The fad was called “whole brain thinking” or "right brain thinking." In that ancient tradition, the left side of your brain deals with processes that are logical, verbal, abstract, sequential, evaluative, and analytic. The right side of your brain is supposed to deal with processes that are imaginative, creative, gestural, intuitive, concrete, integrative, and global.
Now stop reading for a moment and guess what a brain scientist would say about this description.
No. Don’t read on. Imagine that you've asked the scientist about whole brain thinking.
What does the scientist say?
This is not a test. It is a call to the part of your brain that lets you predict what other people will say. That's part of the whole brain you are thinking about. It is not the part that reads and nods your head.
Of course, the scientist says, “It’s a lot more complicated.” Scientists always say things like that. They never say, “Well, it’s all solved and I’ll have to look for another job.”
But it is complicated. Technology can make colored pictures showing what brain modules are busy when you do some mental task. The upshot is that your brain can put together the modules it needs to do a job. If you talk, your talking modules light up. But if you are talking about an image from your memory, your seeing modules also light up.
So what modules in your brain light up when you think? That depends on what you mean by thinking. If your thinking is like talking to yourself, then you probably only light up the modules that handle speech. If you use your imagination, you probably light up whatever modules you need for that imagining job.
That doesn't mean that you can just turn on any modules you please. You will notice that when I asked you to imagine, I reminded you to stop reading. That’s because you imagine with some of the same modules you use for reading. The two jobs will interfere with each other.
So you really don’t want to think with your whole brain. Those modules are like brain tools. You want to pick the best tools for a job. You would not think of dumping your whole toolbox on a job.
What parts of the brain do what jobs? By now, this is so complicated that even a rocket scientist can’t keep up with it. (It takes a brain scientist.) But your brain already knows how to turn on modules. All you need to do is remind it. Maybe help it pick the right tools to fit the job. And keep other modules from getting in the way.
If I know what I want my brain to do, why do I need to remind it?
You already know the answer to this. At least, part of your brain does. Your brain has several ways of doing things. If you don't pay attention to what it does, it will probably choose the quickest way. That may not be the best way to get you what you want. -
So the right part of your brain is not a place. It is a choice. Choose wisely. *****