Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Right-brain or left-brain, which are you?

The idea that there are right-brain individuals and left-brain individuals has been an accepted concept for many years.  Right-brain individuals are supposed to be more aware of their spatial environment, more emotionally tuned in and more creative.  There has been a generally held belief that these individuals function more with the right side of their brain.  Left-brain individuals are those who are more intellectual,  those for whom words and language are central to their being, those who think more than feel.  Of course, there are no absolutes, no individuals who are purely one or the other. What a research team at the University of Utah has proven as described in an article recently published in PLOS ONE is that individuals do not use one side of their brain preferentially over the other side. There are definitely many areas within the brain that associate most closely with other proximate areas on the same side.  However,  individuals use these functional zones about equally on both sides of the brain. So, what this says is simply that we use our brain in its totally.  What it does not say is how we use those areas in becoming the people we are. The more we learn of the brain the less we understand of its actual workings. If individuals do use both side of their brain about equally and we do know that there are important functions predominately on one side versus the other than why are some individuals more adept at complex intellectual problem solving and others more creative? Why are some people great at spatial relationships and others get lost in their own back yard?  Why are some people great with colors and others write beautiful music and others write sonnets and others perform mathematical wizardry?  Why are some great athletes and others trip over their feet?  These are still the great mysteries of the human brain.  They are what define us. Perhaps tomorrow someone will publish a study that explains it all but for now what we know is that we all tend to use both sides of our brain in being the unique individuals we are.