Groundbreaking study debunks there are 'right-brained' versus 'left-brained' people

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Scientists are now debunking the myth that there is such a thing as being 'right-brained' or 'left-brained'. For years we have been told people differ in which brain hemisphere dominates their personality. It turns out there is no scientific evidence to support the theory.

The study, according to University of Utah neuroscientists, debunks the myth that our personalities are formed by which side of our brain we use the most.

Scientists studied resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29, taking two years to find out if we tend to use one side of the brain more than the other.

The researchers looked at thousands of brain regions to discover there is no such thing as being 'right-brained' or 'left-brained'. What the scientists say is we use different parts of our brain depending on what we're doing.

MRI scans were obtained from the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative for the study. The scans were taken while the participants rested in the imaging scanners for 5 to 10 minutes.


Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study said in a media release, "It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection."

The scientists divided the brain up into 7,000 regions and then looked for the ones that were more dominant or lateralized. They then added up the number of connections in each region that were either left lateralized or right lateralized.

What they found were patterns of connections instead of proof of right or left brained dominance.

Jared Nielsen, a graduate student in neuroscience who carried out the study said, “If you have a connection that is strongly left- lateralized, it relates to other strongly lateralized connection only if both sets of connections have a brain region in common."

The researchers say the finding that is published this month in the journal PLOS One is groundbreaking because it will change the way we think about right versus left brained personalities.

Nielsen said after analyzing the brain there just isn't any evidence to suggest some people have stronger right or left brain connections. It turns out our personality -whether we are creative and thoughtful or analytical - in the past associated with being 'right-brained', or detailed and logical or supposedly 'left-brained' apparently just isn't true.

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