Tiger Times

Is it all in your head?

New research may debunk the left brain v. right brain debate

Photo by Victoria Van

Photo by Victoria Van

Story by Emma Anderson, staff writer

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Left brain or right brain seems to be the basis for learning, personality assessments and self help books. Does a person really only depend on their left or right brain?

Since we were young, we were taught that a person subconsciously uses their left brain or right brain depending on their personality and strengths in certain areas. The left brain is more analytical, logical, objective and accurate. The right brain is more inclined toward feelings, creativity and aesthetics.

However, recent studies at the University of Utah state that this may not be true. Scientists analyzed 1,000 participants’ brains to test if participants were more inclined to one side of the brain. After reviewing the results, they concluded that subjects did not favor one side of the brain, but the majority used both the left and the right side equally.

While science has backed up the idea that the two sides of the brain have important purposes for controlling the body, it is getting harder to prove if a person uses one side of his brain more than the other. For example, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. 

“We know that specific areas of the brain are used more for certain tasks,” Biology II teacher, Amy Baker-Kireev said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that some people’s entire left side of their brain or entire right side of their brain works better than the other.”

While science has backed up the idea that the two sides of the brain have important purposes for controlling the body, it is getting harder to prove if a person uses one side of his brain more than the other. ”

— Anderson

Thanks to brain processing, scientists have been able to study scans and come to the conclusion that  language processing, previously believed to have taken place in the left hemisphere of the brain, is actually performed and utilized by the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Moreover, in language processing, the left side processes the grammar and pronunciation, while the right side processes the pitch and tone of one’s voice, which is also called intonation.

The first mention of the left brain v. right brain theory, or hemisphericity, was from Pierre Broca, a French neurologist, who came up with localization in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The theory gained influence from Roger Sperry, whose research conducted in the ‘60s concluded that an operation for treatment of epilepsy caused a separation of communication between the two sides of the brain. The operation involved cutting along the Corpus Callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects the two sides of the brain.

While multiple scientists have backed up the theory that the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain are used more than the other depending on the person and their personality and strengths, modern science and research is on its way to debunking this theory.

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