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BrainFacts.org

Myth
People are either “right-brained” or “left-brained.”
Truth
Regardless of personality or skill set, you use both the right and left hemispheres of your brain to perform everyday tasks. Although certain functions, such as speech production, handedness, and facial recognition, tend to be dominated by one side of the brain in the great majority of people, most tasks require parallel input from both hemispheres. The integration of input is made possible by the fiber connections between right and left sides of the brain called the corpus callosum. Unless an entire hemisphere is completely removed or damaged, no one is considered to be fully “right”- or “left”-brained.

 

References:

Gazzaniga, M. Cerebral specialization and interhemispheric communication. Brain. 7, 1293-1326 (2000).

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Understanding the Brain: Towards a New Learning Science (2002).

Further Reading:

Doidge, N. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Penguin Books, 2007

Jarrett C. Why the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die. Psychology Today, June 27, 2012

Wolman, D. The split brain: A tale of two halves. Nature, March 14, 2012

About the Author

Jennifer Carr
Jennifer Carr is the former manager of science writing at the Society for Neuroscience. While working as a technician at a neuroscience lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Jennifer discovered she is happiest when communicating the excitement of scientific discovery to the general public. She has written for Kaiser Health News, The Scientist, and The Times-Picayune.
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