The Logical Left and the Creative Right

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Hemispheres in our Brain: Do They Have An Effect on our Personality?
In previous psychology classes, we were taught the differences between 'left brained people' and 'right brained people'. Left brained people were supposedly more analytical and logical, more 'type A' people if you will, and those who relied on their right side of their brain more were more creative and spontaneous. In the Lilienfield textbook, it describes 'lateralization' or "cognitive function that relies more on one side of the brain than the other". Since I took my first psychology class in high school, I'd thought of myself as more of a right-brained person, but since enrolling in this class and learning about all the different regions of the brain and it's functions, I wondered--is there any truth behind the theory?

If you look above, you'll see a YouTube video containing a spinning image of a woman. Supposedly, it is suppose to be a test if you are rely more on the right side of your brain or your left. When in actuality, it's an optical illusion (another term in our book) that has to do with our vision, not our personality. And let's, be honest, when you say it like that, the whole concept of being more right brained just sounds ridiculous. Scienceblogs.com comments there are functional asymmetries in the brain and that certain hemispheres are "specialized for particular functions" but the notion of the illusion having to do with our human characteristics is "absolute nonsense". Perhaps I see the woman spinning clockwise because I want to be a more 'right brained person', more creative; I am an art major after all.

In fact, the 'left brain/right brain' theory derived from phrenology, another term in our textbook, saying that the physical shape of our brain has to do with our characteristics and personality. As the field of psychology grew, this was of course disproved, as has the left brain/right brain theory. Both theories have since been disproved by the extraordinary claim principle; the evidence to support the hypothesis was not nearly strong enough as the claim. So in conclusion, the hemispheres in our brain don't control our personality traits. It just takes a little scientific thinking to rule out the connection between an optical illusion and how our brains will perceive it, to human characteristics.

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Why do you think this theory persists despite the lack of evidence? Do you think there are other principles of scientific thinking that apply here?

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This page contains a single entry by jamb0021 published on October 2, 2011 4:23 PM.

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