H ave you ever heard of the left brain—right brain theory? It stems from the belief that people are either left-brained thinkers or right-brained thinkers.
As you probably know, our brains are divided into two hemispheres, the left and the right, and they are connected by what’s called the corpus collosum. So what does each brain hemisphere do and which one’s the winner? Let’s take a closer look at both hemispheres and their roles before we decide.
Right Brain and Left Brain
The right side of our brain is linked to subjectivity, expression, and creativity. Thus, its abilities include facial recognition, expressing emotions, enjoying music, empathy and intuition, as well as recognizing colors and images. The left side of our brains, on the other hand, is associated to objectivity, logic, and reasoning. Therefore, it is more adept at languages, problem solving, and calculating numbers.The right side of our brain is linked to subjectivity, expression, and creativity. Click To Tweet
Origins of the Theory
The right brain-left brain theory is believed to have resulted from research on split-brained patients conducted by Nobel Prize winner, Roger W. Sperry, and Michael Gazzaniga in the 1960s. At the time, patients who suffered from severe epilepsy underwent corpus callosotomy, a procedure where a large part of the corpus callosum is severed. While studying the effects of the procedure on their patients, Sperry and Gazzaniga shed light on the lateralization of the brain. Following their discovery of the different roles of the brain’s two hemispheres, some researchers began to conclude that people are more likely to be dominated by just one hemisphere.
While it’s true that both sides of the brain perform different functions, does one side really control our thoughts and personalities more than the other? It’s been said that people actually prefer to be either right brained, or left brained, whether they realize it or not. Today, psychologists and learning experts alike, encourage us to treat these “labels” with care. This is because we now know that that the purported dominance of either the left brain or right brain over a person, is nothing but an exaggeration.The left side of our brains is associated to objectivity, logic, and reasoning. Click To Tweet
The Brain in Concert
It appears that the left brain vs. right brain theory has been overstated in recent years, having turned into a myth of sorts. In truth, both hemispheres of our brains work together in a coordinated manner to perform tasks. According to Harvard-trained brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, when we engage both sides of the brain, we’re much more innovative. Bolte speaks from experience, as she suffered a massive stroke that shut down her brain’s left side.
Despite popular belief, creative individuals also use both sides of their brains to great effect, according to a study by Vanderbilt University psychologists in 2008. Trained musicians, they discovered, use both sides of their brains more frequently than the average person. This points to the fact that an effective way to engage both sides of your brain is to learn a new skill, like music or speed reading. It follows then that participating in speed reading workshops like those conducted by Soundway Efficient Speed Reading™ is a great way to learn a new skill and train both hemispheres of your brain!
While the left brain-right brain theory has been over-generalized, there’s no doubt that it is important for us to appreciate the roles of both hemispheres of our brains and to look for opportunities to expand and increase our overall brain power.