“The Brain is the citadel of the senses; this guides the principle of thought.”
The human brain is the most powerful organ in the body. Over the years, humans have used the brain as a tool to create, destroy, manipulate, rule and several others.
To begin with, the brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere, which is separated by a nerve called the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere performs a specific role that distinguishes it from the other hemisphere. The left hemisphere is responsible for logical reasoning, numerical skills, facts, risk taking tendencies and linguistic tasks. Hence, our ability to solve a mathematical problem, learn a new language or even remember facts has to do with the left hemisphere.
The right hemisphere on the other hand, is responsible for creativity, imagination, sobriety, visual interpretation, colour perception etc. So that seamstress who designs and sews nice styles, and that artist friend of yours who draws you beautifully does so by the help of the right hemisphere. Interestingly, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. In this exposition, we would look at how the brain (both hemispheres) is involved in diseases and decision taking.
How the brain is involved in diseases: Stroke
Diseases are inseparably part of us all, which is rather unfortunate and the brain plays a major role in diseases such as stroke. Stroke is a life-threatening disease that typically affects the central nervous system. It may be caused by a blockage in the arteries of the brain due to blood clots which prevents blood from flowing to the brain. Sometimes, leakage of blood into the brain when an artery ruptures causes stroke.
Research has shown that two-thirds of stroke affects the two hemispheres of the brain. A person who suffers stroke in the left hemisphere usually experiences paralysis on the right side of the body. Hence, he or she may not be able to move the right leg, arm or even eye. He or she may also experience an impaired ability to organize and analyze items. Since the left hemisphere controls linguistic tasks such as speaking, writing and comprehension of language, the stroke could eventually lead to difficulty in speaking, writing or gesturing. A person who has stroke in the right hemisphere experiences paralysis on the left side of the body. He or she may experience an inability to localize body parts, understand maps and develop problems with depth perception or directions.
Early symptoms of stroke includes numbness of the face, arm or leg, severe headache from time to time, slurred speech, trouble speaking and walking. Stroke may be typically caused by obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and genetic factors.
Although stroke is not completely avoidable, one can minimize the chances of suffering a stroke by adopting a healthy lifestyle:
- Exercise regularly
- Manage and control emotions such as anger and aggression.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Eat food rich in fibre
- Quit smoking
How the brain is involved in decision making.
We all make decisions; good or bad, and usually these decisions are influenced by others. Business partners, marketers, would-be suitors and friends have influenced our decision making physically or virtually by manipulating our brains. A research on brain specialisation and risk taking by Drake (1994) showed that people are willing to make risky decisions when their left hemisphere is more active than the right. This is because the right hemisphere is more cautious and sober. Since the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, a marketer trying to convince a prospect into buying an insurance package or take a business risk would be more successful if he speaks at the client’s right side. Similarly, a guy attempting to woo a lady acquaintance would be more successful if he proposes from her right side. This way, the left hemisphere is stimulated.
Alternatively, a parent trying to reprimand a child for wrong behaviour should do so while facing the child’s left side and an advice is likely to be taken if the advisor speaks to the other from his or her left side. This is because the right hemisphere is more thoughtful and cautious.
It should be noted however that success in attempting to convince or persuade depends on a willful heart.