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Health & Medicine Are You 'Right-Brained' or 'Left-Brained'? Myth Debunked

Are You 'Right-Brained' or 'Left-Brained'? Myth Debunked

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First Posted: Aug 19, 2013 12:26 PM EDT
brain scan
Brain scans showed that participants of the study with higher blood sugar also had smaller volumes in their hippocampus—the area of the brain that’s linked to memory. (Photo : D Scheinost et al./Yale University)

Do you use the more creative side of your noggin' or the more intellectual area? Well, whether you have a desk job or work from home as a painter, a new study shows that despite the popular myth that 'right-brained' people tend to be more creative and the inverse, more logical, there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.

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According to neuroscientists from the University of Utah who conducted a two-year study that looked at brain-imaging from the mind of various personalities, they found that brain function can mean certain mental processes are specialized to one specific region of the brain--just not according to the myth we've heard so many times before.

During the study, researchers analyzed 1,011 brain scans of resting indivudals between the ages of seven and 29. According to the study, the functional lateralization of the brain was measured in each person. Yet no relationship for any of the individuals was found concerning a preference for the left or right side of the brain.

"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, " said Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, via Live Science, which is formally titled "An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging."

After brain scans were obtained, researchers broke the brain up into over 7,000 regions and examined the tissues, looking for connections or possible combinations in certain areas. They did discover some patterns that may explain the age-old hypothesis of 'right or left-brained' individuals.

"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," said Nielsen, a graduate student in neuroscience who carried out the study as part of his coursework, via the news organization.

What do you think?

More information regarding the study can be found in the journal PLUS One.

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