Monday, February 21, 2011

Testing your character's brain dominance

When I interviewed author Jeannie Watt earlier this month, she talked about being both left and right brain dominant. That made me realize that I've never taken a brain dominance test. It also made me wonder about character brain dominance. No. Seriously.

When we're brainstorming or plotting a new story, we're supposed to dig deep and really explore our characters. Even if the gory details don't show up in the manuscript, knowing your character's favorite hobby, color, type of food, type of travel, perhaps even their astrological sign, can help you make them more real. It can guide you in making sure any decisions they make would hold true to their personality.

So what about brain dominance? Well, if you've ever read through a brain dominance test, it's full of questions that could spark your character brainstorming session. Even if you don't care about the final result, answering those questions from your character's perspective could be an interesting excercise. And besides, it's kind of fun and you (or your character) have nothing to lose.

A good one is The Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test. Not only does it give you a percentage left vs right result, it also breaks the results down into different strengths/weaknesses such as being logical, fantasy-oriented, intuitive and many more. My results on this test? 51% left brained and 49% right brained. Pretty close to evenly split.

Another test (but much shorter one) is the Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test. On that one I ended up evenly split with a 9 left and 9 right score. I also ended up categorized as 'middle brained' on a test geared for teens. Okay. I'm a bit older than a teen, but I had fun thinking back to how I would have answered a very...very long time ago ;). And some of us have teen characters. Right?

And BTW, if you come across the Spinning Dancer test for brain dominance, know that it's just an optical illusion...not a true dominance test.

So have fun. Explore your characters in a new way. Discover your own brain dominance while you're at it. Care to share?


  1. You know when I take these tests, I tend to be right-brained. But I had to take an EEG once and the doc kept running into an anomaly. He said it showed both sides of my brain were working in tandem. (I know, hard to believe my brain works at all sometimes. LOL.)

  2. I'm 57% left brain dominated. So pretty close to equal too. :)

  3. 53% right brain. I love taking tests like these.

  4. Thanks for the links. Now, I'm off to take the tests!

  5. Rula, I do extensive character planning on a spreadsheet when I write a longer book. This is a great additional factor to take into account and had some great questions to jog some deeper (and different) thinking about those characters. You had me curious. I've never taken one of these tests either. I did the short one and got right brain (6 questions) and left brain (12 questions). Probably not a surprise :).

  6. OK, I couldn't resist. I had to know. I took the longer test. 61% left, 39% right. Guess they're fairly consistent LOL.

  7. Maria - That's interesting about your EEG.

    Jennifer - The results are so interesting when you look at a writer's dual science and in the arts.

    Hi Carol and Nas - Glad you had fun with the tests!

    Kaily - I glad you think so! I thought maybe I was strange thinking it was a fun way to explore a character. Interesting results IT girl!

  8. Thanks for sharing this. I should do one for myself and another for this character I'm working on now.