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Left Brain – Right Brain Myth

hemisity
Years of analyzing popular but dubious claims leads to the impression that just about all knowledge that filters down to the popular consciousness is essentially wrong, at least as a first approximation. This may sound cynical, but think about any area in which you have specialized knowledge and compare that to what the average person believes about that area. Now extrapolate that to every other area of specialized knowledge.

I may be skeptical, but I am not a nihilist. I do think the situation can be and is being improved by popularizing science and other areas of knowledge. Experts need to be directly involved in teaching the public about their area, and when they are, popular beliefs can be corrected.

One example is the myth that we only use 10% of our brain. This is still fairly popular, and was recently a central plot element to the blockbuster movie, Lucy. However, Google “10% brain” and you will find nothing but links to sites debunking this myth, at least in the first few pages.

Another popular but baseless myth is the notion that people are either dominantly left-brained or right-brained in their personality and cognitive style. Google “left brain right brain” and you get more of a mix of credulous sites, like this personality testing site, which states:

We go through life attached to a lot of personality-related labels – introverted, optimistic, strong but silent, drama queen, etc. But left-brain or right-brain? These are not so well-known. Interestingly however, whether it is our left hemisphere that is more dominant or our right one, the distinction can impact our personality and the decisions we make. For example, left-brain people are more organized and systematic. Right-brain people are more creative and intuitive. So which side of your brain do you wake up on in the morning? Find out with this test!

Popular culture seems to latch onto ideas that are sexy or meet some psychological need. The idea that we only use 10% of our brains means we have massive untapped potential. The left brain-right brain thing feeds into our fascination with ourselves and the feeling of control and understanding we get by attaching simple, all-encompassing labels to people.

A recent study directly addresses the question of whether or not there is a neurological basis to hemisphere-dominant cognitive styles, but before we review the study let’s go through a little background on the brain.

It is certainly true that the brain is divided into two hemispheres, right and left. These hemispheres also carry out some different tasks. Specific cognitive abilities localize in one of three basic patterns. They can be bilateral or diffuse, so they do not localize to one hemisphere. Much of what our frontal lobes do, such as attention, are bilaterally redundant in this fashion.

Other abilities localize to both hemispheres for the opposite side. For example, each hemisphere processes vision for the opposite side of the universe.

Still other abilities are localized and lateralize to one hemisphere. For left-hemisphere-dominant people (which is most people) language and math localize to the left hemisphere, while music and visual-spatial processing localize to the right hemisphere. It is this fact which seems to have led to the right brain-left brain idea.

However, just because there are specific abilities that localize to a specific part of the brain in one hemisphere, that does not mean that our general personality or cognitive style also localizes to one hemisphere or displays hemispheric dominance. Many basic cognitive functions just don’t localize in this way.

Further, the two hemispheres have massive interconnectedness. The corpus callosum, for example, is a thick cable running between the two hemispheres, and there are other, smaller cables. There are many networks in the brain that span the two hemispheres. Both sides of our brain work together seamlessly to produce one consciousness.

There is no significant basis in neuroscience for the hypothesis that people have hemisphere-dominant cognitive styles. This is just a popular made-up myth. I could only find one psychology researcher, Morton, supporting this notion in the published literature, calling the phenomenon “hemisity.”

If we take “hemisity” as a serious proposal, what does the evidence show?

A 2013 study directly addressed this question with functional MRI scanning of different subjects.

Lateralization of brain connections appears to be a local rather than global property of brain networks, and our data are not consistent with a whole-brain phenotype of greater “left-brained” or greater “right-brained” network strength across individuals. Small increases in lateralization with age were seen, but no differences in gender were observed.

What they found when they looked at thousands of regions in the brain is that there were localized hubs of activity associated with specific tasks, but no global pattern of hemisphere dominance. Despite Morton’s claims and popular belief that people sort into a binary system of left- or right-brained, looking at brain activity did not support this claim.

Conclusion

Another popular myth bites the dust. The notion that people are dominantly left- or right-brained never had a solid foundation in neuroscience, and now the best evidence we have is convincingly negative.

As myths go, this one is fairly benign, but not completely. Any time our understanding of the world is muddied with simplistic and incorrect notions, there is the potential for mischief. In this case, attempting to pigeonhole with a false binary label can be extremely counterproductive in interpersonal relationships and especially psychology.

Such notions also are sometime applied to education with the belief that children have different learning styles that need to be catered to. This also does not appear to be true.

Labeling people as left or right brained is no better than approaching people according to their astrological sign or blood type, except that it has the patina of neuroscience that may cause some otherwise-rational people to take the idea seriously.

Posted in: Neuroscience/Mental Health

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58 thoughts on “Left Brain – Right Brain Myth

  1. Michael says:

    I still like to think only we left handed people are in our right minds. I know, I’m sorry, it was unavoidable.

    1. Angora Rabbit says:

      I agree. This one is definitely true. :)

      1. mouse says:

        Gotta say. I’m left handed and I’m pretty sure that for me the only way that saying is true is in the literal sense.

        I am right eyed, though, so maybe that’s the problem.

  2. Francisco says:

    However, Google “10% brain” and you will find nothing but links to sites debunking this myth, at least in the first few pages.

    As a control you should repeat the search using a browser in private mode. Google tends to keep us in a bubble according to our previous searches and online behavior. An acupuncturist would probably find the top 10 results are related to using 100% of your brain using needles.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Tried it, still works :)

  3. goodnightirene says:

    I still seem to be right-brain dead. Oddly, though, my spatial ability has improved with the onset of old age!

  4. Amanda says:

    Do you mean there are not different learning styles based on left/right brain dominance specifically, or are learning styles overall a myth as well?

    1. There is no evidence to support incorporating learning style into general education. So, if there is any effect, it is negligible enough to be ignored:

      http://psi.sagepub.com/content/9/3/105.abstract

      1. KayMarie says:

        Having one of the “learning styles” that is typically correlated with bad outcomes it certainly didn’t harm me that school wasn’t set up the way I preferred it and that I wasn’t catered to as the only oddball that likes it that way in a class. So the it is some hard fast thing you must change all teaching methods to accommodate a specific student doesn’t, from my perspective seem necessary. But that some people prefer one thing over another seems like something you could say really does happen.

        That being said, for me, it may be more of a boredom tolerance thing. I tolerate tedious moderately well so I’d do the work even if I didn’t prefer it that way.

        That being said, I don’t think it hurts as a teacher to incorporate different ways of presenting the material. Even if just from a people often need to be exposed to the lesson more than once to really get it, and generally it is less boring if you switch things up than if you do it the same way three days in a row. So it may be more of how many kids in a class do you keep engaged through the needed repetition rather than student A only learned it because I had a picture one of the times.

      2. Harriet Hall says:

        “There is no evidence to support incorporating learning style into general education.”
        I know this, but I have always thought I could learn things better by reading than by hearing. Now I’m wondering if it’s just that I don’t “like” to listen as much as I like to read. Or that my attention wanders if it is not visually engaged. Or maybe it’s that seeing things in print reinforces what I hear; I think there is some evidence that processing information in more than one way improves retention. Sometimes a different way of presenting an idea makes it easier to understand; my daughter told me that she never understood a certain math concept until a new teacher explained it in an entirely new way. Interesting to think about, but no justification for some of the learning style mythology that people have tried to apply to general education.

        1. Ward says:

          Harriet,
          Centuries ago I was informed in medical school that the cortex processing information from visual stimuli was legions larger than that of hearing. So the assumption was that we learn more visually (reading) than auditory (lecture).
          Given the science base requirement of this website, I’m confess that it is most likely similar to most of what was said to me in med school…lore rather than science.
          Regardless, in my lectures I try not to practice powerpoint-voice dissociation. I try NOT to say something wildly variant from the slides that I project. Hence I tend to use a lot of pictures in my lectures and fewer text slides.
          ward

          1. Andrey Pavlov says:

            So the assumption was that we learn more visually (reading) than auditory (lecture).

            It could also just as easily be that visual processes requires more hardware than auditory and have nothing to do with how well we learn.

          2. GrahamH says:

            Not left/right brain, so somewhat off topic.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_processing_disorder

            I’ve long been aware that I don’t seem to be able to take in information anywhere nearly as easily through the spoken word then through reading. It’s not as if I am intellectually challenged (IQ around 150+, PhD in chemistry, in hearing tests I score above average). I struggle to focus on what is being said to the extent that I cannot hold a conversation in a busy pub (and originally from England, that is a major disadvantage). I seem to hear a lot of sounds around me, but cannot isolate the one conversation that I am part of.

            It has affected my life quite seriously. Recently divorced, ex used to say that I should listen harder. My response was that as I was challenged in that area, surely it should be incumbent upon the stronger party to accommodate. Apparently asking her to take some responsibility didn’t go down so well.

            Graham

            1. mouse says:

              Graham, You probably already know about this, but personal FM systems can be helpful. It can’t be used in all situations but some people with auditory processing disorder benefit from the use of PFM in some situations (like classroom). Not sure if it could be used to any benefit in a pub though, since you are hearing the speaker with the transmitter more.

        2. mouse says:

          Just some thoughts that aren’t particularly opposing to anyone’s comments or research based. My mom was a teacher so I can’t help but spout off about education and communication.

          One advantage to reading is that one can usually go back and re-read passages. The advantage to (images/illustrations) is that some concepts are more easily represented pictorially (e.g. a map or photographs) than through language. The advantage of auditory or spoken instruction is than the speaker can incorporate expressiveness which may be engaging, entertaining, offer cues to importance, progressions, etc and respond to the audience, etc. Different individual deficients (eyesight, hearing, cognitive) may effect a users ability to easily absorb one or more of medium.

          I think the current mode of teaching favors using duplicate mediums/techniques, such as written text with illustrations along with an aural presentation and often hands of activity if possible. I think the thought is, perhaps partly to incorporate different learning styles, but also that a fuller view of the material can be given when different media is used. Also it appears that this is more engaging to typical kids and allows additional review of the material later (or with children who have missed class that day)

          In addition, with mainstreaming, lots of kids with IEPs or s504, who may have hearing, learning, sight or physical limitations are in the classroom, so the mainstream approach often incorporates communication/activity variation to accommodate those differences to some degree.

      3. Kultakutri says:

        I would argue with n=1 of me, and by empirical, uncontrolled and unblinded experience of my mother who spent 20-ish years teaching first-graders. She says that, and I can’t quote her sources, which may be obsolete now because she changed fields 25 years ago, that most people learn analytically, or they get a method, formula, something, and then they apply it to reality, and then there’s a small minority who thinks synthetically, that these folks look sort of messy because they are able to observe the world and discover the rules themselves without being able to define them too well (especially when they’re six or seven).
        And, it gives me a lot of sense. Because I do have that synthetic brain. I just fail to remember and understand things when I’m served them as facts, I need to assemble the bits myself.

        I’m not an expert but I do have reasons to believe that there are different learning styles. Maybe it has something to do with personality, experience or family background, not brain functions but people do learn stuff differently.

  5. I wrote a whole book in 2012 debunking all the stuff people think is right that’s actually wrong, including the left-right brain divide, the 10% myth and much more besides. It’s a never-ending war of attrition in which most people don’t seem to care which side wins…

    Book is called Deceived Wisdom. Link on my name ;-)

    db

  6. Sean Duggan says:

    The left-brain/right-brain aspect that I find more fascinating is how interpretation of data from patients with a severed corpus callosum changed as people understood it better. At one time, you could find experimental data proving that the left hemisphere managed the right ear and the right eye and the right managed the left of both. It was proven. It is now known that the left side of the brain handles the right field of vision for both eyes and vice versa. And that’s proven. I really can’t tell if it was due to biases in interpretation of the facts or if this says something about neural plasticity, that our beliefs of how our brain works actually have some effect on how it does work.

    1. Stephen H says:

      Sean, I can’t see the problem. Newton’s theory of gravitation was right for hundreds of years. It remains correct except in the tiniest proportion of cases, where Einstein is “more” correct. But at first glance they look at the world totally differently.

      And of course Newton only developed his theory because scientists were starting to have trouble working through the problems Galileo presented. And before Galileo…

      So designing experiments that “prove” something that isn’t quite right is actually a habit scientists have. Although of course Newton didn’t have the equipment necessary to show that Mercury’s orbit didn’t match his theory – or the teams of scientists that measured a solar eclipse from many thousands of kilometres distant from each other to show that Einstein had something going for him. And it didn’t take long for Einstein’s theory to break down in certain situations.

      1. Sean Duggan says:

        Just to be clear, I’m not doubting science, or the integrity of scientists. I just find this an interesting case where the Observer Effect might actually be working on a macro-scale. Because our brains are as plastic as they are, we might actually see some differences based on how we believe our brains to work and that’s fascinating to me. I suppose that, in some ways, it’s no more interesting than something like the Hawthorne effect where being studied improves performance because people are trying to meet what they believe are expectations, but it interests me. :) Headology at its best.

        1. Stephen H says:

          Interestingly, the experts are now having a closer look at the Hawthorne effect. The study had biases that were not accounted for (most of the observations were taken on a Monday, for instance – when workers are already expected to be more productive).

          Science may be right, but it’s also tough to DO right.

    2. simba says:

      It probably has a lot to do with how we design studies. The process of designing studies that ‘show’ something that isn’t true didn’t begin with homeopathy or with modern scientific journals. John Grant’s book ‘Corrupted Science’ is a good read on this.

      People conducted experiments that ‘proved’ N-rays, ‘mitogenic rays’ and all sorts of things, because they conducted their experiments badly or sometimes outright falsified results. It’s very hard to look at data and not have it reflect your ideas in some way or another.

      1. KayMarie says:

        Especially when someone is designing a preliminary study where you are trying see if there might be any there, there.

        It may not have all the controls for all the possible ways something else might be going on. Also you often choose a population or set of conditions you think might be most likely to give you a signal, even if that ups the noise enough you are more likely to get something rather than nothing.

        If you can’t find a something under the conditions most likely to have that something occur, then there is no point doing more work.

  7. Peter Damian says:

    Evidence from hemispherectomys also disproves this except for sight and hand control.

  8. Windriven says:

    “each hemisphere processes vision for the opposite side of the universe.”

    This has always befuddled me. From a basic engineering standpoint it doesn’t seem to make much sense. But there must have been evolutionary pressures (though I suppose chance can’t be discounted) that led to this arrangement.

    If anyone can point me at a useful, non-specialist exploration of this, I would be most appreciative.

    1. KayMarie says:

      Well one of the arguments, IMO, for evolution over design is you wouldn’t engineer a system this way if you knew this was the endpoint you were going for.

      My only thought is maybe something in the having some information on each side aids in making the reintegrated vision better adapted than if all information from one eye went to one side. But it could just as easily be one of those early on for some reason the critters that did it this way happened to survive one of the recurring apocalypses so we got stuck with it.

      1. Windriven says:

        I certainly agree on this as one of many ‘design’ oddities that suggests the ‘Intelligent Designer’ was a moron.

        1. DevoutCatalyst says:

          Is a moron.

          1. Windriven says:

            But DC, god is dead. Didn’t you get Nietzsche’s memo?

            1. Stephen H says:

              Ever hear the story of the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He lay awake at night wondering if there was a dog.

      2. Sean Duggan says:

        In a sort of Aesop’s Evolution kind of way, I always assumed that it had to do with humans somewhat splitting the difference between carnivores (vision straight to the front) and herbivores (vision to the sides) so that we could be scanning for danger to either side at the same time that we lined up that spear shot. Surely, some animals do it better (classic case being geckoes who can operate their eyes independently), but it’s not necessarily a bad system.

        Actuality, that leads to the question, is this division present in all animal? All mammals? All primates? I would think that, at the least, this would prove a greater detriment to herbivore mammals whose eyes are on opposite sides and therefore do not share a field of view. As aforementioned, geckoes seem to operate eyes independent from each other, which would seem to argue different brain structures…

      3. MTDoc says:

        Raising an interesting question. Is that just human neuroanatomy or does it apply more widely to the animal kingdom. We learned much of this from observing the results of strokes; not sure just how we would test visual fields in animals, but if it is universal in, e.g. mammals, then it must serve some practical purpose.

        1. EBMOD says:

          I know that much of what we learned about the visual system came from studies on cats. In fact, Hubel and Wiesel, two neurophysiologists, won the 1981 Nobel prize for their study of the visual cortex in cats. So it seems that the layout to our visual system is at a minimum shared with mammals…

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_H._Hubel

          1. MTDoc says:

            Perhaps half a field in both eyes is better than all in one and none in the other. Actually makes sense, sort of. Though you can still get blind sided. Thanks for the link.

    2. EBMOD says:

      Even as someone who has studied the visual pathway, I really have no clue why it ended up the way it did with so many decussations and contrateral.

      My only guess (and this is a bit out there) is maybe that early homininds who were right handed and or right eye dominant probably preferred to lead with the right side of the body in combat, and moving the control centers to the opposite lobe reduces the chance of damage to those control centers? If I am not explaining this well, think of someone who is right handed in a sword fight, they would be leading with the right side of their body and extending their right arm with the weapon. This would place the right side of their head as the most easily attained hit on the head while the left side would be comparably more protected. Anyway, a pretty wild-assed guess.

      Just for fun though, here are some of the crazy wirings of the visual system:

      Optic Nerve (CNII): ipsilateral before the optic chiasm, but after the chiasm? Half the fibers decussate and each half of the visual field is contralateral (right field is perceived in left brain regardless of which eye is perceiving things right of center)

      Oculomoter Nerve (CNIII): controls inferior, superior and medial recti, inferior oblique (all preceding move the eye) and levator muscles (raises eye lid), as well as our focusing (accommodation) and pupillary sphincter and fight/flight response of accommodation and pupil. Where it gets weird? All are ipsilateral EXCEPT for the superior rectus, which decussates in the CNII nuclei inside the midbrain. In other words, if you damage the CNIII nuclei on the right side only, the right eye will lose all of the above except the superior rectus, while the left eye will also lose function of superior rectus while the rest is spared.

      Trochlear Nerve (CNIV): controls superior oblique (rotates eye inwardly if referencing the top of the eye). Is the only cranial nerve that exits the brainstem at the BACK and then wraps around it and runs forward to the orbits. Decussates internally and is thus the only cranial nerve that is fully contralateral in its action.

      Abucens Nerve (CNVI): controls lateral rectus only ipsilaterally. This nerve takes the longest route of any cranial nerve, and runs up along the clivus where it is stretched out over the petrous ridge of the temporal bone, where it can be easily damage by any movement or pressure in the brain, such as from intracranial hypertension.

      rostral insterstitial Medial Longitudinal Fasciculus: A bundle of fibers that decussates through the posterior commissure. Functions to coordinate both eyes moving to either left or right gaze via nuclei in the brain stem. If damaged (DM or syphilis most common causes) if looking in right gaze, the left eye will not cross the mid line, and vice versa creating a condition called InterNuclear Opthalmoplegia or INO.

      So yeah, quite the seemingly unnecessarily complicated Rube Goldberg funhouse we have going on inside our craniums…

      1. Phil Clemence says:

        The idea that protecting the control areas in combat seems to imply that combat was deadly enough, in terms of: killing off the breeders via head injuries before they reproduced enough to predominate. Since it’s based on attrition, that seems to be the scenario.
        I wonder how far back the visual system settled into how it is now… it takes up a lot of processing via many routes, and some are really old… ahh now i am drawing a blank – just want to look at the areas/paths and how they are dated in a diagram :)

  9. Sean Duggan says:

    On a side note, rumors often spread due to sloppy citation practices in scientific papers. Most notably, once something becomes a “fact”, it keeps getting recited because everyone knows it’s true because we have that chain of custody back to the initial appeal to authority.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Like the whole “eight glasses of water per day” or “spinach is high in iron” claims.

      1. Sean Duggan says:

        The article specifically opens with the spinach anecdote, tracing back how the funny bit is that the usual explanation for it, that the decimal point was accidentally moved, is itself a false story. Although, admittedly, the author does not provide the “real story”, so maybe their debunking is the fake? :-D

  10. Sebastian S. says:

    Although you write, that one side of the brain is no more dominant than the other; isn’t it also true, that hemispheres have certain functions that are located only on the right or left side of the brain?
    That’s why, when examining a patient with a neurological disorder, we always confirm if the patient is right or left handed, so we can determine where his centres for language recognition, speech,… are located?
    And also when doing procedures such as burr hole for decompression of an increasing ICP, we always do that opposite of the so call dominant hemisphere?

    1. delta-orion says:

      Based on what I remember from my neuro courses (taken years ago, and with a very linguistic focus, so anyone feel free to correct me if I misremember any details)…

      As Steve describes above, language is one of the few strongly lateralized brain functions. Broca’s Area, Wernicke’s Area, etc., only exist in one hemisphere. The “dominant” hemisphere, in medical terms, properly refers to whichever hemisphere is dominant for language. It has nothing to do with a person’s “cognitive style,” and it doesn’t really mean that the language-dominant hemisphere is actually in charge… although given the way language and thought are intertwined, it can seem that way, and split-brain studies provide some really interesting and sometimes counter-intuitive insights into that area.

      It’s useful to identify which is the dominant hemisphere for language before performing any risky neurological procedures, because the consequences of damaging the language and logic centres can be so devastating. Unlike a lot of other brain functions, there’s no handy built-in backup on the other side.

      The vast majority of right-handed people are left-dominant. But, interestingly, a majority of left-handed people (more than 2/3) are also left-dominant. So identifying a person’s handedness is not a great indicator of language-dominance, at least not if that person is left-handed. That may be why some neuro research studies specifically include right-handedness among their inclusion criteria.

      Handedness is also not always an all-or-nothing, one-side-or-the-other thing. When I participated in some brain scan research, I had to complete a handedness questionnaire that had at least a dozen questions on it… not just holding a pencil, but scissors, cutlery, hairbrush, throwing and catching a ball… my friend who was conducting the study seemed surprised that I came out right-handed on every item, given that there are a lot of lefties in my family. (I actually play hockey left-handed, but hockey sticks were not on the questionnaire!)

  11. Frederick says:

    Good article, I also like you Dr. Novella talk NeuroScience, And each time I read “however” I Hear him in my head lol. too much Sgu lately.

    Really interesting, The brain is more complex than what most “pop-myths” let you think. I was always skeptical of this, just for the fact that it always seems to me so simple. But Of course I was a whole 10% believers in my early 20′s, I wanted to do Telekinesis so badly! back then I believed In lots of conspiracy and parapsychology stuff.

    Maybe as neurological standpoint, there’s no learning style difference, but personality play a huge role, I think. Just My experienc but Me for example. I started talking at 3 years old, but I was using complicated words like “Électroménager” ( Appliances in french), and using big sentence most kids don’t use. It seem like I was a smart kid ( I barely remember ), but at elementary school, I had bad grades, So the child Psychologist check on me for learning disorders, and she told my Mother ( She was really proud of that lol) “your son is really bright, probably more than average, but when he does not like something, he just don’t care. I also needed Positive reinforcement , that is still true, I lack confidence, that’s why it taken me some many years to go back to college.

    But now I like to learn about nearly everything. Also the teachers need to be passionate, and engaging. If I see they don’t care, I have hard time learning. I also Learn better when I hear and I take note, Also When i help other, explaining concepts, it sometimes help me too.

    But I get what you are saying, We don’t need to make different style of classes for each “categories” of students, labelling them. There’s a way to appeal to every personalities inside the same system. The teachers are there for that after all. And I don,t like the Idea of labelling people either.

  12. stanmrak says:

    I imagine that the brain is capable of many things that can’t be detected with instruments… don’t assume you can fully measure its ability.

    1. MadisonMD says:

      You imagine a great deal, including aliens gently bending sheaves of wheat in the deep of night. Nobody here cares about your fantasies.

    2. EBMOD says:

      Uh, I didn’t see any evidence that anyone was claiming to measure its full ability. You really love your convenient strawmen don’t you?

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Merely because we may not be able to “fully measure its ability” does not mean the brain is capable of violating the currently-understood laws of physics and chemistry. While it’s fun to imagine (for instance, imagining you understand how vitamins work), merely because you can imagine doesn’t make it true.

    4. mouse says:

      Stan “I imagine that the brain is capable of many things that can’t be detected with instruments… ”

      But exactly how important is an immeasurable capability? If this proposed capability is having no measurable effect on our psychology, physiology or environment, then what exactly is it doing?

      1. EBMOD says:

        Stan was using this same dubious argument in a previous thread last week.

        Again Stan, if it CAN’T be measured, observed, or quantified . . . then how can you know it is there? How can you know what the “truth” is? I suggest you read up on Russell’s teapot…

  13. BodenSeele says:

    There are different degrees of dominant left brains or right brains. If your dominant brain is very right, so you are a real lefthander and you have to learn to write with your right hand (instead of the dominant left hand), that will have a decisive impact on your concentration, speech, psyche… In my opinion this is hint, that there are differences in activating and promoting the right brain or the left brain in education.

    1. delta-orion says:

      I imagine that there are still places in the world where left-handed children are “encouraged” to write with their nondominant hand, but it isn’t a part of mainstream education anywhere in North America anymore and hasn’t been for a long time, AFAIK, since it’s been pretty conclusively shown that there’s no good reason to suppress left-handedness.

      However, I do remember reading somewhere, at some point in my studies, that left-handed people have a tendency to be less strongly, or at least differently, lateralized in their language functions, than right-handed people. There was some suggestion that this might be connected to the higher prevalence of developmental speech and language disorders and language-related learning disabilities (including stuttering, specific language impairment, and dyslexia) among lefties, regardless of whether they are attempting to write with their dominant or nondominant hand. (On the flipside, it’s also assumed to be connected to the tendency of left-handers to recover better from acquired speech and language disorders from strokes or head injuries, so it’s not all bad news!)

      It’s hard to say what the practical implications are for education and intervention for kids with language problems, though. The trend, and it certainly seems like a logical one, is an emphasis on multisensory, multimodality teaching and learning. When I researched those kinds of interventions a few years ago, I found that most of the research on specific teaching methods is actually of pretty poor quality. So those of us who work in the field just have to do the best we can with the information we’ve got!

  14. BodenSeele says:

    Thank you, delta orion, for your answer,
    the learning style regarding the brains seems to be a very vast topic – theoretical. In practice there is a differrence between dominant right brain and dominant left brain, as we know. What I question is – couldn`t you promote concentration and thus success and thus a better self esteem (psyche) by regarding a dominant left or right brain in learning styles? The conclusion of the article seems to me to general for such a complex issue. It is not a question of “labeling people as left or right brained”, but it is interesting regarding objective learning methods. As you say, there is a need of research.

  15. AdamG says:

    In practice there is a differrence between dominant right brain and dominant left brain, as we know.

    Do you have any evidence that this is true?

  16. BodenSeele says:

    Sure – right brain dominants use dominantly their left hand and left brain dominants their right hand – that is what I mean “in practice”.

  17. matt miller says:

    I’m glad to see that someone is dubunking myths about left brain right brain functions. There have been major discoveries in recent years and many people are still clinging to beliefs that were founded in the 1950′s.

  18. Mike Toreno says:

    I disbelieved the 10% brain theory too, until Youtube got started. But not there is massive, massive evidence that people use 10% (or less) of their brains. Google “rolling coal” to take just one example.

    1. Jopari says:

      Actually, since the invention and implementation of the internet, I believe that comment sections frequently prove that there are people who seem to use much less than 30% of what normal humans use.

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