Right Brain vs. Left Brain Functions
The human brain is divided into two distinct cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum. The two sides of the brain resemble each other, but their functions are distinctly different. The brain only weighs three pounds, and it is made up of about 100 billion neurons.
Many of our past beliefs about the duality of the brain are coming under scrutiny. In fact, we are all a mixture of the characteristics from both sides. Nevertheless, there are still some characteristics thought to be more left or right-sided.
Questions This Article Will Answer
- What are the characteristics of the right brain and left brain?
- What is the brain's anatomy and function?
- What were the "split brain" experiments?
- What are some activities performed by each hemisphere?
- How did the Mayo Clinic map the brain?
- What careers are good for right and left brained people?
The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.— Thomas A. Edison
1. Characteristics of the Right and Left Brain
Big picture oriented
Words and language
Symbols and images
Math and science
Knows object function
Knows object name
More likely to visualize than think in words
2. What Is the Brain's Anatomy and Function?
While no one is really left brained or right brained only, unless a hemisphere is damaged or removed, it is quite interesting to see how people test. Broad generalizations are made in popular psychology about certain functions on one side or the other. The brain receives messages through the five senses: touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing.
Actually, scientists continue to explore how some cognitive functions tend to be dominated by either side, that is how they are lateralized. The left side of your brain controls the right side of your body and vice versa for the right side.
Both sides of the brain controls different functions of the body. Each side of the brain is distinctly different from the other side, because their functions are uniquely different.
Brain anatomy is very interesting with the specific differences between the right and left side. For instance, a part of the brain called the lateral sulcus generally is longer in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere, but scientist do not always see any functional differences. If a specific area of the brain is injured, its functions sometimes can be assumed by another area of the brain. This is a very unique function of the brain.
With regards to visual perception, the right side of your brain will help you see the bigger picture while the left side will help you process the smaller details.— Caleb Backe, Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics
3. What Were the "Split Brain" Experiments?
In 1981, Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize as he conducted experiments called the “Split brain” experiments. A patient suffered from uncontrolled seizures and had an area of his brain removed by surgery in an attempt to control his illness, which was the corpus callosum.
After the surgery the patient seemed to function normally, as he could walk, talk and eat, however some astounding results occurred. They conducted tests individually on both sides of the body. For instance, the right eye and hand could name an object such as a pencil but could not explain what it was used for. The left eye and hand couldn’t name it, but it could demonstrate how to use it.
According to Roger Sperry (1973), “The main theme to emerge... is that there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres respectively and that our education system, as well as, science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere.”
He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his amazing work on split brain function.
4. Activities and Brain Hemispheres
Right Brain Dominated
Left Brain Dominated
Left hand control
Right hand control
According to the Left-Brain Right-Brain Theory, the different hemispheres of our brain control different types of cognition. The left hemisphere is said to be more objective, practical, and analytical, while the right hemisphere is said to be more subjective and thoughtful. Yet, of course, the two sides work together to help us function properly. For instance, our left hemisphere helps us say words in the proper order, while the right side helps us understand the meaning of the words.— Caleb Backe, Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics
5. How Did the Mayo Clinic Map the Brain?
Brain mapping is an advanced neurosurgical procedure used to identify which areas of the brain controls various functions, and this surgery is currently being studied at Mayo Clinic.
Typically, mind mapping is used for patients with certain types of brain tumors or epileptic seizures when the disease is found in areas of the brain that effect the patient’s vision, language, and body movement.
The patient is initially put to sleep so numbing medication can be given, then awakened while the neurosurgeon stimulates the brain. They might be asked to move in a particular way or look at something specific.
The patient is not in pain. A three-dimensional computer image of mapping software is used for taking images before the surgery and during the surgery as a guide.
Then, the neurosurgeon can remove the tumor or the damaged tissue, which would stop the patient from having multiple seizures. Highly trained and experienced neuroanesthesiologists specifically trained in this type of surgery are necessary so the patient feels no pain. Another specialist assesses the body movement, speech and language skills and a computer engineer manages the computer guided imagery.
6. Careers for Right and Left Brained People
Counselor or Psychologist (due to the highly developed emotional side)
Common Questions About the Brain
What Does It Mean If You Are Right or Left brained?
The theory is that people are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that one side of their brain is dominant. If you're mostly analytical and methodical in your thinking, you're said to be left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you're thought to be right-brained.
Which Side of the Brain Is More Intelligent?
It also controls the left side of the body, so right-brained people are often left-handed. Right-brain dominant people are characterized as artistic, innovative and often random.
As we age it is good to play mind games or use brain teasers to keep your mind sharp, as it needs exercise just as much as your body does.
How Can I Improve My Right and Left Brain?
- Consume animal-based omega-3 fats.
- Get enough sleep.
- Use coconut oil.
- Take vitamin D.
- Optimize your gut flora.
- Take vitamin B12.
- Listen to music.
Do These Hemispheres Shape Our Society?
Since we live in a world that is hugely left-brained, we end up with a more materialistic world than a spiritual one. The language of the spirit is intuition, impressions, images, feeling, and pictures.
It is interesting to look at your life habits, the way you relate to others and see if you can figure out which is a right brain vs. left brain function
- Healthline.com, "Left Brain vs. Right Brain: What Does This Mean for Me?"
- Medical News Today, "Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Fact and Fiction"
- Psychology Today, "Left Brain—Right Brain"
Do you know if you are predominately a right brain or a left brian thinker?
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
Questions & Answers
How is breathing controlled by the brain?
Breathing is controlled by the brainstem, which is located in the middle of both hemispheres of the brain.Helpful 37
What is the difference of left brain and right brain?
Look at the section of the article that lists the functions of the left and right side of the brain, which is under the "Characteristics of Both Sides of Brain".Helpful 12
How does the right brain function?
Right brain characteristics: uses feeling; big picture oriented; imagination rules; symbols and images; intuition; appreciated; spatial perception; knows object function; fantasy based; presents possibilities; impetuous and risk taker.Helpful 12
What is the autonomic nervous system?
There is the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. The right is controls the “Rest and Digest” response, which is the autonomic nervous system.Helpful 10
Does the left part of the brain control the right side?
The left side and the right side have different functions. These function are listed under the "Characteristics of Both Sides of Brain". The left side of the brain is responsible for logical thinking, but it does not control the right side.Helpful 9