The left brain vs. right brain myth – Elizabeth Waters

Behold the human brain, it’s lumpy landscape visibly split into
a left and right side. This structure has inspired one of
the most pervasive ideas about the brain, that the left side controls logic and the right, creativity. And yet, this is a myth unsupported
by scientific evidence. So how did this misleading idea
come about, and what does it get wrong? It’s true that the brain has a right
and a left side. This is most apparent
with the outer layer, or the cortex. Internal regions, like the striatum, hypothalamus, thalamus, and brain stem appear to be made from continuous tissue, but in fact, they’re also organized
with left and right sides. The left and the right sides of the brain
do control different body functions, such as movement and sight. The brain’s right side controls the motion
of the left arm and leg and vice versa. The visual system is even more complex. Each eye has a left
and right visual field. Both left visual fields are sent
to the right side of the brain, and both right fields
are sent to the left side. So the brain uses both sides to make
a complete image of the world. Scientists don’t know for sure
why we have that crossing over. One theory is it began soon after animals
developed more complex nervous systems because it gave the survival advantage
of quicker reflexes. If an animal sees a predator coming
from its left side, it’s best off escaping to the right. So we can say that vision
and movement control are two systems that rely on this left-right structure, but problems arise when we over-extend
that idea to logic and creativity. This misconception began in
the mid-1800s when two neurologists, Broca and Wernicke, examined patients who had problems
communicating due to injuries. The researchers found damage to
the patients’ left temporal lobes, so they suggested that language is
controlled by the left side of the brain. That captured the popular imagination. Author Robert Louis Stevenson then introduced the idea
of a logical left hemisphere competing with an emotional
right hemisphere represented by his characters
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But this idea didn’t hold up when doctors
and scientists examined patients who were missing
a hemisphere or had their two hemispheres separated. These patients showed a complete
range of behaviors, both logical and creative. Later research showed that one side
of the brain is more active than the other for some functions. Language is more localized to the left and attention to the right. So one side of the brain may do more work, but this varies by system
rather than by person. There isn’t any evidence to suggest that individuals have dominant
sides of the brain, or to support the idea
of a left-right split between logic and creativity. Some people may be particularly logical
or creative, but that has nothing to do with the sides
of their brains. And even the idea of logic and creativity
being at odds with each other doesn’t hold up well. Solving complex math problems requires
inspired creativity and many vibrant works of art
have intricate logical frameworks. Almost every feat of creativity and logic carries the mark of the whole brain
functioning as one.

100 thoughts on “The left brain vs. right brain myth – Elizabeth Waters

  1. Hi Ted Ed. I'm not sure if this is how I contact you but here goes. Both my children suffer from a metabolic disorder called MCADD Medium-Chain Acyl-coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency. I would love a Ted Ed explanation as the Doctors we have understand the condition but have trouble putting it in layman's terms.

  2. Actually, I read a book about how to draw with the right side of the brain, but the author of the book mentions that is only like a concept and not something literally. And that book explains why as well explain the video.

  3. The flashing rainbow colors hurt my eyes.:/
    I don't know why I'm typing this if none of my comments gets attention.

  4. And again I'm disappointed at the fact that I'm left handed an not given any credit for being able to sayy, yo from the minority standpoint, all I gotta say is, wow, he's pretty mu CH fight, no pun intended, I'm left handed grin birth and I wanna fight out wtf is wrong with Mr m'kay? please someone tell me simethin

  5. Doesn't right or left handedness suggest some sort of 'dominance' of a particular brain region (either left or right) or is that a myth too?

  6. Would be nice if this discussion also addressed Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In it she addresses work in the 50's regarding the brain to justify her argument that art is created by a dominant right side.

  7. I really don't like the idea of separating logic and creativity, good thing this video tapped on that.

    I get annoyed when people dichotomize it. And since we are living in a time when romanticism is much more appreciated, people tend to look down on "logical" people. But really, I think logical people aren't really different from creative people.

    And I'd be honest, I really get annoyed when there are people who post "I am a creative person." And say things that pretend to be "deep". I'm no psychologist, but I think that's actually a sign of non-creativity since they are conforming to the generalized notion of creativity.

  8. Hai, i am kishore i ask one question how to speak English fluently please send some tips and tricks because i am graduate but i can't job….. 😑

  9. I have only 1 Hemisphere, the left one. My right Hemisphere was removed when I was 19 months old to eliminate my severe Epilepsy (100+ seizures a day) caused by an in-utero stroke. There is nothing about how i think, create or respond to stimuli (besides a Blindness on the left side) that indicates any significantly different conscious function or thought process

  10. Wow Robert Lewis Stevenson/Stephenson back in the mid 1800s was inspired by the idea of the left and right brain! That is so cool. Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde

  11. I study medicine, and the doctors still say that, now I'm confused.
    The books I've read don't talk about this…
    Who's Elizabeth Waters? Is she a doctor or something?
    And how can they prove this right if this unsupported by scientific evidence?

  12. When your right hemisphere is severely underdeveloped in contrast to your left hemisphere so you are quite literally left-brained. :I
    (Google Robert Melillo to read about it)

  13. I wounder if having a dominant hand/foot (I'm left handed and left footed) hints towards having a slightly right sided dominance in my brain (as that controls my left side), just a thought…..

  14. This video literally didn't explain anything. All he said was that is was false, then told you some things he knew about the brain, then said it was false again.

  15. So am I to believe this video or this TedEd video: (2:15 mins into the vid)

    Seems like TedEd’s brain is split on whether or not the left side of the brain is logical and right is emotional….

    Either way, its a huge credibility destroyer….

    Bravo! Seems nobody fact checks what goes out…

  16. This is ridiculous. Nobody ever said that the brain is totally divided in logic and sensitive side. It works holistically, as a system, but there is no doubt that logic activities demands more functions from the left side than the right side. There are plenty of scientific researches about it, contrarily to what the author of the video said.

  17. There is a great book touching this subject "Drawing on the right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards. As the title suggests, it is mostly about the development of drawing skills, but aside from that it dwells on the idea of right-brain-centralized perception vs. left-brain-centralized verbal functions. She presents various exercises which objective is to activate the right hemisphere and to calm down the dominant left hemisphere in order to develop the proper type of perception needed for artists (spatial relation between objects instead of recognizing objects by their names, which activates the left hemisphere, responsible for verbal functions). Betty Edwards describes with details what processes occur during those exercises, which I have never seen in any how-to-draw book, or any other book to be honest. I can highly recommend this book to anyone, not only aspiring (or professional) artists, but virtually any person interested in the way our brain works and copes with different tasks.

  18. You should redo your 2013 video, What is dyslexia? – Kelli Sandman-Hurley. That video explains the dyslexic mind in support of the left brain right brain idea. These two videos seem to contradict each other.

    Just something to consider.

  19. The faster reflexes thing makes no sense at all. The same side of the frog's brain that perceived the predator through the left visual field is the side that also controls the left side of the body. HOW DOES THAT MAKE HIM ESCAPE MORE EASILY TO THE RIGHT? Some of these evolutionary theories are pretty weak…

  20. It still matters, this is telling you it doesn't matter so much so the world can control you more easily… We are literally programmed by these facts that do make a difference, sure you can adapt, but this is generally how you work. Ever wonder why people would get punished in school for using the left hand. In today's world we are largely left brained because we watch so much TV, Without the radio acting as TV and will less people reading this doesn't engage the other side of your brain as much..

  21. They take exceptional circumstances as a way of "debunking" a general tendency. There is no debunking here; this is not scientific. They don't want us to escape the bondage of our dominant left-brained culture. No one says there isn't supposed to be a balance — in fact the wise among us say there IS supposed to be a balance. At present, we are stuck in left-brained routine: do this, do that, worry about this, pick up the kids from school, go to the dentist. EMBRACE YOUR CREATIVITY! BE YOUR INNER CHILD! YOU ARE AN INFINITE DIVINE SOUL. We are loved more than we imagine — so imagine! <3

  22. Wtf? Essentially this video is a hypothesis… ted? Try again. Remember this ted talk? kinda proves otherwise…

  23. The left hemisphere is a parallel processor and the right is a serial processor -Jill bolte Taylor – Neuroanatomist
    They are different. They are separate for a reason. This video makes me sad on levels the average person would never comprehend

  24. Why there are so many myths about the brain? People always tend to categorize ourselves into specific definition instead of recognizing we actually lie in a continuous spectrum distribution.

  25. but there is women on ted had stroke in her left side she is neuroscientist as well when he had the stroke in this particular region she lost ability to speech. she thankfully healed completely within 8 yrs

  26. Im sorry but this video is nonsense it was proved dozens of times that the left hemisphere is dominant in 95% and you can find the hemisphere dominance theory in all neurobiology textbooks. And ever heard about comissural fibers?? Of course logic and creativity are integrated.

  27. I'm an artist by trade and was told I have a very right brained "feminine" energy, right up until I disagreed. Then I was told I had a close minded left brain "masculine" energy.

  28. Me: watches ted ed video at school and immediately starts laughing
    Teacher: what happened
    Me: n o t h i n g
    My Brain: I aM thE rIGHT BRAIiiin (s h a n a n a n a) I haVe FeeeLInGS

  29. This is very good video. But there is a small problem. Like half of video from Mind Matters playlist contain or use inside them the reference to leftright brain myth. Some like it's true, some like it's partially somewhat true.

  30. Then why aren't TED correcting this misleading and unscientific, and in fact false claim by the pseudo-scientist Jill Bolte Taylor. She, and TED, are spreading misinformation!! please remove that video before it gains more than 6million views.

  31. I feel you may have "debunked" some of this theory but have otherwise supported it with the notion than language to the left and attention to the right. Also you may have reinforced the "myth" further at 3:33 by stating that it takes a unified brain to solve complex problems and to create resonating artwork. That's the entire point of the Left-Right brain theory. Nothing will work if you are too logical or too creative. A clear and balanced mindset is what makes anything possible.

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