Meaningful You

Voices of contemporary psychoanalysis

Do You Switch Phone Ear to Reason or Intuit?

Really, it's a question: left ear for intuition and right ear for logic?

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Are you a right ear, a left ear or are you like my husband and switch, depending on exactly how much you want to hear or process? I'm sorry to blog with little more than a question, but here it is: might it be possible that we switch our phone ear based on whether we need to process logical or intuitive information?

I ask because, every time I talk on the phone I use my left ear, which is connected to the right, intuitive side of my brain -- not because there's anything wrong with the hearing in my left ear but because...well, I just never use that ear. As I learn more about the brain, I wonder if my preference is just habit or if maybe there's something about being able to understand a person in a different way based on which ear your listen with? For a likely related example, the psychologist Allan Schore suggests looking at a patient's left eye, which is connected to the emotional, right side of the brain, to better understand a client's feelings.

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I often shy away from the phone because I have a difficult time “reading” a person via the magic of cellular technology. I wonder if I desperately use my left ear, perhaps to filter every drip of emotional meaning into my right brain? Likewise, I have noticed that when my husband is doing an interview on the phone he uses his right ear, but when he talks to our kids, he tends to use his left. Could it be that he interviews with his right because it's better connected to his logical, factual left brain?

If you have insight, I need it. And no matter, I think it's a heckuva interesting question -- do you only hold the phone up to one ear or do you switch ears based on who you're talking with? Hmmm...

Kristi Pikiewicz is managing editor of the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychotherapy DIVISION/Review.

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