Two movies released this week feature introverted, soul-deadened, betweeded professors who are as academically eggheaded, i.e., as left-brained, as they are clueless about all that right-brained stuff: human relationships and spirituality...In the stories we like best, it always seems to be a right-brained epiphany.
I left a comment letting the author know that I had indeed had a left-brained epiphany.
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've always thought I was a right-brained thinker. I tended to be empathic and artsy and well, I am left handed. All the things associated with being right-brained right?
Well, first there was the epiphany and then some tests that Lefty provided in the comments on Empathy versus Systemizing.
I took the Systemizing Quotient test.
0 - 19 = low
20 - 39 = average (most women score about 24 and most men score about 30)
40 - 50 = above average (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score in this range)
51 - 80 is very high (three times as many people with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score in this range)
80 is maximum
I'm a 34. That's within average but quite a bit higher then what most women score and even higher then what most men score. That's a challenge to my notions about myself.
I then took the Empathy Quotient test.
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum
I scored 52. That's more like it. A little above what most women score and what I expected.
Okay. Then I took the Autism Spectrum Quotient test.
0 - 10 = low
11 - 22 = average (most women score about 15 and most men score about 17)
23 - 31 = above average
32 - 50 is very high (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 35)
50 is maximum
I had always chalked up my interest in drawing, singing and the arts in general to some vague right-brained artiness. The first two tests had me questioning that. The more I think about it my interest usually lies in the structure of a piece or a song rather then what emotion it evokes. Is it maybe not the interest in art the points to how you think but rather, what excites you about art? I remember seeing a piece of art that basically looked like a close up of backlit window blinds. The person I was with said it left her cold and dismissed it. I thought it was fantastic and kept poring over the details - the structure.
The tests also had me reflecting on my childhood and I was surprised to learn that the images I often called up were ones that supported my previous idea that I was an right-brained thinker rather then a systematic thinker. The emotional attachment to paper scraps, the empathy for other kids. What did I often not recall? Things I don't quite know how to even explain. Like an an obsession with counting things and needing them to end in even numbers or having to mentally reconstruct scenes I was looking at to make them symmetrical or follow a consistant pattern. I haven't even thought much about those so I don't know how to properly communicate what I was doing but I did realize I've cherry-picked my memory to conform to my idea of myself.
I don't know how accurate the tests are. What I do know is that they've challenged me to think about myself and who I think I am. To not whittle myself down to some personality type but explore the possibility that I'm probably a person that encompasses a whole spectrum of personalities types. I suspect the same is true for most of us.