I always thought the brain had a left side (logical) and right side (creative), which controlled various human activities. Even the book Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain is based on this delineation of left and right hemispheres.
However, it is more accurate to think of the brain as operating in linear or rich modes, which utilize both sides of the brain.
This way of thinking comes from the author of Pragmatic Thinking & Learning written by Andy Hunt.
Since Pragmatic Thinking & Learning was first published, research has continued and I'd like to think we have a better overall understanding of the brain. In particular, the original, crude idea of "left and right brain" thinking is better explained by looking at cooperating regions of the brain that activate together as a network. - Andy Hunt
There is still a lot to discover, but of the 7 proposed modes, Hunt mentions two: The Default Mode Network (DMN) and the Executive Attention Network (EAN).
DMN is responsible for the following functions:
- Memories about one's self.
- Being able to process one's emotional state.
- Thinking about the thoughts of others
- Remembering the past and thinking about the future.
- and more.
The EAN is responsible for linear thought.
The EAN is associated with focused, linear thought. The DMN is more of an “idle loop”, if you will, that takes the mental stage when the EAN is inactive. Based on current literature, it seems pretty clear that the EAN/DMN distinction is a better physical explanation for the observed phenomena I’ve been calling L-mode and R-mode. - Andy Hunt
As the EAN is great at simple tasks, larger tasks that are more complex and require a degree of creativity require the EAN. One can't simply summon their DMN like a genie in a bottle. Typically it is repetitive tasks that help tease out the DMN so it can be used to creatively solve problems that require leaps of non-logical thought.
Some activities that can activate the DMN are walks through the woods, cooking for others, cleaning dishes, or taking a shower.
Photo is by Aidan Meyer from unsplash.