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The Human Mind

01 Oct 2002 From: Yos Kresno

My late father always said that I was a curious boy, because I used to ask a lot of questions just for curiosity sake. But I think, it is a good idea to become curious when learning English. I hope you and another teachers in Webheads do not feel disturbed by my frequent questions (even stupid ones :-).

I have a topic to talk over. The topic over which I want to talk is about the management of the HUMAN MIND. Everyone in Webheads is invited to give comments, suggestions, and even correction on this topic. It would be very helpful and interesting if everyone gave his or her own comments.


Every person has his or her own brain. The capacity of thinking and the capability of reacting over the environment are different from human to human. The human brain is divided into two parts: left brain and right brain. Left brain controls reality and the right one controls emotion. In women's brains the right is more dominant and man is dominated by the left.

That is why women are more emotional when experiencing difficult situations, and why they are prone to easily crying, becoming depressed, etc. On the other hand, man is more likely to overreact to difficult situations causing him to fight, easily become green with envy, and otherwise to be prone to anger. When they are united by wedlock, the different brain domination should be managed properly to perpetuate their marriage.

I look forward to everyone's comments, suggestions, or correction with all my heart. All the best


01 Oct 2002 Zaheer ul-haq

My dear Yos & all.

You have touched on a long-discussed subject, and I will discuss it with you in much detail (also on the basis of medical evidence), when I have a quiet time. The differences of left and right brain are much greater than rationality / emotionality, and we really need both parts. On the other hand, differences of man and woman are not only in the dominating parts of the brain, but very much in the hormones, which have a strong influence on the functioning of the brain. The differences however depend strongly on the intellectual capacity of the people which can lead up to incompatibility of thinking...



Maggi wrote:

Hello Yos

About your topic the brain, I've read a lot on the latest research done in neurobiology and I would say it has less to do with which side of the brain is dominate in the sexes. What about left-handed people of both sexes? Or those like me who were forced as children to change? There are always exceptions.

The connections between the two halves are more in a woman than a man which may have led to the stereotype of women being more emotional and men logical.

One study showed that over 80% of men were unable to tell by looking at a woman's face if she was sad. They didn't do much better with men. But that still leaves almost 20% who can. How would you explain that?

They also found that smart women expend less energy, for example, taking a test than smart men.


Maggi :-)

Yos wrote on 11 Oct 2002

To Maggi

I admittedly agree with some parts of your explanations on the Human Brain. On how the brain works it is very difficult to understand because of the complexity of the brain anatomy and its difficult location to reach.

Almost all studies on the human brain were done in vitro not in vivo. That is why the studies are based on empirical or observational study more than direct relationships between each part of the brain. It is understandable because of the impossible task to open the human brain in live humans (which means we have to open one's head to study deeper).

I would like to tell you that the environment takes an important role in brain development. I will give you an example.

Identical twins that are separated from each other by their parents, and live in different places tend to have the same behavior of their foster parents.

Some studies show us that the capacity of the brain, (including which part is dominant), depends on education, knowledge, parents, friends etc. As you told me the left-handed child can be converted into a right handed one through education and exercises. And the question of which side of the brain becomes dominant following the conversion, has not been established.

Still have another comments or suggestions? I am happy to hear them.

Sincerely, Yos Kresno

11 Oct 2002 Maggi replied

Hi Yos

These studies were done using MRI technology and watching which areas of the brain lit up showing activity.

Environment can sometimes have a bigger influence and yes, as you said, twins that have been separated at birth show this.

I'm still not sure you can say one side of the brain is more dominant. It isn't like genes. There are a lot of things that influence it. And that ALL men are left-hemisphere dominant and ALL women right I doubt.

Just my opinion.

Maggi :-)

Yos replied on 20 Oct 2002

Hello Maggi

Nice to talk to you again,

I respect your opinion eventhough it is different from mine. I have drawn my conclusion on which part of the brain is dominant based on my own study.

But of course, it is probably statistically wrong because I did it in empirical ways.

I think I need to study a lot more references to get a clear explanation. But I think you as a teacher of English (if I am not mistaken) have a broad knowledge in medical areas.

I will take a TOEFL test next year, probably in the middle of June. When I took a practice TOEFL test, my listening and comprehension were good, but my granmar was very low. Could you please tell me how to master it in easy ways?

Looking forward for your reply.


Susanne writes:

As part of my masters in education, I studied psychology, too. I heard an interesting story about the brain and language learning: a Danish man, raised close to the German border and brought up in a bilingual situation with a German speaking mother and a Danish father, had a brain damage so he forgot his Danish. But suddenly he began to speak in German! The Danish language center had been developed at the same time as the German, and the first one was damaged, but not the latter.

The renowned Danish brain expert, Kjeld Fredens, explained that this would not have been possible in cause this patient had learnt German later on in his life - because then his German would have been added to the already existing center for Danish language. What do you think?


Yos replies, Oct 21, 2002

Dear Sus,

Talking about your story about brain and language, allow me to analyze. You did not mention what caused the brain damage. Was it Phisical, mental, or some sort of confusion?. And at what age did he experienced the damage?

If the cause was not phisical, then this would be an interesting case. Possibly it was like my crashing my computer when some programs ran together at the same time. Each program wanted to be launched before the others. When my processor had limited free resources my computer crashed. But right after I changed it for a more modern one, everything ran properly.

I don't want to underestimate him by comparing him too closely with my computer, because man is different from a computer in many aspects. All things considered, it depends very much on the preparedness of his brain. The time of damage also takes an important role (growing-period of the brain). The more mature the brain is, the more well-prepared the brain will be in facing conflicting language/environment.

Do you agree with my opinion? Or Am I mistaken



P.S. When I was five years old, I had studied three different languages. I don't mean to appear proud of myself, but only suggest that environment also plays a role.

20 Oct 2002 Maggi writes back to Yos, to Sus, and again to Yos

Hi Yos

One of the reasons children learn to speak languages so quickly is to play with other children. But remember their language skills are nothing compared to the level an adult may use nor is their vocabulary.

They say the window for learning to speak like a native speaker is 10 years old. You can still learn languages, even fluently, but may not sound like a native speaker without a lot of work, living in the country and using it daily, or having a talent for languages. Which means having a good ear, so maybe people good at music and singing have an advantage.

Maggi :-)

Hi Sus

Yes, brain researchers have found the Brocca area is responsible for language learning and yes bilingual people are wired differently than those who learn a second language later in life.

My son is a true bilingual and even though I speak the same two languages now, it is different. He has two mother tongues and I have one. It was very interesting to observe as he was growing up.


Hello Yos

Grammar...well, that will start a topic for discussion. I'd say the best for the TOEFL is to take as many of their practice tests (I think they are available online)and see where you are weakest.

There are also plenty of sites for learning grammar but I personally think once you reach a level past the basics you learn the grammar by using the language.

For example, the BBC site for learning English has the latest news. The New York Times does as well to practice American English. Read out loud...walking around even, because then both sides of your brain are active and 90% will stick.

Don't believe me or not. Try it and see if it works. Also remember the memory curve. It drops dramatically 2-3 days after you learn something new so if it isn't reviewed then it is unlikely to move into the long term memory. Memorizing is only good for short term memory...then whoosh...your mind puts it in the trash box.

Maggi :-)

Oct 24, 2002, Yos again ...


My teachers never told me how I could manage my brain in order to convert short term memory into long term memory. Your explanation is really something!! Now I will have to change my strategy of learning.

I used to study a topic and try to learn it by heart, but did recollection after one week. Based on your explanation, I thought most of my memory was a trash can and difficult to be recollected.

I will try to review a topic after three days and also I will practice my English by reading aloud, walking, and writing at the same time. After that I will let you know the result.

Another question :

How many hours should I take a day in learning english ? I mean How long my brain can study effectively in a day ?

24 Oct 2002 Maggi responds to Yos's questions

Hi Yos

> will practice my english by reading aloud, walking, and writing in the

Just reading out loud and walking while you do writing! You have to stop for that. Or just read out loud so you hear yourself speaking good English.

>How many hours should I take a day in learning english ?
> I mean How long my brain can study effectively in a day ?

Well, for new vocabulary they recommend 10-15 minutes a day. I would start with that and build up to whatever is enjoyable for you. It should be fun and you should be interested. When it becomes work, then it is too much! Think about your hobbies...things you like to do. Why are they easier to learn?

Maggi :-)

Oct 24, 2002, Vance answers

Yos, I'm interested in learning more about the studies you have done on which part of the brain is dominant.

You asked how to master grammar in 'easy ways.' In my opinion the best way to master grammar in a language is to interact in that language. Reading literature (native speaker texts written for other native speakers) is very good because it's not only enjoyable but also exposes you to correct grammar at any time you can find time to read. Writing is also good, especially if you pay attention to corrects we make for you (for example) because this forces you to test your theories on how the grammar works and get feedback. Any kind of interaction with native speakers can help. Studying the grammar of the language can also help but this is not necessarily enjoyable, and therefore most people don't consider it an 'easy way'. Also, it is in vitro and grammar, like brain study, needs to be understood in vivo.

Annapurna reminds me of what I wrote her earlier:

To you and many others in our group, we don't offer a magic solution to the problem of using English. We offer an opportunity for you to practice with us over time. If you would like to spend time with us we can help you to interact with native speakers of English.

We enjoy meeting new people and we are happy to have you with us. You can write us at any time and we will be happy to answer your questions.

I hope this will help you to achieve your goals.

You might wonder why we are doing this. The teachers here are dedicated language teaching professionals who want to learn more about teaching languages online. So we bring teachers who want to learn together with students who want to learn and we have all been benefiting from this for the last four years.

Nov 1, 2002, Yos again ...

Dear Maggi,

As I promised you, I let you know, that your suggestion, on how I should memorize things, really works. I think I will always practise it in order to get better recollection.

I opened my Book and found How People in ancient age learnt their language. It was written :

and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.

Learning English is more convenient when I study it as something for which I go in.( You said that it was like a hobby ). Like ancient people mastered their language, Now I am doing so.

By the way, do you know where I can download "Medically Speaking" material ?

Looking forward for your reply.

Best Regards

Yos Kresno

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Last updated: November 7, 2002