Monday, December 24, 2012

Contralateral Brain Exercises for Programmers

Lateralization of brain function has been well studied, and if there's one thing nobody disagrees on, at this point, it's that the brain does the bulk of its speech and language processing on the left side (in or near Broca's area). The right brain does have its own language comprehension ability (particularly when it comes to understanding metaphors, idioms, and prosody), but in general the right hemisphere lacks any ability to comprehend syntax or grammar, and people who suffer trauma to the left brain's speech and language centers develop profound verbal disabilities whereas damage to the right brain seldom produces profound language deficits.

It's also fairly well accepted that "the left hemisphere has been shown to be better prepared to process information in a more analytical, logical, or sequential fashion," whereas "the right hemisphere more efficiently serves tasks that require the holistic, or simultaneous, processing of nonverbal gestalts and the complex transformations of complex visual patterns" (The Neuropsychology Handbook, Chapter 7).

Writers and programmers deal (intensively and regularly) with large amounts of text; text that deals with sequential logic and conforms to especially rigid rules. This unavoidably brings a huge amount of left-brain usage. Is that a problem? No. But it might mean writers and programmers (and other "left-brain-intensive" folks) could benefit from greater engagement of the right hemisphere, because creative problem-solving requires active participation by both halves of the brain.

If one accepts the notion that programmers are (in work mode, at least) heavily lateralized to favor the left hemisphere, it stands to reason that those of us who deal in code for a living could benefit from contralateral brain exercises (exercises designed to stimulate the less-used side of the brain; the right side, in this case).

What does this mean in practice? If you already have hobbies or activities that engage your right brain, you might want to consider doing those things more intensively and more regularly. For example, if you occasionally play a musical instrument (an activity that requires an exceptional amount of cross-hemisphere coordination), start playing the instrument every day rather than occasionally.

If you like to paint, set aside time each day to paint. Do it intensively and regularly.

If you like photography, take photographs every day, without fail.  

Build up stamina for whatever it is you do that brings your less-dominant hemisphere into alignment.

If classical music gets your juices going, take a several-minute-long break once every hour or so (or during any natural break point in your work) to listen to classical music. Note that music is processed bilaterally, in a non-straightforward way [Andrade and Bhattacharya, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, June 2003 vol. 96 no. 6 284-287). But the point is, any kind of music processing requires the active participation of the right brain. So if your right brain has been "going to sleep" (not literally, of course) while you've been writing code, you can wake it up again simply by listening to music.

Interestingly, a certain amount of evidence exists that comprehension of poetry depends largely on right-brain engagement. Therefore, if you like poetry, try reading some before you sit down to work every morning.

My favorite exercise is this: Find an image of something that elicits a strongly positive non-verbal reaction in you (something that, just by its appearance, inspires you). It might be a picture of your favorite athlete in a moment of triumph. It might be a photo of some natural wonder (the Grand Canyon, a mountain, a glacier, a forest). It might be a picture of an iPhone. Whatever.

Tape the picture to the corner (or edge) of your monitor in the morning before you begin work. Leave it there, in your peripheral vision, for a while. Maybe all week.

You don't actually have to look at the photo to be affected by it. Its mere presence in the visual field will have an effect on your brain. I'm convinced this is why so many people put pictures of their children (or spouse, etc.) on their desk. You don't put a picture of your child on the desk to remind yourself that you have a child, nor to remind yourself what your child looks like. You already know what your child looks like. You've seen the picture a million times already, in any case. You put the picture there because its mere presence inspires you to perform better.

Try the inspiring-photo-in-your-peripheral-vision technique for a week, and try changing the photo to a different one every now and then. See if it doesn't spur your creativity. It works for me. Let me know if it works for you.


  1. May 29, 2013 Update: Since starting this website, I have received over 120 emails with people that had the same experience of being ripped off. While I wish I could publish all of them, I simply don’t have the time. So, I will do my best to publish as many of them as I can. Thanks for the great feedback, let’s bring these assholes some justice via Karma.
    “Karma, serving justice in the universe one asshole at a time.”

    Are you debating on using for a paper and wondering if they are legitimate? Well, I already took that chance for you and paid $600 for a dissertation to be written. It wasn’t good and the writer was from Pakistan, like most of them. I did my research on this company and really dug up some information that they don’t want you to know. Start by watching the video below and then browse the others to see why scams people out of their money.

    I cannot be the only one who was scammed by these con artists. Share your story to

    Surely, these guys are making some money with all of their customers and their online marketing efforts, but is it fair that they are misleading customers so clearly? I mean, it’s amazing that people even buy from them without doing their diligence in the first place. I just wish that people would read the reviews I posted first. They would clearly see that these guys are not in it to do the right thing. In fact, they are in business to make as much money as possible while letting awful writers write papers for them. If they are not American, they just can’t write good papers for American students. This is important to keep in mind. You can read my review as well as many others to see what I mean. They just take your money and don’t deliver on their promise.

    1 out of

    based on
    101 ratings.
    123 user reviews.

  2. Brain exercises for programmers? This is really interesting :)

  3. Our company has well equipped machines and modern tools that ensure quality and fast production with the help of which we are able to manufacture more than 5,000 office chairs per year.
    Chair Supplier in Mumbai
    Office Chair Supplier in Mumbai
    Visitor Chair Supplier in Mumbai
    Chair Dealers in Mumbai
    Top Chair Manufacturers in Mumbai
    Best Chair Manufacturers in Mumbai

  4. Many packers and movers Hyderabad, Telangana may boast about offering a huge list of services with little to no skill or expertise to carry out those services as required. You need to check with every packer and mover if they have the experience to fulfil your specific requirements properly, and will complete your relocation in the most cost-effective way possible.
    Movers and Packers in Gachibowli
    Movers and Packers in Kukatpally
    Movers and Packers in Chanda Nagar
    Movers and Packers in Manikonda

  5. As a leading service provider for Packers and Movers in Mumbai we have a mission to provide the best services. Quality, excellence, politeness are the main attributes which we work upon to build the relation with our clients.
    Packers and Movers in Churchgate
    Packers and Movers in Marine Lines
    Packers and Movers in Charni Road
    Packers and Movers in Lower Parel

  6. When you have a reliable Nursing Papers for Sale company, you only expect to obtain high-quality Nursing Research Paper that have been written according to your instructions.

  7. Outpatient treatment, then again, licenses the person to proceed with their customary life while as yet answering to the rehab community for help and direction. Most of liquor rehab focuses offer the two types of treatment.
    inspirational quotes for addiction
    rehab quotes

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP is Going to Conduct the 10th Class Public Examination in the month of March 2023 under Parent Organization Department of Education, Uttar Pradesh, Government of Uttar Pradesh, UPMSP is Published in the 10th Class Exam Date Sheet 2023 Available at Official Website. UP Board 10th Class Question Paper 2023 Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP) has Announce the UP 10th Class Model Question Paper 2023 2023 for Pdf format, We are Providing here the Blueprint 2023 of Hindi, English, Mathematics, Social Science , Science All Subjects in PDF File Format. UP Board 10th Class Latest and Last Year Exam Study Material for Syllabus 2023, Question Paper 2023 etc, Hindi, English Medium Pdf Format.


Add a comment. Registration required because trolls.