It is human nature to investigate, analyze, and comment on the already developed theories and judgments. Nowadays, the idea of disposing myths turns out to be an interesting and provocative activity as it is a good chance to evaluate evidence and share new conclusions. In this paper, attention will be paid to the myth about right-brained and left-brained people and the significance of hemispheric lateralization.
Using the study by Chen et al. (2019) about the impact of hemisphere dominance within creative thinking and the article by Cherry (2020) about the work of the human brain, another attempt to debunk the chosen myth will be made. The human brain is not easy to investigate, but, at this moment, empirical research evidence helps to study the myth of hemispheric lateralization.
When a person is characterized as emotional or creative, people might say that they have probably right-brained. If analytical skills, logic, and rational thinking are present in an individual, a thought that they are left-brained appears. Such judgments are rooted in the theory of brain dominance, according to which each side of the brain is responsible for the development of different abilities (Cherry, 2020).
In the majority of cases, this idea is defined as one of the well-known neuromyths, and the goal of this paper is to debunk the myth, using current academic studies. The brain laterality myth is chosen with the intention to understand if the work of the two hemispheres actually determines human skills and if it is correct to classify people as right-brained and left-brained. Many neuroscientists worldwide contribute to the discussion of this topic and conclude that there are specific networks in both parts of the brain that influence lateralized functions (Chen et al., 2019). Therefore, the analysis of articles shows that people’s desire to work in the field of art or be involved in the mathematic analysis should not be determined by brain dominance only.
Journal Article Review
Human evolution is an inevitable process in terms of which different mechanisms are developed and investigated. In the chosen study, the authors focus on the relationship that exists between hemispheric differences, creative thinking, and existing modalities (Chen et al., 2019). There were two main hypotheses in the article under analysis. On the one hand, it was said that “individuals with high segregation of right frontal-parietal and visual networks displayed enhanced visuospatial creative performance” (Chen et al., 2019, p. 2).
On the other hand, there was a thought that “individuals with high inter-hemispheric integration of frontal-temporal and frontoparietal networks will show high verbal creative performance” (Chen et al., 2019, p. 2). To check the validity of these ideas, the researchers used a multivariate prediction model to analyze the results of the creative ability tests offered to the participants as a part of the GBB Project.
There is no clearly identified research design in the article, but regarding its purposes and methods, it is possible to say that it is a quantitative study with experimental and exploratory characteristics. First, the researchers used the findings of the GBB longitudinal project to explore the complex nature of human behavior and its relation to mental health. Then, the Ethics Committee of the Brain Imaging Center Review Board of Southwest University approved the study and the involvement of the participants (Chen et al., 2019). Resting-state MRI data were obtained from 502 adult participants (136 were males), aged 16-26.
Researchers estimated hemispheric segregation and integration in various brain regions and offered four different tasks for participants. Product improvement was based on the idea of changing a toy elephant to make it more fun and appealing (10 minutes). Figural creativity test included the necessity to draw a picture with ten incomplete figures and give names to the chosen figures (10 minutes). The requirement of the alternative uses task was to discuss possible uses for a can and a brick (6 minutes). Finally, in the divergent thinking of figure task, the participants should look at three figures and share their ideas about them (9 minutes). Individual differences were taken into consideration to establish functional connectivity between several networks. The results of the tasks were scored on the basis of fluency and originality.
After image acquisition and preprocessing, two hemispheric networks were constructed by means of a random partition procedure to identify regions of interest. The Brain Connectivity Toolbox was used to calculate hemispheric segregation and integration in both brain regions (Chen et al., 2019). Then, the researchers investigated lateralization indices, taking into consideration individual differences of the participants in the chosen areas of thinking (visuospatial and verbal divergent). A relevance vector regression model was used for predictive analysis.
The findings showed that individual visuospatial divergent thinking performance was properly developed within right-hemispheric segregation. There are about 11 modules (e.g., visual network, salience network, sensorimotor network, etc.) in the right hemisphere, and their impact on people’s functions is evident. Creative thinking, either visuospatial or verbal divergent, depends not on hemispheric dominance but on different creative modalities within one part of the brain. This conclusion proves the idea that human abilities are determined not by being right- or left-brained but by identifying specific networks within both hemispheres.
The strength of the article is its contribution to the discussion of the theme of hemispheric lateralization and the identification of modalities as the cause of the difference in human abilities. Clear illustrative material and explanations improve the work of the brain in terms of the chosen way of thinking. According to Chen et al. (2019), the strength of their study is the identification of differential patterns of hemispheric relationship between verbal creativity and visuospatial creativity.
The limitations identified by the authors are the use of the same research center for a dataset and the inability to estimate the potential effect of the chosen procedures (Chen et al., 2019). The lack of external validation and no isolation within a prediction model could influence the results.
The recommendations to continue similar experiments by using new models of analysis or find additional cross-center datasets were given. Another suggestion touches upon a variety of areas for research. For example, Chen et al. (2019) want to investigate hemispheric interaction in artists who use different creative modalities. Although some brain functions may occur on a specific side of the brain, there is no need for people to have a strong-sided brain network (Cherry, 2020).
There are many modalities for analysis, and hemispheric interactions can be viewed from new perspectives to debunk the myth that the right side or the left side of the brain influences people’s functions and interests. It was interesting to observe how the research method was developed, and the findings contributed to my better understanding of the chosen myth and strengthened my intention to debunk the myth.
In general, the myth about hemispheric lateralization is as old as the intention of people to study the human brain. There are many theories and approaches to understand better the essence of right-brained or left-brained personality traits, but the existing myths, personal judgments, and interventions change the idea of brain hemispheric involvement considerably. Sometimes, it is necessary for a person to know why it is possible to succeed in one activity and fail in another, and the idea of brain hemispheric involvement can be used. However, one should remember that it is just one of the neuromyths, with its arguments and counterarguments.
Chen, Q., Beaty, R. E., Cui, Z., Sun, J., He, H., Zhuang, K., Ren, Z., Liu, G., & Qiu, J. (2019). Brain hemispheric involvement in visuospatial and verbal divergent thinking. NeuroImage, 202, 1-11. Web.
Cherry, K. (2020). Left brain vs. right brain dominance: Understanding the myth of left and right brain dominance. Verywell Mind. Web.