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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you feel like you process things differently when you're on the phone and you switch the receiver to the other side?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36138points) July 9th, 2014

99.999% of the time I use my left ear to hear when I talk on the phone. I had reason to switch it to the right a bit ago. When ever I do that I feel like I’m processing something differently, but I can’t quite put my finger on what.

Do you know what is happening? Does it have something to do with the fact that the right brain is creative and the left brain is analytical?

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16 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

The whole left brain right brain isn’t really completely true. Usually all sides of our brain are working somewhat.

For me, my hearing is worse on my left, so when I listen to the phone on my left I think even if I am not totally aware of it, I am not hearing things easily and so it takes more concentration for me.

I also think we get accustomed to certain positions and when they are altered we feel a little uncomfortable or discombobulated. Switching the phone, sitting in a different seat in a classroom, and so on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wondered if that’s all it was, too @JLeslie, just feeling discombobulated. Perfect word!

Kardamom's avatar

It just feels icky and weird to put the phone up to my right ear, so I avoid doing it. It just feels unnatural to me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Whatever the answer, it’s a fascinating question. I suppose the way to find out is to investigate those few folks who through accident or from surgical necessity have had the bridge (corpus colossum) severed, The bridge is responsible for connecting the two hemispheres in the brain, and when cut the two halves act independently. There was a riveting article in Scientific American decades ago that I shall attempt to retrieve.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My psych teacher in college said that if you whisper in the right ear of a person who’s had the corpus colossum severed, then go to the left ear and asked what I had just said, they won’t know.

Looking forward to the article @stanleybmanly!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Dutchess_III Just back from another ride on the rip-off wagon. It took a while, but I managed to locate the article. I have a subscription, so piece of cake, right? WRONG! When I clicked on the article, nothing happened, so I called customer service. The punchline: The magazine no longer allows you to read its articles online. You are now required to order the entire issue at a cost of $7.50. The article is titled “The Split Brain Revisited” It is in the May 1998 issue of Scientific American. The author is Michael S Gazzaniga, and I believe it may be published elsewhere. Going back to look.

dxs's avatar

I’ve had no ear problems that I’m aware of, but it’s so awkward to listen to the phone from my right ear. Maybe it’s because I’m a lefty, so I have more confidence holding the phone in my left hand. When I have to switch to my less dexterous right hand, I resultantly have less confidence and it distracts me from my processing. Or maybe I’m just not used to listening to a phone with my right ear since I’m used to having it at my left ear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I found it too @stanleybmanly, but only because of the leg work you did first. Thanks.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. So, if the corpus colossum was split and you started a conversation on the phone with your left ear, and changed to the right…you’d have no idea what they were talking about.

It would be cool to start a conversation with the left ear, and finish it, then re-start the conversation with the right ear and see how the answers / responses differed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“I conducted an experiment with Kingstone, for instance, that nearly misled us on this front. We flashed two words to a patient and then asked him to draw what he saw. “Bow” was flashed to one hemisphere and “arrow” to the other . To our surprise, our patient drew a bow and arrow! It appeared as though he had internally integrated the information in one hemisphere; that hemisphere had, in turn, directed the drawn response. We were wrong. We finally determined that integration had actually taken place on the paper , not in the brain. One hemisphere had drawn its item — the bow — and then the other hemisphere had gained control of the writing hand, drawing its stimulus —the arrow—on top of the bow . The image merely looked coordinated.”

hearkat's avatar

For those of us whose corpus calossum is intact, the majority process speech and language in our left brain, so the right ear generally has a slight advantage. However, most right-handed people hold the phone to our left ear so we can write notes and doodle while on the phone, so we habituated to hearing phone conversation in the left ear. In individual cases, people might have a slight hearing difference between ears that is only noticeable when listening monaurally and then switching sides.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Wow! That is some gosh darned crazy stuff! This is new ground for me. I’ve learned some interesting things about brain studies, but this dividing the hemispheres thing is remarkable! What purpose is that action? What requires such a thing to be done?
Could some people have this connecting bridge, but maybe it short circuits sometimes? Would that account for some people thinking they have multiple personalities, when really they are just hopping back and forth between hemispheres?

hearkat's avatar

Yes, @Jonesn4burgers – severing the corpus calossum was treatment for epileptics for many years. I’m not sure how often it’s used nowadays, though, since there have been advancements in pharmaceuticals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers It is fascinating, isn’t it.

I took a college course once, and the instructor had us take this quiz thingy that determined if one was right brain dominant or left brain dominant. The she told us to go stand on the right wall, or the left, according to the results. The vast majority of the class wound up on the right wall. Only me and one other person, a female, wound up on the left.
There was this guy in class who was very smug and arrogant. He was on the right wall, looking at us two with snobbish pity….then the teacher said that the right brain was the center for emotion and creativity, and those who were right brained tended to make decisions more based on emotion.
The left brain is analytical. Those who are left brain dominant tend to make decisions based on reason and logic.
The arrogant guy actually…came over to our side. Like nobody would notice! It was so dumb!

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