There is No Such Thing As “Left-Brain” and “Right-Brain”

Let me just begin by saying that before I knew better, I often referred to the “left-brain” and the “right-brain.” When I got old enough (and studied the brain a little bit), I learned that those are just colloquial terms that referred to the functions most commonly found in the left hemisphere and the functions most commonly found in the right hemisphere. While I understand the importance of using labels to effectively communicate what could be perceived as complicated theories, I think it’s important that we don’t talk about the ‘left-brain’ and the ‘right-brain.’

The primary reason for this — there is only “one” brain, for which there are two hemispheres. When we begin to talk about the ‘left-brain’ and the ‘right-brain,’ it severs us from reality (even slightly). The secondary reason — we’re now learning a great deal about . This is the idea that — essentially — the brain can change. Through environmental, behavioral, or other changes, the actual structure of the brain can change. I recently came across a great RSA talk by on “The Divided Brain.” I’ve included a few quotes that I found worth repeating. Below, you’ll find the video embedded.

On empathy:

“If you can stand back & see that the other individual is an individual like me, who might have interests & values & feelings like mine, then you can make a bond.”

On imagination being in the right hemisphere and reason being in the left hemisphere:

“Let me make it very clear: for imagination you need both hemispheres. Let me make it very clear: for reason you need both hemispheres.”

In case you don’t watch the video the whole way through, he closes with a :

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift. The rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant, but has forgotten the gift.”

Published by Jeremiah Stanghini

Jeremiah's primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective. In the same vein as the "Blind Men and the Elephant," it can be difficult to know when one is looking at the big picture or if one is simply looking at a 'tusk' or a 'leg.' He writes on a variety of topics: psychology, business, science, entertainment, politics, history, etc.

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