Is your child a scientist or artist?

It is possible to recognise early the talent your child is blessed with these days; at least according to the research findings of Professor Mustapha Danesi, a Consultant Neurologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

Under the title: The African Brain and Hemispheric Specialization: Right and Left Brain Functions, Professor Danesi tells us that the right brain is the brain of the artist while the left side is the brain of the scientist. The Neurologist more or less encourages us to aid that child who has shown a great leaning towards the Arts, because according to him, the average African tends to live on his right side of his brain; Professor Danesi says that the right side of the brain is that of the artist.

But in his research, the brain specialist also suggested that it was possible for an individual to go back to speaking only his mother tongue at times of challenging illnesses, especially if the individual was raised speaking a language which he described as a tonal language. Under the sub heading, African Tonal Language, Professor Danesi explains that a person who has some issues with the right part of the brain, which he explains is for appreciating tone, may fall back to speaking his native tongue.

He gave Yoruba language as an example of a tonal language, adding that it explains why the lanHindsight is always 20/20 and a wonderful thing, and even more wonderful is the fact that the older you are the more hindsight helps to hone a foresight that’s equally sharp. guage could be expressed with a talking drum. “We have an ongoing research based on the hypothesis that the right brain may contribute to understanding or speaking of the language. A preliminary observation observes that there may be some truth in the hypothesis and that research is required.

“The observation is from two patients; the first is well-educated and had transient inability to express himself in English, following transient damages in the language area of the left brain by status epileptic; but he could still speak Yoruba.

“A second patient who has a primary progressive aphasia brought about by selective degeneration of the language area of the left brain lost the ability to express herself in English language, but can still express herself to some extent in Yoruba language.“She now watches only Yoruba movies. We are currently undertaking further studies on the phenomenon by studying all patients with left brain damage for aphasia (language disturbance).“In the future, when functional MRI is available in Nigeria, the phenomenon can further be studied.”

The Right Brain
According to Professor Danesi, the right brain hemisphere in general seems to express itself in non-linguistic manner and by preference affective material; “It is dominant for tactile and proprioceptive sensations, orientation in space, artistic and musical endeavours, body image and recognition of faces.

“It processes information more diffusely than the left hemisphere, being specialised for the integration of many inputs at once. Its mode of operation has been termed holistic, relational, simultaneous and appositional. The right brain is the brain of Artists.”

The Left Brain
The left-brain is not renowned for containing substrate for the expression of language. It specialises in the perception and labeling of materials that can be coded linguistically. It organises and categorises materials into discrete temporal and sequential units. It processes mathematical and analytical function and mediates verbal concept formation.“Its mode of operation has been described as linear, sequential, analytical and logical. The left brain is the brain of the Scientist.”

Functions of Artist and Scientist 
Their functions and orientation are very different and they may hardly understand each other. “To put in my words, a Scientist carries a torch-light in the dark searching for hidden truth in nature, culminating in scientific discovery. Scientists rarely work in isolation because they need more than one torchlight, hence a scientific research is usually a collaborated effort.

“An artist carries a mirror reflecting the realities of our gross material world represented in creative writing, visual arts or painting, sculptures, dramatic arts, music and dancing. A creative usually works alone while performers such as actors and musicians work in groups.”

The Brain Tendency of Africans
“Past and present evidences suggest overwhelming dominance of activities of right brain in Africans as seen by Africans who excel in the arts by winning Nobel prizes in Literature and several book prizes by authors. The Nigerians are excelling in Nollywood, music and entertainment; very important works of art with origin from Africa are to be found in museums all over the world.

“Is the right brain tendency of Africans determined by the social environment of Sub-Saharan Africa or is it a genetic endowment of the African brain? These are research questions that require answers by further studies,” he said.

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