‘Right Brained’ vs ‘Left Brained’: which one are you?
The truth is, you’re neither.
Often you’ll hear people refer to themselves as being either ‘right-brained’ or ‘left-brained’, with the former relating to someone who is more creative and the latter for someone more logical.
However, science shows that as humans we aren’t just one or the other. In fact, the brain uses both sides to do a range of things from day to day tasks to large or ongoing projects.
But that’s not to say that each side of the brain doesn’t have it’s own set of functions. Because the matter is, the brain definitely relies on one side more for some things and the other side for others.
Here’s a rundown of some of what each side of your brain does:
- Linear thoughts
- Thinking in words
So hold on, ‘right-brained’ and ‘left-brained’: is it fact or fiction?
Over time plenty of research has been done into the brain, with many scientists deep diving into the idea of “right-brained” versus “left-brained”.
And the results overwhelmingly point to it’s in fact a myth.
According to Harvard Health, there is no supporting evidence to prove that personality traits, like creativity or logical thinking, reside dominantly in one side of the brain or the other. In other words, if you performed a CT or MRI scan on a mathematician (as the ‘logical’ brain) versus an artist (the ‘creative’ brain), it’s unlikely there would be a clear pattern of difference between the two.
Similarly, a two-year study conducted by neuroscientists from the University of Utah which compared brain scans from 1,011 people between the ages of 7 to 29 concluded that their individual differences don’t favour one side of the brain to another.
Additionally, the results found that when it comes to brain activity, on average both sides are essentially equal.
So how can I make sure I use both my right and left sides of my brain everyday?
Thinking is a natural part of everyday life. Whether that’s thinking about work, home, your family, what’s for lunch or even reflecting on a memory… we’re always thinking about something.
And the best sort of thinking comes when we engage both sides of our brains: left and right.
So here are some tips to ensuring you work what you need to by keeping your brain sharp and letting your creative juices flow:
- Makes things visual where you can (like mind mapping or drawing)
- Work on your hand-eye coordination (try juggling or catching a ball)
- Learn a new skill (like a language or instrument)
- Try puzzles or problem-solving games (why not give a rubik’s cube a try!)
- Avoid using your phone calculator when you can
- Try an activity using your less-dominant limb (like learning to draw with your less-dominant hand or playing soccer with your less-dominant foot)
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Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/right-brainleft-brain-right-2017082512222
American psychological foundation: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/right-brained
Plos One: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071275
Hummingbird Learning Centre: https://hummingbirdlearning.com/use-your-brain-for-a-change/