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Left Brain VS. Right Brain – The Contrasting Myths Debunked

Left Brain VS. Right Brain – The Contrasting Myths Debunked

Updated on Jun 14, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Left Brain vs Right Brain - Meaning, Characteristics, Myths & More

Key Takeaways

  • The left brain vs. right brain differences shows the lateral contrasts of the two brain hemispheres.
  • The left-brained person is an analytical freak. They are logical, rational, and objective.
  • The right-brained person is thoughtful, creative, and intuitive. They are also subjective, flexible, and emotional.
  • The right hemisphere controls the functioning of the left side of the body.
  • The left hemisphere receives and regulates information from the right side of the body.
  • The groundbreaking dichotomy between the left brain and right brain was proposed by Roger Sperry.

“Left brain vs Right brain” refers to the functional differences between hemispheres or anatomical halves of the human brain. There is a popular belief that the left and right brains are distinct. 

They control different parts of your cognitive functions and dictate specific qualities of your personality. 

Recent studies have shown that there is a fair amount of misunderstanding among people related to the roles of the left brain and right brain.

You must have asked yourself ‘Am I left-brained or a right-brained person?’ several times, trying to understand whether there are really any functional differences or it is just a matter of myth and misconception. 

In this article, a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the two anatomical divisions of the human brain will surely be useful and relevant.

What does left brain vs right brain mean?

The left brain vs. the right brain shows the significant differences in the functioning of the two hemispheres of the brain. The left brain is the logical and rational center while the right brain is the center for thoughtful and creative activities.

There are two parts of the brain, a left hemisphere along with a well-proportioned right hemisphere. 

Lateralization of the hemisphere is the concept, which emphasizes the fact that both hemispheres carry out different functions. 

Plus, one particular hemisphere of the brain controls some mental processes along with behavioral patterns. 

The brain’s left side has control over the right side of the body and gets information from the right visual field.

Hence it controls language, speech as well as the recognition of letters, words, and numbers.

On the other hand, the right hemisphere of your brain has control over the left-hand side of the body. 

It gathers information from the left visual field. Thus, it controls the recognition of places, objects, and faces, apart from context and creativity.

The differences between the left brain and right brain were first studied scientifically by Roger. W. Sperry (1960)

He found that the two hemispheres show different functions with regard to cognitive, affective, and conative functioning.

The severed Corpus Callosum did not allow communication between the two hemispheres and as such, each part functions separately and can perform only limited tasks meant for that hemisphere only.

Roger Sperry believed that people are either left-brained or right-brained. He concluded that at any given moment of time, only one part of the brain can be dominant.

Thus, Sperry identified that the left brain is:

  • Analytical 
  • Logical
  • Linear thinking process
  • Proper sequencing of tasks
  • Thinking in terms of both words and gestures

The right hemisphere operates like this –

  • Creative
  • Abstract and subjective thinking
  • More emotional
  • Fantasy and daydreaming
  • Fertile imaginations

But the research done later proved that there is no dichotomy between the left and right brain. Rather both sides of the brain contribute to the tasks that you do in your daily life.

The research findings

Several types of research were conducted to identify whether the left vs. right brain dichotomy really exists or if it is just an imaginative idea of human beings, maybe a popular culture that exists in society.

A two year analytical study conducted by neuroscience experts has shown that they have not got any proof that suggests that this lateralization and differences in functioning are fullproof and valid.

The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reports of 1000 people have shown that one side of the brain is not more dominant than the other. 

Both the hemispheres have certain specific functions that regulate thinking and feeling along with all other physical functionalities that are present.

The two hemispheres of the brain have several nerve fibers that act as a connection and information highway between the two sides. 

Thus, though the two sides function differently, they are connected with each other.

You do not use only one side of the brain but both sides work together or complement each other in accomplishing specific functions.

For example, while doing a logical task or numerical calculation, your left brain contributes by analyzing the digits and increases your numerical competency. 

But at the same time, the right brain helps in associations, comparisons, and estimates.

Left brain vs right brain characteristics

As per the left-brain, right-brain theory of dominance, the brain’s left-hand side happens to be adept at carrying out tasks of rational, logical, and calculative nature. 

On the contrary, the brain’s right side is ideal for creative, artistic, and spontaneous activities.

Some studies have shown proof of the fact that males are normally left-hemisphere dominant, while females use both sides based on the task they need to carry out. 

Despite this, females tend to use their left brain more than their right. It happens because of the sex differences during birth.

The differences are related to the hormones that pass on from the mother through the placenta, affecting the development of the fetal brain.

Left Brain characteristics/functions

The left-hand side of the human brain is far more analytical, logical, and verbal. They usually turn out to be the dominant hemisphere in most individuals. 

This part of the brain manages to organize information logically by putting it into different words or speech. 

It can process information while maintaining a proper sequence by segregating bigger tasks into smaller parts, which become easier to finish one after another.

A proper evaluation of the left brain can happen only if we take a look at its characteristics below:

  • Left brainers use their reason and logic to solve problems. As they remain engrossed in thoughts, not bothered about the happenings around them, they might seem cold in certain situations.
  • They pay attention to details. Hence, it is extremely difficult for them not to recognize flaws in somebody else’s work.
  • People, who tend to be left-brainers, perform well with those tasks that come one after another. Sequencing of tasks makes them execute their work to perfection.
  • These individuals carry out all their activities as per the rules and regulations.
  • Left brainers are quite systematic in the way they fulfill their duties.
  • If you are a left-brainer, you would always prefer doing those activities, which you can do by yourself.
  • Noise can easily distract them, hence resulting in loss of concentration. Thus, they always prefer staying in peaceful environments.
  • These people do not like change. They like to follow a set pattern and do not bother even if things seem repetitive.

Right Brain characteristics/functions

The right-hand side of your brain has control over the left-hand side of the body. It is mainly responsible for one’s creativity, imagination, and skills related to music.

This part helps to process emotions. Right brainers thrive under those circumstances that allow them to use their creativity and help bring new ideas and options. 

They are far more emotional, compared to those who are left-brainers. These individuals greet spontaneity and do not bother to maintain any structure.

Following are some of the characteristics of the right brain:

  • The brain’s right hemisphere is much more creative and visual and makes good use of its gut feelings.
  • They prefer creative solutions to the problems they come up with in their lives.
  • Their focus remains on the bigger picture. Hence, they do not worry too much about minor issues.
  • These individuals love to think out of the box and explore various options.
  • Right-brainers love mixing with people and this quality makes them perfect team players.
  • The right brain helps in communicating opinions and feelings verbally.
  • The right brain makes a person more intuitive and thoughtful. They can think in terms of images and patterns.
  • People who are right-brainers are more emotional and ruled by their hearts. The feeling is dominant and they decide with their hearts.
  • They prefer taking part in social activities.
  • They hate spending time alone.
  • These people have no problem even if there are distractions.
  • Loves exploring new stuff and can easily adapt to changes.
  • Confusion does not create problems for them, as long as it manages to capture their interest and make them glued to the work.

Right-brained people – characteristics

When we try to gauge the characteristics of people who are dominant right-brainers, we think of those who visualize things, have spontaneity, and are often recognized as emotional. 

They might struggle to memorize and pay attention to detail. 

Let us now briefly discuss the characteristics of right-brained people:

1. You Choose Drawing over Writing

If you have right-brain dominancy, you will opt to tell a story through a picture than express the same through words. 

They tend to create visuals to understand the current methods of learning.

2. You Give Preference to Open-Ended Questions

Right-brained people flourish in groups and prefer answering open-ended questions. It comes naturally to them, rather than answering those having multiple choices. 

These people find themselves at ease when circumstances allow them to enjoy the freedom and have a proper discussion. 

They do not like when things are left to chance like it is the case when options are available.

3. You Struggle to Organize Stuff

When you are a right-brain dominant individual, you could have problems concentrating on one task and keeping things in order. 

It includes struggling to keep your desk neat and clean or failing to complete certain academic tasks.

4. Unable to Focus for a Length of Time

The right-brainers have serious problems in maintaining their focus and concentration for a long period.

They require constant stimulation. Keep note of the fact that they are visual characters. 

As a parent, if you admit your right-brained dominant child to a traditional western school, they will face a tough time focusing on their classes and understanding lessons.

5. You Possess Below Average Skills to Memorize

People who have a dominant right brain face real trouble memorizing things they come across or listen to in their daily lives. 

They need to adopt some unique way of remembering the information they have gathered.

Rather than reading on a repeated basis to remember details, they prefer using colors, meanings, visual depictions as well as emotions.

6. Holistic Thinking

Right-brain dominant individuals always prefer to focus on the big picture. They do not focus on minute details but depend on holistic thinking. 

These people possess the ability to interconnect all the smaller pieces that help formulate the big picture.

Left-brained people – characteristics

Though different opinions exist, when we look into brain dominance, one aspect becomes clear. 

There are students or individuals, in general, who feel far more comfortable with reasoning and logic than they happen to be with intuition and creativity.

All these preferences happen to be the characteristics of people who are sometimes regarded as left-brain dominant. 

Are you an organized person? Do you feel there is a correct and incorrect way to execute things? 

Do you even prefer solving sums to reading English stories? You are a dominant left-brainer if you answered yes to these questions.

It is now time to discuss the characteristics of left-brainers-

1. You are Logical and Rational

As a left-brain thinker, you look into various aspects of your life, logically analyzing them. You also tend to find the reasoning behind the occurrence of events in your life.

Taking things lying down is the last thing that one can expect from left-brain dominant individuals.

You would always adopt a rational approach and do what is ideally suited for a particular situation.

2. Work with a Daily Schedule in Place

You always carry out your duties and responsibilities in life by maintaining a proper schedule. You chalk out your work and prioritize them according to its importance.

It means you deal with the most important ones at first, and then gradually take care of the less significant ones. In this way, you make handling tasks a lot easier.

3. Carry out Accurate Research

Left brainers tend to undertake accurate and well-formulated research. Due to this reason, allotment of any work to these people yields a flawless outcome.

Their methodical approach to executing work makes them extremely reliable employees. They can take away the entire burden from your shoulders.

4. Like to Set Goals

The left-brain dominant individuals always work with their goals and objectives in mind.

When they have something to look forward to in their lives, they get extra motivation in carrying out work.

5. Conveniently Interpret Information

It becomes extremely convenient for these people to interpret information. 

They can look through the apparent meanings and manage to go deeper for unearthing extra information. Hence, they use the same for easily carrying out various responsibilities in life.

Left brain vs. right brain – key differences

Even though there is no particular theory that fully explains the numerous complexities of human brain function.

There are techniques of Neuro-imaging that show some prominent differences between the left brain and right brain hemispheres. 

It is also known as lateralization or split-brain theory.

A few examples of these differences include language function in the Sulcus and Wernicke’s area of your left brain, while nonverbal and emotional functions in the right-hand side of the brain.

Let us now take a look into the key differences between these two sides of your brain based on their functions.


It focuses on the minute details and is not bothered about the bigger picture.

The focus of the right side of your brain always remains on the ultimate objective. It does not have anything to do with the finer points.

When you are a left-brainer, your focus remains on carrying out verbal communication.

As a right-brained person, you always focus on putting your thoughts and ideas into words. It enables you to express things clearly.

Left brain people make use of their intelligence to learn about situations and make appropriate decisions.

Right brainers look at various aspects of their lives from emotional angles. Their emotions take over and hence, sometimes fail to make the right decisions at the right time.

The left brain pays attention to each word and comprehends them appropriately for concluding.

People with a dominant right brain have nothing to do with words but would consider comprehension. 

This part of the brain processes whatever information is fed into it. 

On the other hand, this right part of one’s brain tries to understand the information and decide the future course of action accordingly.

The left brain takes care of all those actions that you carry out consciously. 

The right brain focuses on dealing with actions that one undertakes unconsciously.

Left brainers are extremely curious and take actions based on their impulse.

Right brainers take a cautious approach and consider safety as their primary concern before taking action.

These individuals like the following routine. They are okay with repetitive kinds of work.

These people hate sameness, as they tend to feel monotonous. Hence, they always look to explore new things in their lives.
Left brain vs. Right brain

Left brain vs. right brain myths

Even though there is a concept of a left brain and a right brain, their utility in real life has developed a wide-scale misunderstanding among people. 

It is commonly believed that the left brain is meant for logical thinking, while the right brain deals with creativity. 

People tend to categorize themselves as left-brained or right-brained depending on their level of skills and interests. 

Over some time, scientists have given a closer look at the brain and found out that it has more complications than simply assigning logic to the left brain.

It was not until the 1960s that surgeries of two halves of the brain, and epilepsy treatment, had managed to provide scientists with the opportunity to look closely into them separately. 

Nobel Prize winner, neuropsychologist Roger Sperry had first come up with the suggestion that the left hemisphere mainly specialized in language.

Later on, others also managed to find out that the left side of the brain focused on rhythm and language, while the right brain looked much better at handling emotions and melody. 

This does not mean that these two halves are completely different from one another.

Moreover, neuroscientists from the University of Utah had also come up with their research findings.

They did not find any credible evidence from the resting-state functional connectivity, used for brain imaging. 

Hence, they concluded that one can never differentiate people based on the left brain and right brain.

The left brain and right brain myths exist for a few reasons-

  • It satisfies the requirement for maintaining a proper order.
  • Just like astrological signs, people’s personality traits are defined by the type of brain they possess.
  • It becomes quite natural for people to look at logic and creativity as opposites.
  • People find it quite appealing to unlock the creative power that lies hidden inside.

Famous Left-Brain Thinkers

Left-brained people have always been those who are very good at exploring their creative side to solve problems. 

Following are some of the famous left-brain thinkers who have attained popularity and recognition for their work across the world-

Famous Right-Brain Thinkers

Right-brained people are those individuals, who carry good artistic abilities including, dancing, writing, poetry, singing, painting, etc. 

Following are some of the famous right-brain thinkers across the world:

Tips to sharpen your brain power

You cannot stop time from moving on. It is not within your control.

What you can do is to improve your quality of life within the period you have by maintaining a sharp mind and hence boosting your memory.

Starting from having the right kind of food items to practicing the art of listening deeply, all these contribute towards keeping your brain vibrant and healthy.

Whether you are leftbrained or right-brained, the following tips can help you sharpen up your power of the brain:

1. Start Meditating to Reduce Stress

Research studies prove that acute stress can cause damage to the brain.

It can help protect and sharpen the brain by indulging in lifestyle habits or activities that decrease the intensity of your stress response.  

One of the most effective ways to implement this is by practicing meditation for 20 minutes every day. 

During this timeframe, you can focus on breathing exercises, yoga, mindfulness meditation, or even engage yourself in prayer.

2. Do Cognitive Training Exercises

The human brain remains sharp when you can maintain its plasticity. The plasticity of the brain is an individual’s ability to constantly change over his lifetime. 

You can maintain or even make this plasticity better through cognitive training exercises. 

Other than exercises, you might also indulge in playing chess, learning a foreign language, or even trying out juggling. 

Playing different board games can help stimulate your mind along with your hand-eye coordination. 

3. Physical Exercise for Mental Health

Study shows that physical exercise helps to enhance a person’s mental health to a great extent.

One of the main reasons behind its occurrence is that it increases levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. 

It is a protein that improves memory and learning with higher thinking through stimulating the emergence of new neurons and allowing existing neurons to stay alive. 

Walking outdoors in an unknown terrain not only helps perfect your balance but also improves the coordination between foot and eye.

4. Practice the Art of Deep Listening

There are times when you engage yourself in activities that need communication, where your neurons require proper functioning. 

If you suffer any injury to the brain along with loads of stress, they can severely challenge this communication process. 

Hence, listening, speaking, and understanding indications along with the integration of information become difficult. 

Just as practicing meditation can reduce the response mechanism to stress, it would be ideal for you to regularly practice the art of making the mind remain at peace, thus enabling the neurons to communicate properly.

5. Get Rid of Sugar

Maintaining a diet that is high in sugar can be quite harmful to your brain. It can induce inflammation, stress out of oxidation, and the regulation of poor insulin. 

Your objective is to adopt a diet that helps improve the sensitivity of insulin and lower your inflammation.

Thus, you must resort to eating lots of vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, nuts, and some grains. These would help you maintain a balanced diet.

Summing Up from ‘ThePleasantMind’

You might have always considered yourself as someone who is obsessed with numbers or trying out creative things from time to time in your life.

This area of research does not change this notion.

Still, it is not appropriate to link these qualities to the left brain or right brain. We are still not completely aware of what truly determines a person’s personality type. 

It is unlikely that there can be any dominant part of your brain. People have a mix of both brain characteristics and they use them according to their convenience and need.

Human personality and learning styles are not dependent on whether you’re a left-brained or a right-brained person. 

But the fact remains that certain parts of the brain have special functions and these functions can influence the cognitive functions and overall behavior of the individual.

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Are you constantly experiencing sluggish & unclear feelings in your brain? Besides, it doesn’t allow you to think straight, and impairs your memory? Then, you might have Brain Fog. Know all about it here!

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