(By Uchechukwu Udoji)
It’s a long held belief that people are either right-brained or left-brained and in turn either creative or logical.
But the theory that our brain has a dominant side that governs out traits – what we are interested in, what our skills tend to be – is nonsense, according to new research.
Neuroscientists have used brain imaging to prove that while the brain does use different sides to carry out certain functions, there is no one governing side.
For years in popular culture, the terms ‘left-brained’ and ‘right-brained’ have come to refer to personality types, with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more, while some use the left side more.
But following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked the myth by identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralised functions.
Lateralisation of brain function refers to certain mental processes that are specialised to one of the brain’s left or right hemispheres.
The brain’s right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body.
In general, the left hemisphere is dominant in language: processing what you hear and handling most of the duties of speaking.
It’s also in charge of carrying out logic and exact mathematical computations. When you need to retrieve a fact, your left brain pulls it from your memory.
The right hemisphere is mainly in charge of spatial abilities, face recognition and processing music. It performs some maths, but only rough estimations and comparisons.
The brain’s right side also helps us to comprehend visual imagery and make sense of what we see.
It plays a role in language, particularly in interpreting context and a person’s tone.