It might be true that our personalities and behavior don’t originate from the left or right side of the brain. There were news stories back in August that reported about new discoveries challenging the popular beliefs about right-brain, left-brain personality traits.
Graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Utah, Jared Nielsen said, “It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger, or more connected.” Nielsen’s colleague, Dr. Jeff Anderson further stated, “…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.” Both researchers think the findings from brain scans might change opinions we have about the right-brain versus left-brain hypothesis.
Regardless of what Anderson’s and Nielsen’s discoveries say, a mainstay of pop psychology has been the idea of right-brain versus left-brain predominance. “Creative people” are said to be “ruled” by the right hemisphere of the brain and “analytical people” are supposedly ruled by the left hemisphere of the brain. These references will probably continue to be used as short-hand labels even though they may not be clinically correct.
These findings are actually freeing. They allow us to break out of more boxes that restrict us. We are more than just creative people or analytical people. We are both. When we combine the two aspects, as we normally do anyway, we are much more complex and flexible.
Personally, there are some days when I feel very creative. On those days I work on floral projects or bring out a camera to take pictures. On other days, I feel curious about the Universe and crave facts, figures, and scientific wisdom. On still other days, I alternate or blend the two urges. Not restricting myself to right-brain or left-brain, brings about more satisfaction and joy.
It’s interesting to notice how we compartmentalize our world. We build houses and apartments in suburbs, retail establishments and office spaces are in business zones, and manufacturing plants are in industrial zones. So, it’s not surprising that we came up with the idea about creativity coming from one hemisphere, and analyses from the other hemisphere. If we realize this human tendency then set it aside for awhile then we think “outside the box”. When we utilize synthesis or symbiosis, new possibilities are possible.
Achieving self-knowledge is one way our brains use all the aspects of creativity and analysis. We ponder what we have accomplished. We note how our passions, prejudices, and failures have influenced what we have done. We open the mind to how we want to live and become happier. Then we analyze our prejudicial, limiting beliefs and figure out how to eliminate them in order to help us live more fulfilling lives. This is a complex, intensive process where right-brain versus left-brain thinking becomes irrelevant.
Many neuroscientists and laypersons say that the human brain is the most fascinating thing in the Universe. Every one of our brains is different in some way. Our brains define us and make each one of us unique. There are also enough similarities so that we can learn from one another and work together towards shared social goals. Human beings thrive when we are creative, analytical, and symbiotic–individually and socially.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a statement by the founder and CEO of the Japanese conglomerate “SoftBank”, Masayoshi Son. “People usually compare the computer to the head of the human being. I would say that the hardware is the bone of the head, the skull. The semiconductor is the brain within the head. The software is the wisdom. And data is the knowledge.”