For centuries now, people have been following the idea that if you are more logical and analytical then you are “left-brained”, while those who are more creative are referred to as “right-brained.” And since the brain controls all our thoughts and actions, this can be an interesting way to look at it.
This theory first started in the 1960s by the research of psychobiologist and Nobel Prize winner, Roger W. Sperry. According to Sperry, people falling on the left side of the brian spectrum tend to excel in jobs under engineering, finance, science, and law. This is largely due to the fact that these jobs require logical steps and in-depth analysis. For instance, a left-brained individual will be successful in managing and leading a project since it requires the following logical steps. On the other side are the right-brained people. Those are considered to be more creative and are more likely to excel in positions that require vision and creativity such as graphic designers and writers. In addition, right-brained people also have a highly developed emotional side which gives them an advantage in being excellent psychologists.
But the question remains, are there really right-brained and left-brained people?
The answer is no. The idea that people are categorized into left and right-brained is a myth. A two-year study, conducted by the University of Utah neuroscientists, suggests that there is no evidence to support that there is a more dominant side of the brain. Lead author Jeff Anderson says that "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." One of the most relevant counter-arguments to the whole left and right brain ideology is that some abilities require both logic and creativity. Take Math per se, it requires a lot of logic and analytics and can also be a creative venture.
However, it is worth mentioning that some abilities like language can have more importance in the left brain than in the right brain. This is based on the fact that people with damage to the left hemisphere tend to have more trouble with speech than those with the same damage done to the right hemisphere, says Dr. Kara D. Federmeier. Despite this fact, Dr. Kara says that we still need both hemispheres to completely understand and use words.
Even though research and science are leaning towards it being bogus, there is no doubt that some people will still believe this theory. The reason for that might be that people prefer the idea of having a dominant side just like being left or right-handed. Another reason might be what is known as the Barnum Effect. The Barnum Effect is a psychological phenomena that takes place when people accept generic information as individualized descriptions of themselves; especially if these affirmations are positive. And what more do people need than something that can be flattering?
Sama Al Kurdi is an Industrial Engineer who is passionate about the business and tech scene in the MENA region.
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