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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-29

Assessment of brain dominance and its correlation with academic achievement among medical students: A cross-sectional study


1 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Akash Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Akash Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Senior Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Akash Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Akash Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission16-Jan-2020
Date of Decision20-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance22-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kumar Krishna Anjana
Department of Psychiatry, Akash Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_3_20

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  Abstract 

Background: Each individual will have a unique way of perceiving, processing, and retrieving information provided, which could have an impact on one's performance. Medical education is undergoing reformation in terms of focusing on skill-based learning. Hence, understanding the pattern of brain dominance could influence the teaching and learning styles.
Aims: The aim of this study is to assess brain dominance and its correlation with academic achievement among medical students.
Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a recently opened medical college in South India.
Materials and Methods: The study sample consists of two batches of medical students of 150 each, of which 245 students consented to participate in the study. Sociodemographic pro forma, alert scale of cognitive style and first-year MBBS final examination results were used.
Statistical Analysis: Results were interpreted in the form of frequencies, Chi-square test, and Spearman's correlation test.
Results: Of the study group, 60% were female students (n = 147) and 40% were male students (n = 98). Left brain, bilateral, and right brain dominance was seen in 37.55%, 33.06%, and 29.39% of the population, respectively. The r- value was correlated with brain dominance and academic achievement; however, it did not differ significantly at 0.05 level and was found to have a negligible relationship between the two.
Conclusion: Female students were predominantly left side brain dominant. Brain dominance and academic achievement did not show any correlation. The importance is attributed to implementing the different teaching methods/styles, as it is believed to influence and promote better learning among medical students.

Keywords: Academic achievement, brain dominance, medical students


How to cite this article:
Suresh VC, Poornima C, Anjana KK, Debata I. Assessment of brain dominance and its correlation with academic achievement among medical students: A cross-sectional study. Arch Ment Health 2020;21:25-9

How to cite this URL:
Suresh VC, Poornima C, Anjana KK, Debata I. Assessment of brain dominance and its correlation with academic achievement among medical students: A cross-sectional study. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 10];21:25-9. Available from: http://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2020/21/1/25/288918


  Introduction Top


Cerebral dominance refers to the cerebral hemisphere, which predominantly controls cerebral functions with respect to the specific task. Cerebral dominance is also related to handedness (right handed or left handedness) and most of the individuals are right-handed persons and with left cerebral dominance predominantly, and even with left-handedness, 75% of the individuals have left hemisphere dominance.[1] Ned Hermann who is the father of brain dominance technology, divided the brain into four different systems as follows: left cerebral hemisphere – analytical, left limbic system – sequential, right limbic system – interpersonal, right cerebral hemisphere – imaginative. The right brain is better at copying images, discrimination of symbols and shapes, spatial perception, understanding geometric properties, reading faces, music, global holistic processing, understanding metaphors, expressing emotions, and reading emotions. The left brain is better at language skills, skilled movement, and analytical/logical processing of information.[2] It has been well established that hemisphericity defines or predicts some of the typical personality traits, like person with left hemisphericity characterized as possessing greater control over their impulses, better in handling their tensions, imaginative and look forward for positive aspects of life, whereas right hemisphericity are characterized as possessing less control over their impulses, being tense, suspicious, shy and pragmatic and viewing themselves in a negative light.[3] Beaumont et al. indicated that hemisphericity, as a characteristic, has been linked to personality, reasoning and thought, and abnormal states.[4] Brain dominance alone does not define students' abilities in securing marks because each individual varies in processing the information differently and retrieve the processed information to respond. However, brain dominance can play a role in the pattern, in which students adapt to study at their best, but it is still unclear that which brain dominant individuals are more successful academically.[5]

Academic achievement represents a specified level of attainment or proficiency in academic work evaluated by the teachers, by standard tests or by the combination of both. There is no exact agreement on how academic achievement is best tested, but it is commonly assessed by examination or continuous assessment, and the student's grade is considered the main indicator for academic achievement.[6]

As per our knowledge, there are only a few studies across the world and none in the recent past. Therefore, we planned to look at cerebral dominance (cognitive styles) and its correlation with academic achievement among medical students.

Objectives of the study

  1. To assess the pattern of brain dominance and gender difference among undergraduate medical students
  2. To correlate brain dominance and academic achievement among medical students based on their first-year MBBS final examination scores.



  Materials and Methods Top


This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted in a recently opened medical college of South India which consists of only two batches of medical students of 150 each, who are currently studying in the 2nd year (2017–2018) and 3rd year (2016–2017) and the study period extended over 3 months duration from September to November 2019. The study was initiated after institutional ethical committee clearance was obtained. In this study, universal sampling technique was used, which included all the 2nd- and 3rd-year medical students, and the study was conducted with the investigators addressing the students of each year in one of the lecture classes with prior permission from the respective teachers. In the 1 h allotted the investigator informed the students about the nature of the study, the questionnaires to be filled and issued the consent forms. The study population that consented were a total of 245 students. A self-administered pro forma was given to the students and was collected back by the investigator before the next lecture class. Anonymity was maintained about the student's individual identity.

With respect to students' academic achievement, the 1st-year final examination marks conducted by the university were collected from the academic section of the institution based on their name and roll numbers. Prior permission was sought from the Principal of the institution to access the data regarding the students' marks sheet.

Tools

  1. Sociodemographic details: A semi-structured proforma containing details regarding age, gender, current place of stay, handedness
  2. Alert scale of cognitive style.


This instrument was developed by Dr. Loren D. Crane in 1989 to assess brain dominance.[7] The scale consists of 21 questions and the subjects need to choose one answer compulsorily which is more accurate and suitable response. One point is given to the respondents who answer “A” for number “1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21” and answer “B” for number “4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18.” Then, the total score (A + B) is computed to categorize brain hemispheric dominance based on the following classification: 0–4: Strong left brain, 5–8: Moderate left brain, 9–13: Middle brain, 14–16: Moderate right brain, 17–21: Strong right brain.

Statistical analysis

Data collected were compiled in excel and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21.0 (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 21.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). Results were interpreted in the form of frequencies, Chi-square test, Spearman correlation test, tables, and pie charts. Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis has been carried out in the study. Results on categorical measurements are presented in number (%). Significance is assessed at P ≤ 0.05. Chi-square test has been used to find the significance of the study parameters on categorical scale between two or more groups. Spearman's rho value was correlated with variables in the study.


  Results Top


Of the 300 medical students, only 245 students took part in this study. The study group consisted of 60% of female students (n = 147) and 40% of male students (n = 98). The mean age of the study population was mean age (in years) ± standard deviation = 20.44 ± 0.98. In the study group, majority were right-handed students (98%) and only 5 students (2%) were left handed.

While assessing brain dominance, for convenience strong left hemisphere orientation (Total score: 0–4) and moderate left hemisphere orientation (Total score: 5–8) were clubbed together as left dominance (LD)(Total score: 0–8) and moderate right hemisphere orientation (Total score: 12–15) and strong right hemisphere orientation (Total score: 16–20) as right dominance (RD) (Total score: 12–20) and bilateral dominance (BiD) remained the same (Total score: 9–11).

Majority of female students showed left brain dominance 71.7% (n = 66) when compared to male students 28.3% (n = 26) which was statistically significant (P = 0.009). However, the distribution across right brain dominance (males 43.2% [n = 35] and females 56.8% [n = 46]) and bilateral brain dominance (males 51.4% [n = 37] and females 48.6% [n = 35]) did not show much of a difference [Table 1].
Table 1: Brain dominance and gender difference among medical students

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[Figure 1] depicts the distribution of both the genders across different domains of brain dominance, which show left-brain dominance (37.55%), BiD (33.06%) and right brain dominance (29.39%), respectively.
Figure 1: Frequency distribution of brain dominance among medical students

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In this study, majority of the students had secured second class (50%–65%) based on their 1st year MBBS university marks 52.7% (n = 129), whereas 38.8% (n = 95) were first class (65%–75%), 2% (n = 5) distinction (>75%) and only 6.5% (n = 16) failed in their final examination. Frequency distribution of these medical students across brain dominance based on their academic achievement is depicted in [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparison of brain dominance and academic achievement among medical students

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In the current study, when we looked at the correlation between brain dominance and academic achievement, it did not show any association between these two entities and also a negligible relationship between individual domains of brain dominance and academic achievement [Table 3].
Table 3: Spearman correlation between brain dominance and academic achievement

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  Discussion Top


The study sample consisted of 245 medical students who consented to take part in the study. The study group noted to have varied distribution across cerebral dominance such as left-brain dominance (37.55%), BiD (33.06%), and right-brain dominance (29.39%). However, the proportions of students having predominant RD (1.6%) and predominantly left (2.9%) hemispheric dominance were sparse.

Studies have looked into the pattern of information processing among children based on the hemispheres, which showed boys had right hemisphere preference and girls had left hemisphere preference,[8],[9] which is in par with our study findings that female students had left hemisphere dominance compared to male students.

In this study, the Spearman's r-value was calculated with all the domains of brain dominance and academic achievement and the values were LD = 0.029, RD = 0.001, BiD = 0.031; however, it did not differ significantly at a P = 0.05 which is in par with findings of other studies.[5],[9],[10] However, there are a few other studies which have found that brain dominance has a significant correlation with students' academic performance and outcome.[2],[9]

A study by Zhang [11] showed that left-brain dominant people learn under visual learning or auditory learning or both. However, most right-brain dominant people learn better under visual learning, which could influence the teaching and learning process of the students. There have been studies on brain dominance looking at the importance of it in routine teaching and learning activities among teachers and students, in which differences were noted in terms of subjects which teachers taught and also teaching experience.[12],[13] This study highlights the importance of knowing the brain dominance of medical students, which could allow us to implement better teaching methods and thereby foster a better learning process among students.

Strengths of the study

This study highlights the importance of understanding brain dominance among students, which would help the teachers to adopt various teaching techniques to make students learning better and easier. To our knowledge, this is a recent study in Indian setting correlating brain dominance and academic achievement among medical students. There has been limited literature on the study topic; hence, we made an attempt to conduct the study in a medical setting.

Limitations of the study

The sample size is small; hence, results cannot be generalized. Since, it is a subjective opinion of the students in interpreting the questions, possibility of bias to be considered. Longitudinal assessment of academic achievement would have been more accurate; however, we have assessed the students' academic performance based on a single examination.


  Conclusion Top


In recent times, there have been changes made in the Indian medical teaching curriculum focusing more on skill-based learning with the aim of producing efficient Indian Medical Graduates. The importance of knowing cerebral dominance is attributed to increased awareness of different learning styles and thereby implementing the different teaching methods/styles, as it is believed to influence and promote better learning among medical students.

Acknowledgment

We would like to thank all the 2nd- and 3rd-year undergraduate medical students of our institution who took part in the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Al-Hadithi N, Al-Imam A, Irfan M, Khalaf M, Al-Khafaji S. The relation between cerebral dominance and visual analytic skills in Iraqi medical students, a cross sectional analysis. Asian J Med Sci 2016;7:47-52.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Oflaz M. The effect of right and left brain dominance in language learning. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2011;15:1507-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Vingiano W. Hemisphericity and personality. Int J Neurosci 1989;44:263-74.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Beaumont JG, Young AW, McManus IC. Hemisphericity: A critical review. Cogn Neuropsychol 1984;1:191-212.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Keat TS, Kumar V, Rushdi MS, Nazri NA, Xuan LZ. The relationship between brain dominance and academic performance: A cross-sectional study. J Adv Med Med Res 2016;27:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Mansour EA, ElAraby M, Pandaan IN, Gemeay EM. Hemispherical brain dominance and academic achievement among nursing students. IOSR J Nurs Health Sci Tanta Univ Coll Nurs Egypt 2017;6:32-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Crane LD. The Alert Scale of Cognitive Style. Western Michigan University; 1989. Available from: https://cte.dce.harvard. edu/~mdumais/BrainBasedLearningWebsite/Hemisphere_Preference_Interactive _Assessment_Final.pdf. [Last assessed on 2019 Jun 29].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Jangaiah C. Learning Styles. Hyderabad: Booklinks Corp; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Kök I. Listening comprehension achievement and brain dominance. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2014;122:329-34.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Singh P. Interaction effect of brain hemispheric dominance and self-concept on academic achievement in mathematics. International journal of engineering and science 2015;5:28-32.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Zhang R. Cerebral hemispheres and learning: A study of the correlation between brain dominations and learning styles. Int J Sci Eng Res 2011;2:1-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Lawrence AS. Brain dominance of the high school teachers. Online Submiss 2015;2:21-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Holbrook E. “Left Brain vs. Right Brain Teaching Techniques”. Web. 2011. Available from: http://www.funderstanding.com/content/right-brain-vs-left-brain [Last accessed on 2019 Nov 30].  Back to cited text no. 13
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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