Learning Myth #8: People Are Either Left-Brained or Right-Brained

How often have you heard someone say: “I’m a left-brained person.”? By which, they presumably mean, “I’m logical and analytical.” The notion of “brainedness” (analogous to “handedness”) is pretty prevalent in our culture. Some companies have even claimed to develop training materials that are optimized for either left-brained or right-brained thinkers.

Left right brain pic

But what does the science say?

It is true that the brain is lateralized (i.e. some functions reside primarily in one hemisphere or the other). For example, language processing resides in the left side of the brain (for right-handed people) and the right side of the brain contains the attention control network. But do some of us use one side predominately and others use the other side?

In this study:

Left Right Brain Study

Nielsen and team analyzed over 1,000 fMRIs. The results? According to the author:

“…we just don’t see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people. It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger, or more connected.”

In fact, the two sides of our brain are highly interconnected and most of what we do requires processing from both halves simultaneously.

Of course people do have different personality types. Some are logical and analytical. Others are divergent thinkers. Some are cool and calm. Others are more emotional. But none of this has to do with “brainedness”.

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