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Thursday, April 28, 2011

T3 - Is Your Character Left Brained or Right Brained?

It's pop quiz day! Take a break from your writing or from work to take the quiz below as your character. Score it and then read on to learn why this might be important in characterization.

Right Brain v. Left Brain Quiz

The following “forced choice” questions give only two possible answers.You must choose one of them, even if you don’t think either is appropriate.  Pick the answer that is more likely to apply to your behavior.  Go quickly and go with your gut (first response).

1. Which of the following statements is more characteristic of you?
 a. I’m a tense person.  I worry about getting things right.  I’m more nervous that most people.
 b. I’m relaxed and easygoing; you can’t fight life, so you may as well roll with the punches.

2. Do you get depressed a lot?
 a. Yes
 b.  No

3. Think about the music you like. Which is more important?
 a. The beat
 b. The melody

4. If you were learning a new skill, which of the following ways of acquiring knowledge would appeal to you more?
 a. Reading books and attending lectures on the subject
 b. An “experience oriented” approach consisting of field trips, workshops, lab work and apprenticeship.

5. If you were in college, which of these two majors would you select?
 a. Art
 b. Math

6. Which of these games would you rather play?
 a. Scrabble
 b. Checkers 

7. Which statement more accurately describes your behavior?
 a. I’m an impulsive buyer; when I want something, I get it even if I can’t afford it.
 b. I’m a deliberate shopper; I think about something before I buy it.  Sometimes I wait so long that what I want is sold out by the time I decide to buy it.  I often talk myself out of things I first thought I wanted.

8. Are you often unsure of your grammar?
 a. Yes
 b. No

9. When you learn something new how does the process usually work?
 a. I flounder around until suddenly a light goes on and I get the knack of it; understanding seems to come all at once, as if a curtain had lifted or a door opened.
 b. I work gradually, learning one aspect at a time; eventually I begin to understand all the pieces and can put the whole picture together.

10. If you have to solve a problem, which would you choose?
 a. A crossword puzzle
 b. A jigsaw puzzle

11. Do you often have hunches?
 a. Yes
 b. No

12. If you could do only one or the other, would you rather
 a. Read a book
 b. See a movie

13. Do you often have trouble putting your feelings and opinions into words; do you have trouble expressing what you really mean?
 a. Yes
 b. No

14. If you have to park a car parallel to the curb, do you
 a. Usually get it right the first time
 b. Usually have to pull out at least once and try anther time

15. If you were taking a trip and someone were giving you directions, would you prefer that he
 a. Write down the directions, listing the route numbers, turnoffs and landmarks in order
 b. Show you the route on a map

16. When you’re choosing clothes, are you more likely to select
a. Fabrics with a lot of texture; such as leather, suede, thick wools, silk shirts and corduroy
b. Relatively understated fabrics, such as cottons and normal weight suits

17. Do you remember faces well?
 a. Yes
 b. No

18. Do you remember people’s names well?
 a. Yes
 b. No

19. With which of the following statements would you be more likely to agree?
 a. There are many things that science will never be able to explain
 b. There’s a natural law that governs everything; therefore, science should eventually be able to
explain things that at first appear to be mysteries

20. Are you a better than average athlete?
 a. Yes
 b. No

Of the two answers to each question, one is more likely to be chosen by a left-hemisphere dominant person and the other by a right-hemisphere dominant person. (Click for downloadable .pdfs that go into more detail about each hemisphere than the picture below.) Left-hemisphere choices are indicated by an “L”, right-hemisphere choices by “R”.

If you choose 13 or more “L” answers, it’s probable your brain’s left hemisphere exerts the dominant force on your personality.  If you choose 13 or more “R” answers, it is most likely that the right brain dominates.  If you ended up with a relative balance between your “L” and “R” answers (that is, if you didn’t score more than 12 or fewer than 8 in either category), you are in a middle group described as “balanced brain.” Quiz courtesy of Pflugerville (TX) Independent School District.

So why is this important? There are definite trends in interests and gifts and talents based on whether a person is left or right-brained. For example, if your character is right-brain dominant, it is her intuitive, emotional right hemisphere that guides the decisions she makes throughout the day. If he is left-brain dominant, it is his sequential, time-oriented left hemisphere which tells him how to think, what to believe, and what choices to make. Those who are middle-brain dominant tend to be more flexible than either the left- or the right-brain folks; however, they often vacillate between the two hemispheres when they make decisions.

So how does your character's brain side preference play into your story?

For a more detailed test that actually breaks down scores within the left and right brain hemispheres, go to the Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test at The Art Institute of Vancouver. This is actually a very interesting site, so check it out.

Pop back over next week when I go over Motivation-Reaction Units from a therapist's standpoint. You writer's won't be disappointed....MRUs will finally make sense!

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Story and Logic Media Group said...

Question: Should I answer the questions as the me before Prozac, or after? =)

Unknown said...

Not so much a character question, but I've been, for the last year or so, teaching myself to do a lot of things left handed just for the fun of it. Does this mean I'm generally training the right side of my brain, or is it just the portion that controls motor functions?

Interesting post though.

Anonymous said...

Love this. I took the test for my MC and myself. She's fairly balanced, but I'm a definite lefty.

Kenda Turner said...

Will definitely use this test on my character, what a fun way to look into her personality a little deeper (and myself, too, but that's beside the point!). Thanks for all this info'....

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post, Jeannie! My character had 12 right-brained short of being off-balance. :) I'm bookmarking this so I can check out those other links sometime. Thanks for sharing!

Anne Baxter Campbell said...

I'm left--which I figured out some time back and your test confirmed it. Now I have to talk my characters into taking this test. Some of them are reluctant to be analyzed.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.