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“Right-Brained” VS “Left-Brained”: Study Reports Hemispheres Do Not Determine Personalities

Update Date: Aug 15, 2013 03:00 PM EDT

It is a very common saying to call someone "right-brained" or "left-brained." People who are "right-brained" are understood to be more creative, thoughtful and subjective than people who are "left-brained" and tend to be more logical and detailed. Even though people associate these brain hemispheres to certain personality traits, a new study is reporting that these beliefs are all myths that people have passed down continuously. In this study, the neuroscientists from the University of Utah stated that there is no evidence seen in brain activity that would suggest personalities are based on either sides of the brain.

In this study, the researchers spent two years examining the brain's process lateralized functions in both sides of the brain. Lateralized functions encompass specific mental processes that are unique to either the left hemisphere or the right hemisphere. The researchers analyzed these regions in 1,011 people who were between the ages of seven and 29. The data was acquired from the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative (INDI). The researchers measured the participants' brain activity for thousands of brain regions and discovered that people did not favor one side of the brain over the other.

"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, according to Medical Xpress.

The scans the researchers looked at were taken during a functional connectivity MRI analysis in which each participant was required to stay in a scanner for five to 10 minutes as brain activity was studied. The neuroscientists then used the information to help them connect certain brain activity in one area of the brain and compared them to others. The researchers were able to divide the brain up into 7,000 unique regions and looked for connections.

"Everyone should understand the personality types associated with the terminology 'left-brained' and 'right-brained' and how they relate to him or her personally; however, we just don't see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people. It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger, or more connected," said researcher Jared Nielsen.

The study, "An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging" was published in the journal PLOS ONE

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