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Why your personality is not determined by your left brain or right brain

Left & Right Brain Characters

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Has your unique personality ever caused someone to accuse you of being "left-brained" or "right-brained"? It turns out they had no idea what they're talking about.

A new study from the University of Utah shows that there is absolutely no conclusive evidence to support the longstanding theory that there are two distinct personality types based on which hemisphere of the brain is dominant.

And how many of us have been pigeon-holed into one of these categories in the past?

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In rough terms, right-brained people are supposedly more creative and possess formidable concentration powers. Left-brained people are presumably more analytical, logical and deft with language skills.

Not so, say the Utah researchers, who monitored the MRI brain scans of more than a thousand people ranging in age from seven to 29.

Participants in the study were instructed to think about absolutely nothing for five to 10 minutes, thereby inducing a resting brain state or pre-nap state. And the results?

"We just don't see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people," said Jared Nielsen, the study's lead author. "It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger or more connected."

The MRI results showed no indication of the test subjects being either left-brained or right-brained. No question some people are more creative than others, and some people are more analytical than others, but there's not a shred of support in favour of brain hemisphere dominance.

Moving forward, Nielsen suggested that people start being more specific with their personality descriptions.

"Everyone should understand the personality types associated with the terminology 'left-brained' and 'right-brained' and how they relate to him or her personally," said Nielsen.

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In short, the old left-brain/right-brain argument was just as fake as it always sounded. We are all individuals, each of us with our own unique abilities, quirks and talents and nobody benefits from being lumped into one group or the other.

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