What Kind of Thinker Are You?
Neuroscience now shows both sides of the brain are needed for creativity.
Neuroscientists have known for a century that the brain has two halves that function distinctly. But it’s only in recent years—particularly with the advent of brain imaging—that we have begun to understand how these hemispheres interact in creative endeavors.
To which ear do you hold your cell phone?
According to research presented at a meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, left-brained people tend to hold the phone to their right ear. Imaging techniques like MRI and TMS are more conclusive ways to determine hemisphere dominance, though not infallible.
Are you logical or creative?
Traditional thinking that the left brain controls language and logic while the right brain controls creativity and intuition has been found to be oversimplification. While these divisions may hold loosely, where thinking occurs in the brain varies greatly by individual and often requires use of both sides of the brain simultaneously. Increasing evidence shows that generating creative ideas, in particular, requires both sides of the brain.
Are left-handers right-brained and therefore more creative?
While not definitive, left-hand preference correlates loosely to right-brain dominance, and vice versa. (Before brain imaging, neurosurgeons used hand preference as a guide for where they would begin their surgeries.) Today we know this link is very limited.
Does your language read right to left?
A language like Hebrew relies heavily on context, since words do not contain vowels and must be deciphered based on surrounding meaning. Languages dependent on context generally read from right to left, which is most natural when right-brain work is required.
Do your hemispheres cooperate?
While the right half of the brain performs the bulk of the creative process, the left half makes important contributions, according to researchers. A study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience focuses on how the brain tackles visual creative tasks. Says coauthor Lisa Aziz-Zedah, PhD, of the University of Southern California, “We need both hemispheres for creative processing.”