Left Brain vs. Right Brain Dominance: The Surprising Truth
Psychologists and neuroscientists have been trying hard to study and investigate the supposed differences between left and right brains.
There are numerous studies which prove the left brain does differ from the right brain. They both perform different functions.
We carry out dozens of everyday tasks easily with the help of the left side of the brain, whereas the right side of the brain is responsible for processing something inspiring and new.
The idea that one part of our brain is stronger than the other has been in existence since time immemorial.
You might also have come across some people who strongly believe their left brain is more powerful than their right brain and vice versa.
There are a lot of books which explain the “phenomenon” in detail.
Similarly, you might also have watched numerous television programs in which so-called psychologists endorse this very theory.
Some people go to the extent of taking personality assessment tests to determine which side of their brain is stronger.
There are many websites and articles as well, which claim to reveal your prominent brain hemisphere.
As if websites were not enough, you can also read countless books so thankfully suggesting how you can train your left brain to be more logical or exhibit your hidden creativity by controlling the right side of your brain.
People with strong logical and math skills are usually considered as left brain thinkers.
On the other hand, you are a right brain thinker if you are a creative and imaginative person.
However, you will be surprised to learn that that theory of “left brain versus the right brain” is only a myth just like many other popular myths you have heard about.
WHAT IS LEFT BRAIN-RIGHT BRAIN THEORY?
The theory of Left Brain and Right Brain Dominance is very easy to understand.
According to this theory, the brain’s hemispheres are responsible for controlling different types of tasks and thinking.
Furthermore, some people supposedly prefer to think only from one side of the brain, resulting in a difference of opinions and ideas.
Functions Associated with the Left Brain
As mentioned above, a person with a stronger left brain tends to be more logical and good at mathematics. He also has advanced objective and analytical skills.
Other everyday tasks such as word building, writing, speaking and puzzles and problem-solving are also associated with this side of the brain.
It also carries out important activities like criticism and reasoning. In this regard, coders and programmers are often said to be left brained people.
Functions Associated with the Right Brain
People with a stronger right brain are ingenious, creative, and inventive. They have the ability to learn new and inspiring things rather easily.
Right-brained people are more imaginative.
They can envision and forecast future events well in advance thanks to their visualization powers.
It is often said that artists and writers are right brained because it is this part of the brain which starts processing things as soon as you conceive any idea, start writing a story or develop new characters.
People with a stronger right brain take extra care of their health.
They take a keen interest in music and tend to be good singers. They also have some interest in arts and crafts, dancing and meditation.
THE LATERALIZATION OF BRAIN
It is pertinent to mention that we use both parts of our brains equally.
The left brain is not more powerful than the right brain and same is the case with the right brain.
It is the lateralization of the brain which gave birth to the theory of Left and Right Brain Dominance.
The brain has two hemispheres which perform a variety of different tasks.
However, these hemispheres cannot work independently and depend on each other for smooth functioning.
It is shocking to learn that both parts of the brain control opposite sides of the body.
Both parts also communicate with each other through the corpus callosum.
Therefore, the right part of the body can be partially or fully paralyzed if you sustain injuries or damage to the left hemisphere.
Similarly, the damage to the right hemisphere might have an effect on the left side of the body.
Neuroscientists actually managed to bunk the myth of left versus right brain theory by conducting countless researches on different types of brain injuries.
Due to their hard work, we know that any damage to the left hemisphere can lead to problems such as speech impairment, maintaining coordination and understanding words.
Similarly, the patient might have difficulties with learning, impulsiveness and visual perception if the right hemisphere of the brain gets injured.
For example, such patients may struggle to evaluate the distance between the objects – some seem too near when they are far away and too far away when they are near.
THE ORIGIN OF THE LEFT BRAIN-RIGHT BRAIN THEORY
It has been affirmed that both parts of the brain perform certain functions.
For instance, the left brain helps us learn our native language, but it is the right brain, which enables us to understand idioms and poetry.
However, the idea that people are either right brained or left brained is not based on solid grounds.
In fact, the brain’s observation from which this theory originated were vividly overstated and inaccurate at that time.
Roger Walcott Sperry, a renowned neuropsychologist, dedicated his life to find the reasons and a cure for epilepsy.
He also won a Noble Prize for his discoveries and services he rendered in the field of medical science. The theory of stronger hemispheres grew out of his work.
Sperry discovered that he can reduce the number and intensity of seizures by cutting the corpus callosum while studying the effects of epilepsy.
Remember that corpus callosum is the structure which connects the right brain with the left brain.
However, cutting the connection between the two halves of the brain resulted in patients showing some other unrelated symptoms.
For examples, some patients were able to name things processed by the left hemisphere, but they were unable to recall the name of things processed by the right hemisphere.
Sperry quickly jumped to the conclusion that it is the left part of the brain which controls all things language.
According to Sperry, the right side of the brain is responsible for handling visual comprehension and spatial information.
The left side of the brain controls different aspects of logic and language.
Now, it is time to check what this theory actually suggests.
The Left Brain
The scientists and the general public have a fair idea of the activities and tasks which the left brain controls.
However, the scientists are still at sixes and sevens when it comes to determining the exact function of this part of the brain.
But, the facts we already know are still very interesting, some of which are as under.
Humans can and do accomplish numerous operations with the help of their left brain.
Let us talk about learning the most important life skill that is language.
You use the left side of the brain to learn skills like learning alphabets, creating words, understanding phrases and constructing sentences.
Every spoken and written aspect of all the languages is a function of the left hemisphere of the brain.
For example, writing is one of the most noticeable left brain characteristics.
We have also discussed that the left brain controls the right side of the body.
What is even more surprising is that all the left-handed people (whose brains should supposedly behave in the opposite manner) also use their left brains when they are learning a language or writing something.
It is a cardinal sin not to talk about analytical and logical thinking when you compare your left brain with the right brain.
In analytical thinking, you break down a big problem into smaller issues to investigate it and find relevant solutions.
But, how do you develop the solution?
You develop the solution by collecting and evaluating information, formulating criticism and taking a logical approach instead of simply relying on your intuition.
In this case, the left brain makes you ask typical questions such as:
What do I require to solve this problem? What evidence can I use? Should and how I can break down this complex issue into smaller and easily manageable problems?
In addition, you rely on your left brain when you solve a mathematical problem or make a calculation, regardless of its difficulty level.
All the mathematical skills such as subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication are the functions of the left brain.
Similarly, it is the left brain, which processes all the information, data and statistics you receive from your memory.
The Right Brain
The right brain performs a wide array of functions, all of which are as important and critical as that of the left brain.
Visualization is one of the most vital traits of the right brain.
People with damaged right brain usually have problems measuring distance or struggle with distance evaluation.
The malfunctioning right brain can have adverse effects on our vision as well.
We process and understand what we see including its traits and distance with the help of the brain’s right hemisphere.
You cannot distinguish your girlfriend from your sister if your right brain fails to perform normally.
This is because nature has assigned the task of face recognition to the right brain.
Furthermore, the left brain is not the right choice if you want to unleash some of your creativity.
However, the creative part of your right brain is not all about writing stories and developing characters.
You can use it to do some math as well. It does not do calculations and analytics, but it is well equipped to do all sorts of comparisons and estimations.
While learning a language is the job of the left brain, making a language more beautiful and informative is the duty of the right brain.
We recognize the pitch, tone, and intonations with the help of the right brain.
It also helps us understand idioms and metaphors.
It is important for you to protect your right brain otherwise you will no longer be able to understand figures of speech and enjoy the beauty of any language.
Another important part of the right brain processing is intuition.
It is the process of making decisions instinctively without giving a matter at hand any second thought or reasoning.
A person who believes in logic will deem this skill useless without realizing that he uses it many times every single day.
Finally, both the left and right sides of the brain make a great pair. None can function properly without the support of the other.
They collaborate with each other in terms of carrying out their duties. If one gets damaged, the performance and efficiency of the other drops significantly.
IS THE THEORY FAKE OR GENUINE?
The theory of brain dominance has garnered immense popularity over the years.
People enthusiastically believe that one part of their brain is stronger than the other and it is the stronger part which essentially influences their personalities.
Sadly, this is the most incorrect belief you can have, to say the least.
There is no concrete scientific evidence which proves that one side is stronger or more important than the other.
A human cannot work properly if any part of the brain malfunctions.
Smooth working of both parts of brain as well as their characteristics and activities is essential for you to survive.
Any problem with the left or right brain can result in significant trouble with visualization, coordination, socialization, and thinking.
There are many researchers who rejected the work of Sperry through their own work.
They comprehensively proved that our brain is not as dichotomous as people normally think.
One such research suggests it is necessary for both halves of the brain to work together for you to have strong mathematical skills.
Similarly, scientists nowadays rightly believe that it is essential for both parts to collaborate and corporate for the normal working of the brain.
Carl Zimmer, a popular science writer, wrote in one his articles published in the Discover Magazine:
“The pop psychology notion of a left brain and a right brain doesn’t capture their intimate working relationship. The left hemisphere specializes in picking out the sounds that form words and working out the syntax of the phrase, for example, but it does not have a monopoly on language processing. The right hemisphere is more sensitive to the emotional features of the language, tuning in to the slow rhythms of speech that carry intonation and stress.”
Similarly, the researchers at the University of Utah conducted another study on more than 1,000 people.
They tried to determine whether or not they prefer using only one side of the brain.
The study finally concluded that both sides of the brain essentially acted equally during different activities despite the fact that certain critical regions displayed a higher level of activities than others.
Doctor Jeff Anderson, who was the lead scientist of the study under discussion, explains the results of research in the following words:
“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection,”
It can be rightly said that the theory of right brain/left brain thinkers is nothing more than a myth which has already been debunked.
But, the popularity of the theory still persists and there are a number of reasons why.
WHY THE THEORY IS STILL SO POPULAR?
Numerous studies and researches have determined that right brain/ left brain theory is just a myth. But, why the theory is still so popular?
The simple answer is that the majority of people do not realize the theory is outdated.
What is even more interesting is that the theory stands on solid footings in the popular culture around the globe.
From online quizzes to books and articles, you come across different types of information which suggest you can reveal your creativity if you manage to find out which side of your brain is stronger than the other.
You need to recognize the theory has become just a point of historical interest for the scientists and psychologists.
They study the theory to learn how our understanding of the brain and its functions have evolved over the decades considering the remarkable discoveries researches have made about the brain in recent years.
You can definitely develop better ways to study and learn by identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
However, books, TV shows and even psychology have done nothing more than exaggerating and over popularizing the left brain/right brain theory.
Remember that all the materials related to the theory, such as online quizzes are just there for fun.
It has nothing to do with reality.
Concluding, never ever put much stock on their results as they will distract you from your real goals and how to achieve them.
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