Threesology Research Journal
Brain Hemisphere Attributes
Page V

(The Study of Threes)
http://threesology.org


As with the previous brain hemisphere attributes page, please give all credits to the respective authors. I have attempted to provide links to the sites from which the information was derived, but all links may not be reliable since it's been several years since the information was compiled.




Whereas the following is rather instructive concerning brain lateralization, from a threesological perspective, it overlooks itself as but another example of dualistic thinking. However, it does include the provision of identifying a third "middle brain" alternative. Dichotomous thinking can be elaborately applied in many ways via a left brain analytical application. Interestingly, whereas it calls for the teacher to make personal adaptive changes to their teaching style, it doesn't suggest an alternation in the overall school structure. Like so many who think changing candidates in public office will suffice to improve society, they never think to consider a need to change the type of governing structure. In other words, perhaps we should consider adapting classroom instruction according to brain lateralization. For example, students with a dominant left hemisphere functioning orientation could be placed into a classroom (or entire school) with a similarly oriented teacher... H.O.B.




Left Brain/Right Brain
Pathways To Reach Every Learner
By Diane Connell, Ph.D.


By better understanding our own neurological strengths and weaknesses, we can adapt our lessons to reach all of our students.


For Example:

Sam, a fourth grade student, starts to draw every time I teach a new concept or explain an assignment. We've been in school for only two weeks- why is he tuning me out already? Dorothy says that she feels ill every time I begin an art lesson, and asks to go see the nurse. Why doesn't she enjoy art as much as the other children do?


Wouldn't it be wonderful to start the year with a single plan that would ensure that we could reach all of our students? As we know, such a plan does not exist. The students we teach have diverse learning styles that require different approaches. So how can we adapt our teaching to reach and engage as many of them as possible, as often as possible?


Interestingly, the answer lies in first knowing ourselves as teachers. One way to do this is to understand how our own "neurological style" influences the way we teach. Each one of us has a left-, a right-, or a middle-brain preference, and- believe it or not- this significantly influences our teaching patterns. By understanding the processes at work in the brain, we can better help our students to explore their own individual preferences.


The quiz at the bottom of this article will help you learn whether you are a left-, right-, or middle-brain teacher. Please take a few minutes to complete the quiz and tally the results.


Understanding Your Results

You now know whether your preference tends to the left, right, or middle brain, but what does this mean? First, for those of you who came out to be strong to moderate left- or right-brain dominant, be assured that your other hemisphere is alive and well; however, the results do mean that you tend to lead with your dominant hemisphere.


For example:


  1. If you are right-brain dominant, it is your intuitive, emotional right hemisphere that guides the decisions you make throughout the day.

  2. If you are left-brain dominant, it is your sequential, time-oriented left hemisphere which tells you how to think, what to believe, and what choices to make.

  3. Those who are middle-brain dominant tend to be more flexible than either the left- or the right-brain folks; however, you often vacillate between the two hemispheres when you make decisions. You sometimes get confused when decisions need to be made because, neurologically speaking, you could do most tasks through either a left-brain or a right-brain method! For more on these preferences, please look at the bottom of this article.


Our neurological profile essentially guides the way we teach our classes, meaning that left-brain teachers tend to teach in a "left-brain style," right-brain teachers typically teach in a "right-brain style," and middle-brain teachers tend to vary their teaching between the two approaches. As you evaluate your own teaching style, remember that none of these guidelines are set in stone, and that we do not always act according to our preferences. As we know, people are complex and so are their behaviors.


Teachers tend to better reach students who share their same neurological strengths. A strong left-brain teacher, for example, will need to make a conscious effort in order to better reach the strong right-brain students in the classroom.


The Left-Brain Teacher


Teachers with left-brain strengths generally prefer to teach using lecture and discussion. To incorporate sequence, they put outlines on the board or overhead, and they like to adhere to prepared time schedules. They give problems to the students to solve independently. Teachers with left-brain preferences assign more research and writing than their right-brain peers. A reasonably quiet, structured classroom is preferred. The classroom tends to be clean, with items in their place.


The Left-Brain Student


Left-brain students prefer to work alone. They like to read independently and incorporate research into their papers. They favor a quiet classroom without a lot of distraction.


For Example:

Dorothy scores "strong left" on a brain preference test for children. Though Dorothy is not learning disabled, her right hemisphere is significantly weaker than her left. She has great difficulty understanding lessons with a visual-spatial orientation. Dorothy is also a perfectionist. When the fourth-grade teacher initiates an art project, Dorothy believes that she cannot do the work successfully. She is afraid to fail and consequently becomes nauseous. Seeing the nurse accomplishes two things: It gets her away from an unpleasant situation and gives her time to regroup herself prior to Reading time.




It also provides her interaction with someone in a left-brain "analytical" medical environment. It's an alternative way in which students (and adults in the so-called "real" world) get out of "non-sense" situations. For example, a student repeatedly "acts out" in order to be placed into a "time-out" situation which may be either/or a sectioned off classroom corner or the hallway outside a classroom. The so-called normal classroom situation turned into a "nonsense" world for them and the student's "acting out" was a means by which they could be removed to a place of solitude (if not used as a point of confirmation for feelings of self-importance for doing or thinking something they feel is admirable but may not be disclosed to anyone). Unbeknowest to the teacher, they want to force the student to adopt and adapt to a situation not conducive to the student's present state of lateralization which may be variable, and not alternate in accordance with the classroom routine the teacher is imposing; which may be being driven by student social processes that the teacher thinks they are in charge of but they are none-the-less swept up in according to the dominant social "mood" of the class period...H.O.B.




Let's say, for example, that you are introducing a unit on the solar system. Here are some left-brain teaching techniques that will help Dorothy and other strong to moderate left-brain students feel engaged during your lesson:


Write an outline of the lesson on the board. Students with left-brain strengths appreciate sequence.
Go ahead and lecture! These students love to listen to an expert and take notes.
Discuss vocabulary words. Students like Dorothy have a large vocabulary and are interested in words. Make a crossword puzzle on the Solar System.
Discuss the big concepts involved in the creation of the universe, how the solar system was formed, and so on. Left-brain students love to think about and discuss abstract concepts.
Assign individual assignments so students may work alone.
Ask the students to write a research paper on the solar system that includes both detail and conceptual analysis.
Keep the room relatively quiet and orderly. Many students with left-brain strengths prefer not to hear other conversations when working on a stimulating project.

The Right-Brain Teacher


Teachers with right-brain strengths generally prefer to use hands-on activities over a lecture format. In concert with the right-brain preference of seeing the whole picture, these teachers incorporate more art, manipulatives, visuals, and music into their lessons. They tend to embrace Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences. They like to assign more group projects and activities, and prefer a busy, active, noisy classroom environment. The classroom of a strong right-brain teacher will typically have materials and books scattered all over.


The Right-Brain Student


Right-brain students prefer to work in groups. They like to do art projects, industrial arts electives in middle school, and graphic design. They would prefer to design and make a mobile rather than write "another tedious term paper."


For Example:

Sam scores "strong right" on a brain preference test for children. His left hemisphere, though healthy, is significantly weaker than his right. Though Sam does not have a learning disability, he has difficulty processing information that is presented verbally. When the teacher lectures, or talks in compound, complex sentences, Sam gets anxious and overwhelmed and shuts down. The teacher's words run together, and the meaning becomes garbled. Sam's drawings comfort him; they are something he knows he can do well. Right-brain activities such as painting and drawing are activities that he can do easily and with pride.


Taking the solar system example, here are some right-brain teaching techniques that will help Sam, and other students with moderate to strong right-brain strengths, get the most out of your lesson:


During the lecture, either write the main points on the board or pass out a study guide outline that students can fill in as you present orally. These visual clues will help students focus even though you are lecturing.
Use the overhead, the white board, or the chalkboard frequently. Since the students are apt to miss the points discussed verbally, the visual pointers will help the students "see" and comprehend the points.
Have some time for group activities during the week of the solar system study. Right-brain students enjoy the company of others.
Let the students create a project (such as a poster, a mobile, a diorama, or papier-mâché planets of the solar system) in lieu of writing a paper. Students like Sam often have excellent eye-hand coordination.
Play music, such as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Discuss how space might feel to an astronaut. Students with right-brain strengths are intuitive and like to get in touch with their feelings during the day.
Bring in charts and maps of the universe and let the students find the Milky Way. Maps and graphs make use of the students' strong right-brain visual-spatial skills.

A Teaching Challenge


Students with strong left- or right-brain tendencies much prefer to be taught to their neurological strengths. Although they can learn by different methods, they get most excited and involved when they can learn and do assignments in their area of strength.


The good news is that we can all strengthen the weaker parts of our brains. Researchers tell us that our brains are always searching for new meanings and adding new neural circuits to make connections.


I am a left-brain teacher who, by nature, strongly prefers to teach using lecture and discussion based upon research and experience. I typically put an outline of the lesson on the board and distribute packets of handouts to accompany each lesson. Twelve years ago, I began reading brain-based research and realized that by being left-brain dominant, I was only engaging my left-brain learners and some students with middle-brain strengths. The poor right-brain learners, and many middle-brain students, must have been overwhelmed from all of the auditory input.


Over the past ten years I have gradually added overheads, videos, role-playing, simulations, group work, group assignments, and end-of-the-year group projects into my classes. I now feel that I am making my best effort to reach my left-, middle-, and right-brain learners. In doing this, I have mastered some exciting right-brained techniques as well.


Why not incorporate a new "neurological teaching method" into your classes this fall? If you are a left-brain teacher, try adding at least one right-brain methodology (overheads, videos, music, role playing, dance, or group projects) into your lessons. If you are a right-brain teacher, try adding more direct teaching, lecturing more often, or assigning more individual and/or research-oriented projects. If you are a middle-brain teacher, select and incorporate something new from either area.


I also recommend giving your students a variety of assignments to choose from each week. For example, let's say you plan to assign a book report. Let each student choose from one of the following: write the report using an outline; present the report from an outline; draw and color a major scene from the book; design and create a mobile, poster, or diorama; dance a scene from the book; or create a different ending to the book. It is fascinating to watch students gravitate towards their neurological strengths when given a choice of assignments. Those with moderate to strong right-brain strengths will choose to draw, act, or create. Those with the left-brain preference will write or speak.


I believe that it is good practice to tell our students that we each have our own individual neurological strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to use your own results as an example, explaining that you do not expect everyone to be perfect in every area. These messages will help students see that you are on their side. They will be grateful that you understand them enough to assign projects and assignments in their area of strength, and they will be relieved to know it is okay to learn the way they most enjoy learning.


By better understanding our own neurological strengths and weaknesses, we can adapt our lessons to reach all of our students.


Diane Connell, Ed.D. is currently an associate professor and director of the Graduate Programs in Learning Disabilities at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire. She has taught at the elementary and high school levels. Dr. Connell can be reached at: --- dconnell@rivier.edu ---

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Cognitive-Style Quiz

Choose the one sentence that is more true. Do not leave any blanks.

    Question 1


  • A- It's fun to take risks.
  • B- I have fun without taking risks.
  • C-I have encountered situations where risks are sometimes necessary but not necessarily fun.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 2


  • A- I look for new ways to do old jobs.
  • B- When one way works well, I don't change it.
  • C- Some old jobs require new ways and new jobs require old ways.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 3


  • A- I begin many jobs that I never finish.
  • B- I finish a job before starting a new one.
  • C- I may begin a job I don't finish until later because a new one has priority.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 4


  • A- I'm not very imaginative in my work.
  • B- I use my imagination in everything I do.
  • C- I sometimes use imagination and sometimes I don't in my work.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 5


  • A- I can analyze what is going to happen next.
  • B- I can sense what is going to happen next.
  • C- Sometimes I analytically sense what is going to happen and other times I sense it with or without analysis.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 6


  • A- I try to find the one best way to solve a problem.
  • B- I try to find different answers to problems.
  • C- Sometimes, during some moments, problems can only be solved one way, and at other times they can be solved in multiple ways.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 7


  • A- My thinking is like pictures going through my head.
  • B- My thinking is like words going through my head.
  • C- Sometimes my thinking is in images that are neither pictures, words, numbers, or any currently recognizable symbol.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 8


  • A- I agree with new ideas before other people do.
  • B- I question new ideas more than other people do.
  • C- I sometimes agree with new ideas before others do and sometimes I question new ideas more than others do, and sometimes I could careless about a new idea.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 9


  • A- Other people don't understand how I organize things.
  • B- Other people think I organize well.
  • C- Some people understand how I organize, others do not understand, and still others permit my organizational methods whether they do or don't understand.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 10


  • A- I have good self-discipline.
  • B- I usually act on my feelings.
  • C- Sometimes I act on my self-discipline and I usually have good feelings.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 11


  • A- I plan time for doing my work.
  • B- I don't think about the time when I work.
  • C- Some work requries being cognizant of the time and other tasks require full mental absorption.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 12


  • A- With a hard decision, I choose what I know is right.
  • B- With a hard decision, I choose what I feel is right.
  • C- With a hard decision, I choose to know what I feel I know is right, with or without feeling.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 13


  • A- I do easy things first and important things later.
  • B- I do the important things first and the easy things later.
  • C- Since everthing I do is important, I prioritize according to the moment.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 14


  • A- Sometimes in a new situation, I have too many ideas.
  • B- Sometimes in a new situation, I don't have any ideas.
  • C- Sometimes in a new situation, too many ideas are never enough whether or not I have any at all within a given period of time.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 15


  • A- I have to have a lot of change and variety in my life.
  • B- I have to have an orderly and well-planned life.
  • C- Everyone experiences change in life. Some are more sensitive to small changes others are more sensitive to large changes. Such is the orderly and well-planned change and variety in an orderly and well-planned life. Whoever said that variety is the spice of life may have experienced a type of regularity and consistency that produced recurring aches, sorrows and pain. But for those who have lived otherwise, variety can sometimes be a small irritating splinter in one's finger, a difficult to reach itch, or a nagging, chronic-like soreness. An imaginative mind always has variety and creativity is sometimes defined as a product of discomfort.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 16


  • A- I know I'm right, because I have good reasons.
  • B- I know I'm right, even without good reasons.
  • C- Sometimes I feel I know I'm right whether or not I can fully articulate my reasons.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 17


  • A- I spread my work evenly over the time I have.
  • B- I prefer to do my work at the last minute.
  • C- Sometimes I spread my work over-time and sometimes I do things hurriedly within a short span of time. However, I don't like making small tasks take up large periods of time like many people do during a typical work day.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 18


  • A- I keep everything in a particular place.
  • B- Where I keep things depends on what I'm doing.
  • C- I keep things in a particular place depending on what I'm doing.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 19


  • A- I have to make my own plans.
  • B- I can follow anyone's plans.
  • C- I sometimes have to make my own plans because someone else's are less than they should be.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 20


  • A- I am a very flexible and unpredictable person.
  • B- I am a consistent and stable person.
  • C- I am a flexibly consistent and stabily unpredictable person.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question 21


  • A- With a new task, I want to find my own way of doing it.
  • B- With a new task, I want to be told the best way to it.
  • C- With a new task, I want to know if I am truly permitted to find my own creative and imaginative way of doing it or am I actually expected to conform to accepted standards of expected (status quo) creative application forms and techniques.

To Score:


  • Give yourself one point for each time you answered "A" for questions: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21
  • Give yourself one point for each time you answered "B" for questions: 4 ,5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18

Add all points for these results:


  1. 0-4 strong left brain
  2. 5-8 moderate left brain
  3. 9-13 middle brain
  4. 14-16 moderate right brain
  5. 17-21 strong right brain

From: The Alert Scale of Cognitive Style, by Dr. Loren D. Crane, Western Michigan University, 1989. Reprinted with permission.


Preferences of the Two Sides of the Brain

Description of the Left-Hemisphere Functions


  • Constantly monitors our sequential, ongoing behavior
  • Responsible for awareness of time, sequence, details, and order
  • Responsible for auditory receptive and verbal expressive strengths
  • Specializes in words, logic, analytical thinking, reading, and writing
  • Responsible for boundaries and knowing right from wrong
  • Knows and respects rules and deadlines

Description of the Right-Hemisphere Functions


  • Alerts us to novelty; tells us when someone is lying or making a joke
  • Specializes in understanding the whole picture
  • Specializes in music, art, visual-spatial and/or visual-motor activities
  • Helps us form mental images when we read and/or converse
  • Responsible for intuitive and emotional responses.
  • Helps us to form and maintain relationships


Carol Philips, Ed.D, is an associate professor in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is designing and directing a professional development program for teaching fellows.



Many people say you are permitted to be creative and imaginative, but if your level of creativity and imagination exceeds their level of comprehension and appreciation, your efforts will be ignored, excused as irrelevant, or receive a barrage of condemnation (and perhaps ridiculed by the instructor as an example of what not to do).

A person's inventive genius, be they male or female, should not be limited for expression solely in the conventional fields of art, mathmatics, and music nor the ignorance of an instructor who thinks they know more than anyone else, particularly all students. Throughout college I encountered some of the dumbest tests that could have ever been devised and justified by the rationale of some Ph.D. If you think outside their box, your judgement is questioned.

For example, I chose to participate in a psychology test involving twenty seven cards with various images of birds, insects, planes, etc... The female student's instructions were that I could arrange the cards any way I wanted to. After thumbing through the cards (while silently counting them) and knowing exactly that I was expected to put them in a childish similarity arrangement, I counted out three groups of nine cards each and placed them face down. I wasn't about to play such a stupid game like a little kid playing Fish or Old Maid. When I had finished the short task, I looked up at her and said I was finished. She got visibly angry and said that I had to "sit there until I did it right." I simply replied that she said I could put the cards any way I wanted to, so I did. She was not aware of my interest in examples containing groups-of-three. (The "three" grouping took precedence over any content.)


Oh my gosh did I get stares and glares the next time I went to class. The professor wanted me to take a barrage of tests involving imagery, so I said I would but had no intention of complying with his research efforts to write a paper from which he would get credit and I would not even get extra credit for. However, he did intentionally flunk me by deliberately misinterpreting the information I submitted for exams.


On another occasion, in yet another psychology class involving yet another type of test, my creative testing methods were again questioned: I arrived at class and momentarily after sitting, the instructor asked us to systematically determine which three vials of a colored fluid created a certain result. While working with another female student who was beginning to follow a one-by-one route of serialized deduction, I told her that I already knew what the answer was. I don't know how I knew, except to say the answer "popped" into my head, but there it was with unquestionable truth. The answer was A-C-E. When she asked how I knew, I just said I knew. Because I refused to play the one-by-one testing game she wanted to play like everyone else in the class was playing, she told the instructor I wasn't participating. (I wasn't playing the role she expected a partner to play.) When I repeated my answer to him, he said someone from another class had told me. When I asserted that no one had, he didn't believe me and from then on everything I said or did received the third degree. Needless to say, I flunked this class as well. He was just another instructor who really didn't understand human behavior beyond the conventional student stereotype. People exhibiting intuitive grasps of being able to solve problems was beyond his capacity to appreciate if they were unable to articulate the process so that he could write a paper on and receive some recogntion for.


In the above questionare, we could also include the question about whether someone prefers to work by punching a time clock, piece rate, or those that prefer to work on a salary basis. While such a question is more conducive to a working adult population, it has relevance in a school setting by being altered to exhibit school criteria:


A. I prefer to get to class before the first bell.
B. I prefer to get to class after everyone else is seated (before the tardy bell).
C. I prefer to get to class just after the absent bell has rung.

...H.O.B.




Notice there are no descriptions given for "Middle-Hemisphere functions." We are left to assume that a middle-brained student may customarily exhibit a middle-of-the-road orientation and not an either/or alternation. It should be suggested that someone with a "middle-brain" orientation may alternatively see-saw between a left and right brain laterlizattion depending on situation, stress, contextual involvement, mood, diet, gender, race, religion, socio-economic status, etc... It is definitely an area worthy of exploration... as a separate entity and not merely the result of a composite of the left and right hemisphere attributes.


I have also added the "C" item to the above questionaire because the "Either/Or" formatting (cognitive philosophy) formula is so very constricting in its options.

Like a child who expects everyone to play a game specific to the rules they outline. If you don't play the "right" [their] way, they call foul and say they don't want to play with you anymore. Every similar test I've encountered tries to impose the test taker with a predetermined "this or that" profile result. It's a tunnel-vision, straight-jacket, pigeon-holing approach towards understanding cognitive styles... Some of the questions are meant-for-a-past-age, down-right dumb and typical of so many dichtomous mindsets... The above named instructor may be cognizant of using brain lateralization in a teaching methodology, but she doesn't understand brain hemisphere attributes in terms of a 1- 2- 3 maturational development sequence...H.O.B.


Such L/R Brain attributes are listed near the bottom of this page:
--- Left and Right Hemisphere brain attributes ---


As a final note to the above, notice the writer chose a male student for the right brain example and a female student for the left brain example. Perhaps she's experienced too many right-hemisphere thinking males in her life that she thought were "dumb blondes."




In an exploration of the idea of duality with respect to brain lateralization, the overall repetition of linking one attribute with one hemisphere and its opposite meaning with the other hemisphere can be termed a redundancy of behavior because not only may one author's information be repeated, another may add another example there to. Hence a pattern-of-three arises: The author's initial example, the repetion of the example, and the repeater's example; even though all may involve patterns-of-two.


Analogously, it's like a conveyor belt on a production line with an off switch locked away in the production manager's office who went to lunch without leaving a spare key to get in. In other words, for many of us, once we find someone (particularly someone we view as an authority figure) that expresses a few examples of duality in connection with brain lateralization, we may be sold on the idea (that we may or may not have been musing about for awhile). Similarly, we may add to their list (as they may have added to someone else's), or we may make up a list of our own to which we add their examples (as a type of corroborating evidence to some sort of believed in truth).


But the act of redundancy in terms of repetition occurs more often than the examples I have listed on the foregoing pages though most readers would define them either as opposites or complementary items (since it is not customary for anyone to say that an opposite such as hot/cold is a lateralization). In other words, it may be more than just a "monkey hear monkey say" type of mimicking recurrence. If we say that all repetition is a redundancy as an act of balancing, whether or not balancing needs to take place such as in the repetition of checking the lock of a door to insure it is fastened, are we engaging in an unconscious behavior of duality making?


Is the development of perceiving duality, such as night/day, hot/cold, wet/dry, man/woman, etc..., itself a brain attribute that can be associated with a particular hemisphere? Since we know that the right hemisphere develops first and is placed slightly fore-ward ahead of the left hemisphere, we might want to consider that the activity of perceiving and constructing examples of duality is an attribute of the right hemisphere. To this general speculation, we might want to add the idea of Julian Jaynes' Bicameral mind origin as a by-product of the right hemisphere, with any associative three-part analysis as a result of a left hemisphere involvement. Additionally, many of us might want to say that the act of perceiving duality is a brain activity that preceded our efforts at constructing Triplicities, just as we find that more primitive organisms develop from two Germ layers and more (evolutionary) recent animals develop from three Germ layers (Endoderm- Mesoderm- Ectoderm).


Let us take a look at a short list of redundancies in speech and the written language, that have not been looked at as examples of a right hemisphere behavioral attribute:




--- Collecting Redundancies ---
By Jim Stovall © 2002
http://www.ccom.ua.edu/MC102/week02/02redundancycollection.html

We must...

not forget to remember

(to "not forget" is to "remember")

component parts

You can hear this one from auto mechanics to rocket scientists. But what are “components” if not “parts”?

Easter Sunday

This is one of the major contributions of the Christian religion. When is Easter not on Sunday? It may have occurred sometime, but not in anybody’s memory. We can easily drop the “Sunday.”

exact same

“She had on the exact same dress as I did.” This a modern favorite of the babbling classes:

On television talk shows- They’re trying to make a point but trying too hard. The word “exact” adds nothing to the word “same.” They are exactly the same. If they weren’t the same, the proper word would be “similar.”

advanced planning

If we plan -- which we probably don’t do enough -- we inevitably do it for the future. Logically, can we plan for the past? I’ve thought about it enough to get a headache.
A younger brother to advanced planning is to plan ahead.
And a third cousin to these siblings is to revert back.
Another branch of the family gives us never before.
Then there’s the great-grandfather of them all, past history.

Take notice of the following examples in the legal profession. There is a persistent advocation of a dichotomous world-view that I view as being a modern vestigial representative of the Bicameral mentality advocated by Julian Jaynes. It is an antiquated (right hemisphere) mindset based primarily on a primitive polarization of events characteristically seen in the either/or, this or that, yes or no formula used by lawyers and judges to question witnesses. In such a circumstance, a witness may be asked to repeat a yes or a no, this or that, here or there, etc., answer to a question, but are not permitted to make any clarifying statement which may not be in accordance with the Lawyer's or judge's intent of proving a single point (or be that which determines the outcome of a case in one or another attorney's favor, irrespective of right or wrong, since a courtroom is much like any sports arena where the question of right or wrong is secondary and how you play the game to win defines the overall rules of the jurisprudence "contest.")...H.O.B.

cease and desist

The world of shyster lawyers -- that is, the legal profession -- has made many contributions to the collection, but it’s difficult to top this one. “Cease” and “desist” mean the same thing (in fact, exactly the same thing -- see above), but where would lawyers be if they couldn’t say “cease and desist”? They would be left with the word “stop” and thus far fewer billable hours.

On this same point, my friend Dan Meissner writes:
Nothing is more redundant than the legal profession. In fact, lawyers seem to be caught up in the eternal triangle -- everything comes in threes, for example:
A bill of sale - you can't just sell something, you must "sell, transfer and convey"
A will - when you die, you don't give your worldly possessions away, you "give, devise and bequeath"

Personal favorites of Ed Mullins, chair of the Journalism department:


  • old adage
  • new maxims
  • tired cliches
  • gather together
  • free gifts
  • free bonus gift
  • sworn affidavit (not sworn, not an affidavit)
  • hot water heater
  • final ultimatum
  • fatally slain
  • The youth "died when he drowned in hurricane creek."
  • The victim's car was completely totaled.
  • Humpteenth chapter under heading Journalists Hate Math: "The gymnast heads a quartet of four finalists."
  • Crowd of people
  • Bald-headed man
  • In the year 2000
  • Dead body found in field
  • Drew to a close

Some of these examples are owed to James J. Kilpatrick



Here's some others:
  • Cold snow (Since when is snow not cold?)
  • Hot Sun (I've never heard of a cold Sun.)
  • Blowing wind (Have you ever heard of a non-blowing wind?)
  • Tall building (All buildings are tall, some are just taller than others.)
  • WWW [World Wide Web]: (I've never heard of a city wide web, or a country wide web.)
  • Short midget (Have you ever heard of a tall midget?)
  • Fat pig (I've never seen a skinny, malnourished pig.)
  • Beautiful flower (No one typically says "ugly flower" though they may say "it's an ugly flower arrangement.")
  • Laughably funny
  • He went and left
  • Insanely crazy
For links to various brain-related websites:

--- Think Blade ---
http://www.thinkblade.com/memletics/9/brain-dominant-right.html



Your Questions, Comments or Additional information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland
herbobuckland@hotmail.com