The following are my notes from the book “Right Brain Education in Infancy” by Makoto Shichida. They include annotations and my own personal observations based on what I have seen and heard about right brain education (not necessarily from Shichida). These notes are my interpretation of what Shichida communicated about the right brain written to the best of my understanding. I highly recommend reading the book if you want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Chapter three talks about four special functions that the right brain has that the left brain does not. They are:
- Image Visualisation
- High-Speed Mass Memorisation
- High-Speed Automatic Process
Resonance refers to the fact that everything is made up of vibrating particles. These vibrating particles create waves. Similar to a tuning fork, the brain resonates with the waves that emanate from everything around us which creates sounds and images that our right brain is able to pick up through telepathy. The resonance function and the image visualisation function is greatest in infants, which is why children easily exhibit their right brain abilities.
Geniuses in history have been known to employ both the resonance and image visualisation functions of their right brain. Shichida looks at how some of these geniuses have been able to do this. For instance, some famous writers explain that when they write their stories, they don’t follow the standard method of creating a plot first, they see a movie playing in their heads and simply record down everything as they see it.
High-speed mass memorisation of the right brain is likened to taking pictures with a camera, hence the term “photographic memory”. Unlike the left brain, which remembers details by creating links between new materials to old memories already in existence, the right brain records information in blocks. The photographic memory ability can be observed in brain damaged individuals with strongly functioning right brains, for example, the autistic character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. These individuals are known as Savants or said to have Savant’s Syndrome.
The photographic memory ability was formerly attributed as a unique talent of the few but it is now realised to be a function everyone is capable of if properly trained. This is why right brain education from infancy is so important if we want to help our children realise these abilities.
It has been said before that imaging is the fundamental exercise critical to the development of all right brain functions. Here is an exercise that a parent used to help her children develop the ability to speed read:
- The children were shown one page of a picture book for a minute.
- They were then required to write down what they read.
To limit the function of the left brain, the mother turns the pages 15 times per minute. It is worthwhile noting that her two children exhibited different styles of learning. Her son preferred to turn the pages quickly, while her daughter preferred to take her time. Her son records what he remembers very quickly, while her daughter takes her time. Her son finishes the exercise very quickly but her daughter is able to remember more words, albeit taking longer to complete the exercise. If the mother puts a time limit to the exercise, she finds that her son can remember more words. The two children practiced this everyday for a month and were able to remember a hundred words by the end of the month. Later reports of these two children revealed that they could read a 200 page book in five minutes.
I also thought it was interesting to hear that a person with the ability to speed read explained that she could capture the entire contents of single page in one glance. When she felt like reading the page again, she reads the page in her mind.
When I did the Mandala session with Gavin, I would try to remember the colours and where they were but I never tried to take a photograph of the picture. If I didn’t record the colours quickly enough, I would forget the positions of the colours. One day, after the advice of another mother, I tried to capture the image of the Mandala in my head. When I could not remember the positions of the colours, I looked at the image in my head again to see where they were. This is obviously a walk in the park compared to remembering a page of writing in one glance, but I think it demonstrates what one is trying to achieve when developing the photographic memory ability.
The high-speed automatic process refers to the right brain’s ability to manipulate information rapidly, such as the ability to perform computer-like calculations. The right brain is not only responsible for rapid memorisation, but also for imagination and creativity – which can be seen in geniuses such as Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, and many others. When asked about their genius, they are often unable to explain how they created their masterpieces. Some say that it came from God, others say it is in their head and they are merely scribes. When young children are asked how they are able to manipulate numbers in their head, they often answer, “I don’t know.” This is because the process is automatic.