainers. People seem to forget that left-brainers aren't merely boring accountant types, but also those with extreme focus and drive, who often develop encyclopedic knowledge and preternatural skills in specific areas--whether in math, music, physics, design, or engineering (to name just a few of the more stereotypical areas).

And people seem to forget that a quintessential left-brain trait is resistance to working in groups and insistence on marching to one's own drummer.

Surely these are quirky traits? But too many people (too many right-brainers?) either forget about them, or are reluctant to give them their due.

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