Right Brain Versus Left Brain: Fact or Myth?

brainYou’ve probably heard of the popular theory that ascribes different functions to the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. It suggests that left-dominant thinkers tend to be problem-solvers with right-hand control are more analytical and logical, while right-dominant thinkers with left-hand control are artistic, creative and intuitive.

Well according to a number of studies, the evidence is just not there to support that individuals tend to have stronger left- or right-sided brain networks.

In the 1800s, scientists discovered that an injury to one side of the brain often caused a loss of specific abilities. For example, spatial abilities seemed to reside in the right side of the brain, with language in the left. In the 1960s, Roger W. Sperry, a Nobel laureate neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology and the renowned cognitive neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga discovered that the two halves of the brain act like independent entities, with contrasting processing styles. These findings were adapted by pop culture for books and quizzes and led to the thinking that different characteristics could be attributed to the two different hemispheres.

But recent brain scan technology has revealed that the hemispheres’ roles are not quite so cut-and-dried as once thought. The two hemispheres are in fact highly complementary. Humans actually use both hemispheres of the brain for all cognitive functions. For example, language processing, once believed to be left- hemisphere-only, is now understood to take place in both hemispheres: the left side processes grammar and pronunciation while the right processes intonation.

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