It has to do with how your brain processes information. Although the left and right hemispheres of the brain are similar structures, they have specialized functions. The left side is more logic-based and dominant, while the right is the more imaginative side.
Since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice-versa the left ear has been shown in some research to be the route to the emotional side of the brain, and the right ear to the non-emotional, logical side.
The right eye has also been shown to be best for processing colors, and the right foot is the most vulnerable to tickling. The left cheek is the more favorable one to kiss, and the left side is the favored one for holding babies. Support for the idea comes from a number of psychological and brain scanning studies, and from research based on patients with brain injuries.
Your brain is an amazing piece of equipment. That three-pound mass of gray and white matter between your ears is the most complex object in the known universe, containing as many neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Scientists are still working out exactly how your brain works. They still don’t know how information is coded in neural activity, or how memories are stored and retrieved. Many still believe we only use a mere 10 percent of our brain, although that is probably nothing more than a myth.
But years of science seem to bear out that the right brain and the left brain serve different functions -- and much of your mental ability is dependent on the ways in which they interact. Left brain functions include:
- Words and language
- Math and science
- Order/pattern perception
While your right brain is responsible for:
- Symbols and images
- Philosophy and religion
- Spatial perception
This has been confirmed by studies on stroke patients, which have demonstrated, for example, that left-side damage causes more problems with speech and language. Even more fascinating is research which has been undertaken to examine the effects of a severed or absent corpus callosum -- that is the brain structure that links the two hemispheres.
These “split brained” patients are most often the result of a rare surgery in which the corpus callosum is cut as a last resort to mitigate the effects of severe epilepsy. A patient with a split brain is unable to name objects shown only to their left eye, which is controlled by the right side of the brain; they know it is there, but cannot put words to it. The speech-control center is on the left side of the brain, and with no connection, the information cannot bridge the gap. They can easily name objects shown to their right eye, however.
There are some theories that postulate that the different hemispheres of a split-brained person may even have different "personalities" and contradictory goals. When the left hand literally does not know what the right hand is doing, they can engage in completely different activities, or even try to prevent each other from completing a task!
Even in regular people with both hemispheres linked, the implications of the right brain/left brain split are fascinating. The right hemisphere is more involved in the processing of jokes, so humor may be funnier when it comes in through your left ear. Some 70 to 85 percent of women their cradle babies on the left, regardless of whether they are left-handed or right-handed, because it may help them to better understand their child's emotional needs.
The scent of flowers may have more impact on the left nostril, and you remember pictures better if you see them through your left eye. Most people look to the right when thinking about language-related questions, but look to the left when thinking about the spatial questions. This is thought to result from the different sides of your brain processing different information.
It can be interesting to find out whether you’re primarily “right-brained” or “left-brained”, and it can tell you a great deal about your personality -- whether you lean towards being verbal and logical, or emotional and intuitive. But in either case, remember that nutritious eating habits and regular exercise are your two best allies when it comes to keeping your brain healthy and working optimally – regardless of whether you’re a right brainer or a left brainer.