Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Game for Developing Left Brain AND Right Brain

I am very interested in the learning theories around the dominance of different hemispheres of the brain--the whole "left brain/right brain" business.  Both according to the test we've taken and just observation in our everyday lives, my son and I are both right-brained--intuitive, global, diffuse (some might say "scattered") thinkers.  My husband, on the other hand, is left-brained--sequential, narrowly-focused, organized, one-thing-at-a-time, logical thinker.

Of course, as the theories always say, no one (at least, no one without a brain injury or something) works out of just one half of the brain.  We all can access both parts of the brains when we need to, but for most of us, it is easier or more natural to operate from one hemisphere or the other--leading up to apply the wrong hemisphere thinking to some tasks, just because that mode of thinking feels more natural to us.

However, I just came across a game to help us with that.  The computer-based game Twinoo, by Dawn of Play, is a fast-paced game that requires you to draw on both sides of your brain.  On the left side of the screen, a simple math problem flashes up, and you only have a few seconds to choose which of the three possible answers is the correct one.  

Pretty easy so far, isn't it?

Except at the same time, a color mixing problem flashes up on the right side, and you have to select the correct answer for that one as well.  This time, your "equation" is a square of one color (red, say) and another square of a different color (for example, blue).  You have to decide which of the three squares of color below the problem is the right solution (in this case, purple).

That doesn't sound too bad either.  The thing is, the color equations usually aren't that clear cut.  So, for example, you will get an aqua square and a light yellow square, and you have to figure out which of the three shades of green below is the most likely for that combination.

Plus, the time is ticking down on both of them at the same time.  You go back and forth, answering both questions, until you've missed three on one side or the other.  Then the game is over.

The best I've been able to do is 21 correct on both sides, for a total score of 42.  I am finding that I am getting better, least sometimes.  And it isn't consistent for me about which side I mess up on--the left brain side or the right brain side.

I will also say I don't think this is the greatest test for right brain dominance.  While I am right brained, I am not primarily a visual learner.  I haven't tried it with my son yet, who is very visual, but I suspect he would be much better at it than I am.  Of course, he is pretty much better than I am at all video games... he has those quick reflexes, if nothing else.

Anyway, it's a fun game to play for a bit, and I think it might just help develop both sides of your brain.  At least, it couldn't hurt!

You can play the game online here, or get it for $0.99 for the iPod or iPad at the Apple App Store or for Android devices at the App Store on Amazon.

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