What is
Right-Brain Learning?

Seeing like Einstein

If any of the above rings a bell, it is probably because you are familiar with the phenomenon of savants - autistic or otherwise mentally deficient individuals with genius-level skills in specific areas.

According to studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, both geniuses and savants show greater-than-average activation in the right hemisphere of the brain. The left brain is responsible for verbal processing, which explains why savants (who commonly have damage to the left brain) typically experience difficulties with language.

The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for visual and spatial processing, and the ability to "see" problems in multiple dimensions is one of the most prodigious talents of the greatest physicists. Interestingly, Einstein not only possessed this ability, he also suffered from language delays in childhood, inviting suggestions that he was a savant.

So why can't we all use our right brain the way Einstein did? Our left brain is dominant for a reason: by suppressing the activities of the right, it filters out a surfeit of data constantly bombarding our senses. This enables us to make sense of reality and avoid sensory overload. Without the left-brain filter, autism sufferers typically are hypersensitive to sensory stimuli and find ordinary social interactions overwhelming. The rest of us take for granted, for example, the ability to hold a conversation without being distracted by background noises. But because our perception of reality is controlled by the left brain, this means a great deal of the sensory input we receive is entering beneath the conscious radar, making it difficult to access that information at will.

The idea of right-brain teaching is to change both the way we learn and the way we recall data. The normal way to memorize information is to store it in our short-term memory (in the left brain) and use repetition to transfer it to our long-term memory (in the right brain). By bypassing the left brain and accessing our long-term memory directly, we learn faster. We can also learn to recall information normally not accessible because it has been received on a subconscious level - say, through speed reading. The only way to achieve this is by freeing the right hemisphere of the brain from its suppression by the left. In doing so, the right brain becomes activated - much as it is in a genius, savant, or young child!

Learn about the genius state...