Utah Scientists Debunk Belief of ‘Right-brain’ And ‘Left-brain’ Personality Traits


Brain imaging shows no evidence that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained, according to a study conducted by neuroscientists at the University of Utah.

The neuroscientists have debunked the idea that that the left side of the brain controls logic and analytical thinking while the right side is responsible for creativity and thoughtfulness after discovering that left and right brain perform lateralized functions.

For example, left side of the brain focuses more on language, while the right is associated with the outside world.

"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, which is formally titled "An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging."

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after analyzing resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29. After studying the functional lateralization of the brain, they found no relationship that individuals used their left -brain network or right- brain network more often or that they have stronger neural network on one side over the other.

"Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized to one of the brain's left or right hemispheres."

Researchers obtained brain scans from a database called INDI, the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative. The participants' scans were taken with functional connectivity MRI analysis, where a participant laid in a scanner for 5 to 10 minutes.

This process tells scientists what regions of the brain are active and how they connect with each other.

"Certainly, there are personality differences. Some people are more analytical, other people might have more creative thought processes," Anderson said, "but they aren't really using one side of the brain or the other."

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE this month.

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