Pedagogy in Action > Library > Context-Rich Problems > Examples > Hemispheric Lateralization: Are You Left- or Right-Brained?

Hemispheric Lateralization: Are You Left- or Right-Brained?

Michelle B. Kunz, Morehead State University, using online resources from a web page designed by Mark Templeton, Ph.D., part of a MERLOT learning object and an online Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test by Intelegen Inc.
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This activity is an online interactive quiz or test that examines brain dominance. Students are assigned the task of completing one of two online inventory tests, and then to examine how they learn and process information. The activity can be used to support a lecture in consumer behavior on perception and information processing, or it can be used as an introductory exercise at the beginning of the semester, to assist students in identifying their learning style. In particular, this might be very effective in the online course environment to help students determine what support materials and means of self-directed learning might be the most effective, based upon their learning styles.

Learning Goals

In this activity students will:
  1. Identify their individual learning style/brain dominance
  2. Investigate how brain dominance influences information processing
  3. Identify differences in information processing, based upon brain dominance

Context for Use

This activity provides students the opportunity to apply the results of a self-administered brain-dominance inventory to the concept of information processing, as well as their personal learning style characteristics. This is an appropriate activity in a class lecture covering perception, such as a consumer behavior class. It might also be discussed in an advertising class or unit, and could be used to demonstrate how individuals process information differently based upon the type of stimuli and cues present. It can also be used at the beginning of a term to help students identify how they learn most effectively.

In particular, this could be a great exercise in an online class, for those students new or uncomfortable with the online learning environment. Given a variety of supplemental learning materials available to both students and instructors, it helps identify who needs visual and auditory learning aids, while the others may discover they best learn by using interactive, self-quizzes and additional reading materials.

Description and Teaching Materials

Assign the preferred online brain dominance inventory; I usually post this in the online course management system as an external link. Have the students complete the inventory, and determine their brain dominance, left or right brain. Also have them review the accompanying results explaining the way they process information.

Teaching Notes and Tips

There are many online brain dominance tests, but the two I have listed below are presented in the simplest format for my students to use. The accompanying materials that explain how individuals process information differently—and this can be related to perception and information processing. The MERLOT resource is designed primarily for assisting students in understanding how they learn; however, the web site design is very complex and may be confusing to students. If you give students the direct link to the inventory, rather than the full website, it reduces confusion, UNLESS you plan to the use entire site for students to better understand their learning styles, and improve their study skills. Therefore, I tend to give them the online inventory links, and ask them to review the accompanying explanation materials.

When we meet back in the next class for discussion, (or in an online course via the discussion board) I point out the supplemental and explanatory information as it relates to how individuals process information differently. If I am using it at the beginning of a semester, I use this class discussion to point out the multiple formats I use for assignments, discussion, research, papers, and learner support materials. For either application, the Towson site for Cerebral Mode is an excellent in-class discussion / demonstration to support the unit.


Summary Questions for this exercise:
  1. Are you left or right brain dominant?
  2. What types of cognitive processing do you employ?
  3. Explain three ways this influences the way you process information?

If using this for a class discussion on perception and information processing, these questions would be appropriate:
  • How do left and right brained consumers process a TV ad differently?
  • How would left and right brained consumers process a radio ad differently?
  • What changes in each of the above media presentation would you make to help all consumers process the information?

References and Resources