The genius people in the field of science, especially those who are specializing in brain anatomy or the neurologists, are not the only ones who are authorized to ask how human brain actually works. Definitely, this question crossed your mind at one point in your life yet you just don’t want to spend much effort answering them. However, putting a piece of effort like browsing through this article will lead to a more meaningful discoveries about ourselves, our composition and our existence by learning about one of the most essential part of us, our brain.
Do you know that in most cases, people categorize themselves as either a right brained or a left brained person? Right brained, as they say, are those who think creatively while the left brained people are those who think logically. Many think that brain games helps to sharp their memory learning capacity. Learning about this theory might be a good start to a deeper understanding of how our brain works. Just like any other theories, this one has a lot of explanations behind it. So let’s get to know more about this right brain versus left brain myth, how the idea all began, what else are being said about it and take a peek on some studies that disproves the thought of it.
The Beginning of the Myth
So let’s get to know some details as to how it all began.
The left brain versus right brain theory was all started by a neuroscience genius named Roger W. Sperry from the California Institute of Technology. He was then working along with a group of surgeons who were conducting operations for the epileptics, probably for the purpose of putting an end to their struggle of such disorder. The operations that happened from 1960s to 1970s was done in such a way that a part of the brain called corpus callosum was cut to disconnect the left and brain hemispheres. By the way, this part does not just connect but actually facilitates the inter hemispheric communication of the two sides of the brain. The said operation gave an ease to the patients and further led to a conclusion about the differences of the two sides of the brain.
From there, series of articles further gave explanations to the said notion. The idea spread around the realm of science, from New York Times Magazine (1973), Harvard Business Review (1976), Psychology Today (1977) until such time that Sperry received that 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Since this still remains as a theory, many scientists gained interest in making researches to prove the claim while there were also bunch of researches and experiments that were conducted to serve as its negative counterpart. These then paved way to a lot of discussion about the left brain versus right brain theory up to the present time.
Creative Versus Analytical
Now let’s go to the details about the left brain versus right brain theory, the real score about this claim. The doodle on this side will give us a basic understanding of the theory and what your brain IQ also related to this.
The first claim to the theory is that the human brain has a dichotomous function, the left and right, wherein one side commands specific functions that the other side does not command.
- The left brain is described as responsible for the analysis, reasoning, measuring and any other objective thinking.
- The right brain on the other hand is said to be intended for creativity, emotional management, expression and mostly subjective thinking.
Another claim that this theory holds is that, in most cases, there is dominance of one side. When you are inclined to arts, you will be labeled as right brained but if you are skilled in science, you are labeled as left brained. If you are inclined to both arts and science, then the two sides of your brain are equally performing.
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But the most important and worth knowing information about this theory is that many are still interested in proving or disproving the concept of the right brain versus left brain.
The myth Exposed
Having one side of the brain as stronger than the other still remains a myth.
One recent study about mathematically gifted youth conducted by the psychologists from U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences and the University Of Melbourne, Australia resulted to a conclusion that there is no significant hemispheric differences in the brain of those male subjects who are mathematically gifted. This further suggests that the processing of mathematical logic requires coordination of both the left and right part of the brains rather than done by the analytical right side.
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An experiment by Dr. Anderson and his team was conducted to over 1000 subjects who went through tests and then brain scan was done to gather the data needed for multiple statistical analyses. One analysis has an objective to validate the significant difference of the left and right sides when it comes to functionality dominance. The graph shows a part of the result of the conducted data analysis. The lateralization index used to define the dominance level of a side of the brain shows that the connection of the right and left hubs (blue and red dots respectively) are almost the same and thus there is no significant hemispheric dominance on either one side of the brain.
Whether this theory will be proven in the future as true or not, what matters most is not just knowing which is the stronger side but in knowing how all the brain sections coordinate to each other in order to achieve an optimal functionality.
- Jerre Levy, “Right Brain, Left Brain: Fact and Fiction.” Psychology Today, May 1985
- Richard M. Restak. The Brain . New York: Bantam Books, 1984
- Sally P. Springer and Georg Deutsch. Left Brain, Right Brain . New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1985