Left brain vs. right and spelling errors

  1. Left brain vs. right

    Not to be insulting to anyone here, but in reading posts on this board and others, I notice a lot of spelling and punctuation errors. This set me to thinking... (mmm, smell that wood burning)

    Some of the most intelligent people I know are horrible spellers. I've noticed that many people (myself included) tend to forget some of the most basic spelling words when immersed in science and math classes.

    Does this have anything to do with left brain/right?

    When I was taking most of my nursing prereqs, I did the "easy" ones first... English, Lit, psych, etc... courses where there was a lot of reading, but not neccesarily alot of science, abstract thinking or reasoning. I aced these classes easily.

    Then, I took my science classes and math, and suddenly found myself unable to spell the most basic of words!!

    Now, in nursing school, I'm finding I have the same problem! Although I can spot a spelling error, typo or misprint a mile away, I cannot function without a spell-checker!

    Anyone know if this is due to a shift in the side of the brain we use for language (mainly left) and reasoning (right?) I could be way off base, so if anyone knows, please enlighten me!

    Thanks!
    Caroline
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Sundowner
    Heh,
    Honestly I have no clue. I am a terrible speller and admit it openly. I also admit openly to my hatred of those who become offended by my spelling (ie: the anal). I find that my spelling gets worse the more I have on my mind. A bad night at work usually ends with me asking the nurse next to me how to spell catheter while I am charting.
    There was also a time when my "mental rolodex" was full. I could not accept any more new phone numbers and commit them to memory.
  4. by   pixxel
    That's really interesting to think about! Now that you mention it, it seems almost logical that there would be some sort of connection there. I should go ask one of the psych teachers at school if I get a chance - I'd really like to know the answer to this!
    I know I'm not a bad speller, but the translation gets lost somewhere between my brain and my fingers when I'm typing. It used to drive me nuts, and it would take me forever to type a page just because I would correct as I went along - now I just deal with it. It makes life so much easier...
  5. by   P_RN
    Interesting observation. I briefly worked as a spell-checker at a newspaper.....in the "olden days" before computers. I am amazed even now the errors I see in it SINCE the computer spellchecker.

    The left brain vs the right brain is a concept in the study of dyslexia. In a right handed person the left brain is the one that utilizes the "rules of reading and spelling."

    The right brain understands the concept behind words as a whole. In dyslexics there is a smaller language area and a poor bridge or connection between the halves.

    I have a cousin who is a linguist..a PHD...and who incidentally is dyslexic. He's also lefthanded....hmmmmm.

    Oh and BTW I am righthanded....so is my cousin the one who is in his right mind?
  6. by   peter73
    I think that spelling has to do with both the brain and genetics.
    I for instance, am left handed and very left side dominant. ( even when I smile the left side of my face turns up slighty more, and when I whistle the pucker is on the left)
    I can not spell my way out of a box. I do however have a large vocabulary and can sound like a science text book if I don't watch it.
    Some studies and therory in psych, learning and memory lead me to believe that this is due to my right brain dominance and some type of difficulty with communication between the hemisheres of the brain. Their a quit a number of sstudies on forced right handedness, learning disabilities and speech impedimants as well as gen studies on learning process, memory and recall that piont in this direction.
    Also,genetically, I read a paper in collage that tied spelling and language to a gene...I don't know if this scientifically proven or just therory now. I think this may be a credible theory as everything else is atleast basically predispoded by genes.
    I have just decided to accept that I can not nor with ANY amount of study will not be able to spell.
    Creative spelling is a good thing.

    Just a little trivia... If you have a sybling that is left handed you are more likly to suffer migrane headaches than a person with all right handed syblings...

    peter
  7. by   nur20
    LOL, I think that is a gender thing, which explains why men think differently from women, LOL
  8. by   moonshadeau
    I like to think that good spellers go bad only because by the time they hit those complex areas of nursing like science and math the brain starts screaming "I'm FULL ALREADY" and starts booting out insignificant tasks like spelling and simple math skills.

    Just my theory anyway.

  9. by   Enright
    I am not so sure it is all bad spelling. I think it is the TYPING! I am a great speller but a terrible typist. I think typing accounts for a lot of the spelling errors I see on line.

    I do have a theory about left handedness and spelling. I've noticed for years that the worst spellers I knew were left handed.
  10. by   dstrick8
    i agree with moonshadeau to a degree...after a while i think your brain shuts down! ha! I have been a reader all of my life...i love drawing...and fail at simple math. Therefore, people have always said that i was more left-brained...artistic, creative, simple. Definitely not a wizard or rocket scientist!
    So naturally, i listened to all of those career tests and school counselors. They screamed to stay away from careers that involved science b/c science involves math mentality. And each time a failed at a math...i contributed to my left-brained ability! I went to college to become an Art teacher and instead graduated as an English teacher. I enjoyed the subject area, but i was bored and unchallenged. Notice...these are "how do you FEEL" sort of subjects. Well, recently I decided to change my career and go back to school to pursue Radiology. I am doing great in my science classes...i find it much easier! I am challenged! I am happy! What is my point? i don't know! Maybe...don't classify yourself due to your limitations...hee! Overcome them! maybe it goes way back! And how you were taught. I have had math explained to where it was easy and made sense...yet i have had teachers complicate the heck out of it! Who knows?
    Last edit by dstrick8 on Nov 1, '01
  11. by   fiestynurse
    I think it is the dang blasted English language! It is such a complicated language to learn how to read and write. Some of the spellings make no sense to me, or is it cents? No, I do not know. I did't write that right, rite? This is why I keep my pocket dictionary handy! As in handiness or handyman. And The ever-expanding vocabulary of our language exerts even more pressure on us to learn more words. It's amazing any of us can spell. Peace out!
  12. by   BrandyBSN
    I am much more left and right.

    I can not spell, although many of my errors are because my brain goes a whole lot fast than my fingers do, and letters get added and lost in the middle. I hate math. No matter what, I cant do it, although I understand drug calculations perfectly, and passed Calculus (which only confused me more!).

    Vocabulary is another matter for me. Maybe it is because I read so much as a child, but both written and spoken, my vocabular is not a problem. Vocabulary limitations bother me in the general population. How many times can you possibly fit the word "like" into a sentence! I get irritated, and would LOVE to just shout "get to the point already!". Also people who curse a lot, not because it offends me, but here, with my classmates, WE HAVE BEEN IN COLLEGE FOR YEARS!!!! Surely they can think of other words! Using them for emphasis is one thing, baseing a conversation around them is another.

    My pet peeve i guess

    BrandyBSN
  13. by   nurs4kids
    lol, this is a very interesting subject.

    I was, at one time, a spelling and grammar finatic. Nursing killed both. I can't blame it on school, but on the constant use of abbreviations for charting. I'm still not terrible with spelling, if I spell it wrong you can bet your last dollar that I questioned the spelling before I hit the enter key (except in the case of "opinionated", Brandy ). My fingers go faster than my brain, and I'm a lazy typist. Alot of times, I'll make gramatical errors such as not capitalizing the letter "I", proper names or the first letter in sentences. All that's from talking in a fast paced chat room several years ago. I am a comma's best friend, love them and use them every chance I get,,,,,even when not necessary.

    My hubby is a mathmatical and science wizzard. His handwriting and spelling is atrocious. When he and I started dating, I was telling my best friend about how intelligent I found him to be, she read some poetry he'd written and looked at me with horror. She is as anal as they come with grammar and spelling. Later, on the same topic, she said, "well, that proves you can't judge a book by it's cover OR by what the author has written inside the cover".

    I DO think genetics probably play a big role. My siblings are pretty good spellers, my hubby's are hideous. Same goes for handwriting. BUT, I have seen people whose(or is it who's??) genes couldn't have grown a limbless tree, that had beautiful handwriting. They probably still couldn't have spelled "dog" on a good day, but the attempt would look like an artist.

    I spend alot of time rewording sentences so I can keep them gramatically correct or so I don't have to use the original word that I'm not sure of the spelling.

    Another thing I've noticed that is interesting is what is acceptable by region. Here in the south, of course "ya'll" is listed in webster's j/k. I've noticed, here especially, many people from the north will use "then" for what we use "than". Also, many use the letter "z" where we use "s" or vice versa, such as "realize" vs "realise".

    I think my 2 year old has it all figured out. Everything is spelled with the letters "a, b & c" and numbers go no higher than the number "20". As for writing, it's all chicken scratch, and she knows EXACTLY what she and her 18month old brother are writing. Makes life pretty simple if ya think of it!
    Last edit by nurs4kids on Nov 1, '01
  14. by   BeachNurse
    I am an excellent speller (barring a few typos). I am also left-handed. Does this mean I am very intelligent or...????

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