All About The Brain?/ Are There Really Right-Brained and Left-Brained People?
The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision. And breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extend from it make up the central nervous system or CNS.
brain, the mass of nerve tissue in the anterior end of an organism. The brain integrates sensory information and directs motor responses; in higher vertebrates, it is also the center of learning. The human brain weighs approximately 1.4 kg (3 pounds) and is made up of billions of cells called neurons.
The human brain is the command center for the nervous system and enables thoughts, memory. Movement, and emotions by a complex function that is the highest product of biological evolution. Maintaining a healthy brain during one’s life is the uppermost goal in pursuing health and longevity.
What is the Brain?
A brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrates and most invertebrate animals. It is located in the head, usually close to the sensory organs for senses such as vision. It is the most complex organ in a vertebrate’s body. In a human, the cerebral cortex contains approximately 14–16 billion neurons, and the estimated number of neurons in the cerebellum is 55–70 billion.
Each neuron is connected by synapses to several thousand other neurons. These neurons typically communicate with one another by means of long fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body targeting specific recipient cells.
Physiologically, brains exert centralized control over a body’s other organs. They act on the rest of the body both by generating patterns of muscle activity and by driving the secretion of chemicals called hormones. This centralized control allows rapid and coordinated responses to changes in the environment.
Some basic types of responsiveness such as reflexes can be mediated by the spinal cord or peripheral ganglia, but sophisticated purposeful control of behavior based on complex sensory input requires the information integrating capabilities of a centralized brain.
The operations of individual brain cells
The operations of individual brain cells are now understood in considerable detail but the way they cooperate in ensembles of millions is yet to be solved. Recent models in modern neuroscience treat the brain as a biological computer, very different in mechanism from an electronic computer, but similar in the sense that it acquires information from the surrounding world, stores it, and processes it in a variety of ways.
This article compares the properties of brains across the entire range of animal species, with the greatest attention to vertebrates. It deals with the human brain insofar as it shares the properties of other brains. The ways in which the human brain differs from other brains are covered in the human brain article.
Several topics that might be covered here are instead covered there because much more can be said about them in a human context. The most important is a brain disease and the effects of brain damage, which are covered in the human brain article.
Are There Really Right-Brained and Left-Brained People?
Are you a logical, precise thinker, or would you say that you’re more free-spirited and artistic? If you’re the former, somebody’s probably told you at some point that you’re a left-brained person, and if you’re the latter, right-brained. The notion that the right half of the brain is the creative half and the left half is the analytical half and that our individual traits are determined by which half is dominant is widespread in popular psychology.
There’s even a small industry devoted to this idea. There are self-help books, personality tests, therapies, and educational materials that claim to help you optimize the functions of the stronger half of your brain, get in touch with the weaker half, or even make the two halves stop their (supposedly) incessant battling inside your skull so you can finally get some peace and quiet.
The idea that there are right-brained and left-brained people is a myth
The idea that there are right-brained and left-brained people is a myth. Although we all obviously have different personalities and talents, there’s no reason to believe these differences can be explained by the dominance of one half of the brain over the other half. Recent research using brain imaging technology hasn’t found any evidence of right or left dominance.
One of the myth’s fatal flaws is that it relies on vague conceptions of the abilities it purports to explain. Math, for example, requires logical thought and, thus, is generally said to reside in the left brain, far away from all those artsy right-brain abilities. But mathematics is a profoundly creative endeavor in addition to being a logical one. So would a gifted mathematician be a right-brained person or a left-brained person? Likewise, artistic creativity isn’t just unbridled emotion. Many of the greatest works of art are products of rigorous, precise thought.
Like many modern myths
Like many modern myths, the myth of right-brained and left-brained people is rooted in a bit of real science. We know the right and left sides of the brain actually do specialize in different kinds of tasks. Although the real division of labor is much more complex than creativity on the right and logic on the left. Much of our knowledge in this area comes from the study of so-called split-brain patients. In the 1940s doctors discovered that by surgically severing the corpus callosum (the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the two hemispheres of the brain) seizures could be reduced in patients with otherwise unmanageable epilepsy. (The procedure is seldom performed today because new drugs and treatments have been developed.)
After the operation, the patients had normal intellectual and emotional functioning and seemed to have only mild impairments. More thorough examinations, though, revealed specific disruptions in perception. And cognition that illuminated how the two halves of the brain differ from each other and how they cooperate. Generally, the right hemisphere of the brain was found to be more proficient at spatial tasks. While the left side of the brain was found to be the center of language and problem-solving. (Read a detailed summary of this research here.)
Why do so many people believe it?
If there’s no evidence for the myth of right-brained and left-brained people, why do so many people believe it? Perhaps it just makes intuitive sense that people’s brains would be dominant on one side or the other just as their hands, feet, or eyes are. It may also have something to do with our seemingly unlimited appetite for schemes that allow us to sort ourselves (and our friends) into “types” based on our emotional and intellectual characteristics.
Most of these have about as much scientific validity as horoscopes. But they exploit a psychological phenomenon known as the Barnum Effect (or sometimes the Forer Effect): When people are offered generic descriptive statements that are presented as individualized descriptions of their own personalities. They are predisposed to accept them as meaningful and true, especially if the statements are positive. (The psychologists who studied this phenomenon gave out fake personality tests and found that people generally rated the bogus feedback as accurate.)
The right-brain/left-brain myth works in a similar way. The “insights” that it generates are both generic and flattering. After all, who would reject a description of themselves as “spontaneous and intuitive” or “rational and analytical”? The myth is popular, in the end, because it gives us a “scientific” way to talk about our favorite subject—ourselves.
However, if there is anything you think we are missing. Don’t hesitate to inform us by dropping your advice in the comment section.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below!
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