Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as someone who tends to think more with their right brain or their left brain? You have most likely seen the term in a variety of mediums, ranging from novels to shows shown on television. Or maybe you’ve tried your hand at finding out which personality type most accurately fits you by taking a quiz online.
You’ve undoubtedly also come across at least a few infographics on Pinterest or Facebook that make the claim that they can determine which hemisphere of your brain is dominant. And it’s possible that you’ve read a few articles or books that indicate you can tap into the latent creative potential of your right brain or the logical reasoning of your left brain.
People who are classified as having a dominant left hemisphere tend to excel in areas such as mathematics and reasoning. On the other hand, those who are regarded as having a dominant activity in their right hemisphere of their brain are informed that their abilities lie more on the artistic side of things. 1
It may come as a surprise to you to find that the concept of “right-brained” and “left-brained” thinkers is only one of the many myths that exist about the human brain, given how widespread this concept is.
Right-Brain Activities Are Creative
- Logic of the left brain
Comparing the Left and Right Brains
© Verywell, 2017
The notion of left-brain vs right-brain dominance proposes that the right side of the brain is superior for activities that require expressiveness and creativity. Some of the skills that are often attributed to the use of one’s right hemisphere of the brain include2 the following:
- Recognizing faces
- Voicing one’s sentiments
- Making musical creations
- Reading people’s feelings
- Appreciating the beauty of color
- Using imagination
- Being intuitive
- Having an inventive mind
So what kind of characteristics do those who are said to have a “right brain” have? They are frequently thought of as being more emotional, intuitive, and creative than other people. They are typically regarded as being successful in occupations that entail creative expression and free thought, such as becoming an artist, a psychologist, or a writer. One example of such a career is becoming a philosopher.
The left hemisphere of the brain excels in activities that require logical reasoning, language, and analytical thought. It’s been said that the left side of the brain is superior at: 1
Exercises in critical thinking
What kind of interests do someone with a “left brain” have? They are thought to be rational, analytical, and orderly in their approach. Left-brain dominant individuals, according to this hypothesis, do very well in jobs that require linear thinking, mathematical reasoning, and verbal knowledge. Some examples of such jobs are computer programmer, scientist, and accountant.
According to the concept of left-brain vs right-brain dominance, the two sides of the brain are responsible for distinct modes of thought.
People are considered to favor one way of thinking over the other, which brings up another interesting point.
A person who is considered to have a “left-brained” personality, for instance, is often thought to be more rational, analytical, and objective. People are supposed to have greater intuition, thoughtfulness, and subjectivity if they have more “right brain” characteristics. 1
The lateralization of brain function is a notion that was developed in the field of psychology. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, and each hemisphere is responsible for a variety of functions. The corpus callosum is the pathway that allows communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. 4
The muscles on the right side of the body are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, whereas the muscles on the left side of the body are controlled by the right hemisphere. Because of this, for instance, injury to the left side of the brain may have an impact on the right side of the body.
Learn More About Your Left Brain and Right Brain by Pressing the Play Button.
Steven Gans, MD, has conducted a medical assessment of this video for your convenience.
Therefore, does each hemisphere of the brain regulate a different set of functions? Are persons more likely to have a left or right brain dominance? This myth, like many others that are prevalent in the field of popular psychology, originated from observations of the human brain that were later grossly misrepresented and embellished.
The work of Roger W. Sperry, who was given the Nobel Prize in 1981, is considered to be the foundation of the right brain vs left brain hypothesis.
5 He conducted research on people who had had surgery to have their corpus callosums broken in order to cure intractable epilepsy. The corpus callosum is the structure that links the two hemispheres of the brain.
However, in addition to these symptoms, these individuals also suffered others when the channel that allowed communication between the two halves of the brain was severed. For instance, many people diagnosed with split brain discovered that they were unable to identify things that were processed by the right half of their brains but were able to name things that were processed by the left side of their brains. Sperry concluded, on the basis of this knowledge, that the left hemisphere of the brain was responsible for the regulation of language. 6
The left half of the brain is often responsible for many parts of language and reasoning, whereas the right side of the brain is typically responsible for handling spatial information and the ability to comprehend images.
Newer research has shown that the brain is not nearly as binary as was previously believed to be the case. For instance, research has revealed that one’s talents in fields such as mathematics are at their peak when both parts of the brain are working together. [Citation needed]
Neuroscientists are now aware that the two hemispheres of the brain interact with one another via a structure called the corpus callosum in order to carry out a wide range of mental operations together.
Carl Zimmer, a scientific journalist, presented this concept in an essay that he wrote for Discover magazine. “No matter how lateralized the brain may grow, however, the two sides still operate together,”
“The popular psychology concept of a left brain and a right brain fails to grasp the close functional interaction between the two cerebral hemispheres. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for tasks like as recognizing the individual sounds that comprise words and figuring out the grammar of phrases, but it does not have exclusive control over the processing of language. The right hemisphere of the brain is more emotionally sensitive than the left, and it is better at tuning in to the slow rhythms of speech that transmit intonation and emphasis.
Researchers from the University of Utah conducted a study in which over a thousand people participated and had their brains examined so that the researchers could discover whether or not the subjects used one side of their brain more often than the other.
According to the findings of the research, the amount of activity on both sides of the brain was almost same when viewed on an average basis, despite the fact that activity was sometimes greater in particular key locations.
Some brain activities can only be carried out on one side of the brain or the other, which is a fact that cannot be refuted. Language is more often found on the left, whereas attention is more often seen on the right. However, humans do not often have a left-sided or right-sided brain network that is more dominant. “It appears to be determined more connection by link,” noted Dr. Jeff Anderson, who was the primary author on the research.
Therefore, despite the fact that individuals are often labeled as having either a right-brained or left-brained orientation, the reality is that they have both. Despite the fact that the concept of right-brained vs left-brained thinking has been disproved, it continues to remain popular.
Despite the fact that several studies have shown that the right-brain/left-brain paradigm is a fallacy,9 many people still believe in it. Why? Regrettably, a great many of individuals probably aren’t aware that the hypothesis has been superseded. In point of fact, it seems that the concept has developed a personality of its own inside popular culture.
There is no shortage of information out there that will lead you to believe that you can unlock the full potential of your mind if you simply determine which side of your brain is more powerful or predominates over the other. This information can be found anywhere, from magazine articles to books to online quizzes.
Today’s students may continue to study about the theory as a topic of historical interest. This would allow them to grasp how our notions about how the brain works have grown and altered over time as researchers have discovered more about how the brain functions.
Understanding where your strengths and limitations lie might assist you in developing more effective methods of learning and studying, despite the fact that popular psychology and self-help publications tend to overgeneralize and exaggerate the importance of these concepts. Students who, for instance, have trouble following verbal instructions, which is often considered to be a trait associated with the right hemisphere of the brain, may gain an advantage by writing down instructions and improving their organizing abilities.
If you take one of the many left brain/right brain tests that you will most likely come across online, the most important thing for you to keep in mind is that the quizzes are just for entertainment purposes, and you shouldn’t put too much faith in the results.
A Look at the Brain in 8 Facts
How to Keep Your Brain in Good Physical Condition
There are activities that you may engage in to maintain the sharpness of your intellect as well as the health of your brain, regardless of whether you consider yourself to be more of an analytical or creative type.
Exercise on a consistent basis: studies have shown that exercise has a protective impact on people’s cognition and the health of their brains as they age.
Keeping your mind busy has been shown to improve brain health, according to research. This is especially true for those who engage in mental activity on a regular basis and who work in intellectually taxing professions, such as academia.
Participate in social activities. Not only is the support of others crucial for your mental health, but it is also necessary for the health of your brain, especially as you become older.
Maintaining a healthy diet is important since the foods you consume may also have an effect on the health and function of your brain. Make it a priority to consume a well-rounded diet that emphasizes consumption of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
Sleep is critical to maintaining a healthy brain and proper mental function; thus, you should make it a priority to obtain adequate rest each night. Maintaining a consistent routine for when you sleep and when you get up might be beneficial to your overall health.
A Word From Verywell
Both sides of your brain are engaged in whatever kind of thinking you are performing, regardless of the specific sort of thinking. It’s possible that the right-brain vs left-brain idea is flawed, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important to have a good awareness of your own talents. You may also safeguard the health of your brain by engaging in regular physical activity, obtaining enough quality sleep, maintaining positive social relationships, and engaging in mental activities.
Read more articles like this on abcnews.com.co.