Educators

Brain Myth -- Some people are left-brained, some people are right-brained

This is a very popular idea. This theory suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different “modes” of thinking, and that most of us prefer one side over the other. For example, people might view the left cerebral hemisphere as logical, verbal and analytical, while the right is seen as emotional, creative, and intuitive. These sides have been described almost as if they are two personalities in one head!

But in reality, it's not as straightforward as this. To most neuroscientists, the idea that people are either left-brained or right-brained is simplistic and very misleading. Brain scanning tests reveal a more complex picture, where mental functions such as language are shared across the brain, each side contributing in a complementary way. Researchers have come to see the distinction between the two hemispheres as a subtle one of processing style, where the two sides compliment and work with each other. In fact, if one side of the brain gets damaged and can no longer perform a particular function, in some cases the other side of the brain (with a lot of practice) is able to take over that function.

Researchers continue to study the subtle differences between the two halves of the brain. However, it is not true that there are people who use their "left" hemisphere predominantly or their right side. People may have a distinct preference for one style of thinking – e.g. rational vs. creative – but that has nothing to do with what side of the brain they use. The truth is we use both sides of our brains for mental functions, as one side supports the other. We use all of our brain!

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