Saturday, November 18, 2006

Which ear do you use?

Here is the random question for today:If you read anything about the differences between the left and right sides of the brain, you know that they process information very differently. One side is more analytical, the other is more intuitive. In people who have had their corpus callosum surgically severed (usually people suffering from severe epileptic seizures), the differences between the two sides can be seen more clearly. (read more here)

Most of us have both halves of the brain connected normally through the corpus callosum , but when you talk on the phone, one side of the brain gets the message first, and so, you could imagine, it gets the "first crack" as processing the information. It may also get to interpret or compress the information before passing it to the other side (I don't know enough about the corpus callosum to know what happens).

Talking on the phone, and hearing audio information through one ear, is definitely not how we would normally hear things "in nature", so the question arises -- do you process the information differently when you talk on the phone with your left or right ears? Which ear is better? Is one ear better for business meetings and another for emotional situations?

Comments:
Not only do I always prefer my right ear for the telephone (although that is partially handedness based), I often will only read with one eye or the other. When for some reason I need to switch to the other ear, my experience of the conversation is shifted. I can't put my finger on what the difference is, but it clearly feels different.
 
I use my left ear for speaking on the phone. I don't think it is because I am 'processing' the audio differently, but because I have had punctured ear drums since I was very little. I had the right side fixed about 10 years ago, but I am still not 100% used to the difference in sound that the right ear 'hears'. Since the left ear is of the quality that I have been used to for my whole life, I continue to use that ear, even though it is still damaged...

Stupid ear tubes as a kid. They were supposed to help me, but in the end they just did more damage.
 
It's a good question, I'm under the impression that the corpus callosum runs so seamlessly that it doesn't really effect interpretation.

But you'll have me thinking about it.
 
There's also hands, would a particular hand be better suited for a task? not just a "Main" hand, but actually find functionality in both. With driving in the states, the left hand takes the wheel more so then the right, and with video game controllers, the left hand can take the analog stick, or a baseball glove. So it seems, the right brain/left hand handles abstract analog type concepts/operations where as the left brain/right hand handles more digital operations, precise operations. Imagine putting the left hand on a mouse, unlike other things.. it wouldn't be that complicated to use, would it?

Maybe the Germans and Americans had it right when they designed the car. We're actually sitting on the "Right" side.
 
Should i then be using my left ear
on the phone and maybe access my intuitive side?
 
I always use my left ear for phone conversation and for a radio earphone. I am right-handed, so using the phone in the left ear frees up my right hand to write notes, etc. My hearing is good (n terms of volume) in both ears. But I have always noticed that when I put the phone up to the right ear, I feel like I have to "work harder" mentally in order to grasp the content of what was said. I can do it, but it feels like I have to make more conscious effort.
 
Nice post.
 
Very nice question. For me, I'm always using my right ear for phone conversation and so on.. credit repair attorneys
 
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I use my right ear, but I think that's because I'm right handed. As far as I understand, auditory information from one ear goes to both sides of the brain almost immediately, so that you get binaural information quite fast. This is because the neurons at the auditory nuclei send projections bilaterally. But isn't neuroscience such an interesting field?

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