Until a few years ago, people were constantly analyzed, judged and categorized as left-brained or right-brained based on their skillsets. A musician, artist or stage performer who uses his/her creativity to produce things was classified as right-brained while a mathematician or an engineer who uses rational, logical and analytical thinking was classified as left-brained. Most of us are aware of the left/right brain dominance in humans that mark their thinking capability and personality. Now, this categorization is classified as a misconception and research too gives us a clearer picture that ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ may not truly exist in reality.
A little introspection into hemispheric dominance can help us understand why the classification is a misconception.
The brain is divided into the left and right hemispheres and either of these dominate the way in which we think or act. The left brain is the logical, rational, intellectual and analytical hemisphere and it analyses things by splitting them into sub parts. Any communication or numeric information is processed in a logical way in an orderly manner. Hence was the conclusion that the left hemisphere does a commendable job with reading, writing, language, algebra, mathematics and logical operations. The right hemisphere sees things wholly instead of stripping them out into parts. For example, it sees a forest rather than the trees in the forest. The right brain is supposed to be holistic, emotional, non-verbal and creative. Such people are talented at gathering, assembling, comparing and reshuffling ideas to help produce new concepts becoming artists, writers or take up any profession that requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking capability. Brain functionality can also be improved with daily physical activity. Even research supports the fact that children who are physically active perform better in academics. More details about the research is available at www.firsteatright.com.
Such assumptions and beliefs on left and right brain-ness does exist worldwide which might be actually faux! There is no denying that location does matter, and stroke is a classic example to prove this notion! The idea that some brain functions reside more on one side of the brain than the other is strongly proved by what is lost when stroke affects a particular part of the brain. Language ability and flair for languages is always controlled by the left side of the brain and the right brain controls movement of left arm and legs. If you split the brain into four halves, language holds power over left brain, right brain controls movement, mishaps to the front part of the brain is linked to reduced motivation, planning problems and decreased creativity and the back part of the brain merges visual information received from the eye.
Different brain parts supporting various functionalities is true but there is no conclusive evidence supporting different personality traits for different brain parts. Just for clarity, an MRI or CT scan of the brain of a mathematician or an artist will remain the same devoid of much differences.
Left Vs Right Brain Myth
Recent studies show that the left brain-right brain theory is incorrect and an assumption. The 2013 study looked at 3D pictures of over 1,000 people’s brains and measured the activity of the left and right hemispheres using an MRI scanner. The results showed that neither of the brain hemispheres dominated and the individual used both hemispheres of the brain. But, a person’s brain activity does differ depending on what task is performed by him/her. As mentioned previously, tasks related to language triggers the left brain whereas emotional and nonverbal communication is a specialty of the right hemisphere.
Almost 90% of the people are right-handed and genetics holds responsibility for this. Which side of the brain is used for every activity is mostly influenced by whether the person is left- or right-handed. A 2014 study shows that 90% of right-handed people have language centers in the left side of the brain and so do 70% of left-handed individuals. Hemispheric dominance varies from person to person with each different activity and we need further research to understand this entirely.
The entire left brain-right brain concept came into light in the 1960s, thanks to Nobel Prize winner Roger W. Sperry who contributed immensely towards brain lateralization. But, exaggerations led to widespread beliefs on left-brained and right-brained personalities and their respective attributes.
Although this left/right brain theory might be a myth, there are differences in what the left and right hemispheres can do. Some of them include:
Emotion: Emotions are recognized and expressed by the right brain.
Language: The left brain holds precedence in language and speech as the two main language areas, known as Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are present in the left hemisphere.
Sign language: Deaf and dumb people who convey using sign language use the left brain to show speech-like brain activity.
Handedness: Left- or right-handedness can be noticed in individuals as early as they are in their mother’s womb, right from the 15th week. Some babies suck their left thumb while other babies suck their right thumb. Left/right handed people use their right and left brains differently.
Attention: Left brain takes in details of the internal world and the right brain is more interested in affairs of the external world.
Whatever type of person you might be, a creative artist, a renowned mathematician or an excellent singer, don’t let the left/right brain theories and ideologies affect your performance. There is ample scope for research to delve into what determines individual personality but in no way is it a dominant matter with respect to your thinking ability!
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