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Thread: 'waking up' a hemisphere

  1. #1 'waking up' a hemisphere 
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    Hi,
    My life-drawing teacher frequently asks us to draw with our non-preferred hand, stating matter-of-factly that this will 'wake up' the other side of our brains. I think this is quite spurious, and even if switching hands did somehow stimulate additional regions of the brain, would this even affect performance?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Short answer : no.

    It is possible to develop skills with either hand. For example, right handed people playing the guitar use their left hand to operate the frets, and get very good and dextrous at it. But this just trains the specific part of the brain required for that task. Not an entire hemisphere.


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  4. #3  
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    So such an exercise has no value (won't affect one's drawing ability)?
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  5. #4  
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    No value? I expect that anything that makes an artist think twice or try harder at such things is beneficial in general. The mere fact that using the other hand shades and obscures different portions of the surface you're working on can give you a new view on what you're doing can be beneficial. (That's why trying hand writing with the non-dominant hand is so difficult. It's not just the writing that's hard, it's seeing what you're doing.) And there will be a few students in every class who will discover that they are ambidextrous (to varying extents) and this is also valuable.

    Drawing ability? In the end, most people rely on hand eye coordination and trained fine motor skills to become good at drawing. So even if the other hand type exercise enhances some people's learning, you will finish up developing the RH or LH skill you started with.

    There is no "other" hemisphere of the brain to wake up. Don't blame your teacher too much. Teacher training is full of unscientific notions that are still taught as fact and accepted into practice long after an idea (that was fleetingly entertained 20+ years earlier by cognitive scientists) has been abandoned by people who really know their stuff.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Forum Junior epidecus's Avatar
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    Depends on what effect your art teacher is expecting. He may be referencing to the left-brain / right-brain proficiency idea, which is sort of a myth. The left hemisphere is not strictly logical and analytical while the right is purely creative and open-minded. Behavior and thought are much more complicated than a black-and-white brain.

    So if he's expecting people to become more creative by stimulating their right-hemispheres, he won't get any marvelous changes. However, this doesn't mean that switching hands won't have any effect on stimulating the brain in a different manner. Since I'm not a neurologist nor an anatomist, I'm not sure how it doing such a thing might affect creativity or raw performance, but it's an interesting notion nonetheless.
    Dis muthufukka go hard. -Quote
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