My theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge is Creativity. Today I discuss the theory of left brain versus right brain.
The Two Halves of the Brain
The brain is divided into two hemispheres, and each side performs specific functions.
Interestingly, the right side of the brain controls the muscles on the left side of the body, and the left side of the brain controls the muscles on the right side. (I didn’t know that!)
Besides these physical operations, the two sides control different mental functions as well. Following are the long-held beliefs of what features are dominant in the left and right brains:
The left hemisphere is dominant in language, making it possible for you to speak and to hear and understand speech. The left side also stores your memories, and is dominant in detailed analytical and logical thought processes.
The right hemisphere does rough calculations, but not exact and detailed like the left brain. It also helps us understand context and tone when someone speaks to us. The right brain deals with spatial capabilities and face recognition—processing visual imagery and making sense of what you see. Other characteristics of the right brain include risk taking, imagination, and big picture orientation.
Recently, there’s been discussion about the validity of dominant mental functions of the left versus the right brain. More and more it’s being concluded that both halves often work together to perform mental functions.
In this interesting article/interview, neuroscientist Kara D. Federmeier says, “This kind of pattern, in which both hemispheres of the brain make critical contributions, holds for most types of cognitive skills. It takes two hemispheres to be logical – or to be creative.”
Are People Left or Right Brain Dominant?
It’s long been believed that people were either left or right brain dominant. In this September 2013 article by Christopher Wanjek for LiveScience.com, he says there was never any scientific evidence supporting this theory. Until now. A recent study by scientists at the University of Utah discounts this left brain/right brain dominance notion. The scientists performed 1,000 brain scans and found no evidence of left or right brain dominance.
Dr. Jeff Anderson, director of the fMRI Neurosurgical Mapping Service at the University of Utah, says, “It is the connections among all brain regions that enable humans to engage in both creativity and analytical thinking.”
Interesting stuff. I know many people who are artistically and scientifically, mathematically or analytically inclined. Myself, I enjoy writing and drawing, but also enjoy the technical and business aspects of my husband and my business.
How about you? Do you feel one side of your brain is dominant over the other?