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Right brain/left brain, right? - Harvard Health Blog

The right-brain/left-brain myth

The idea of right-brain/left-brain may be a myth as evidence is mounting against the idea.

A 2013 study demonstrated that activity is similar on both sides of the brain regardless of one's personality. The study concluded that the notion that some people are more left or right-brained is more a figure of speech than it is anatomically accurate.

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Right brain/left brain, right? - Harvard Health Blog

Right brain/left brain, right? - Harvard Health Blog

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/right-brainleft-brain-right-2017082512222

health.harvard.edu

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Key Ideas

Right-brained or left-brained

According to conventional wisdom, people tend to be either right-brained or left-brained. Those who are right-brained are supposed to be intuitive and creative free thinkers; they are big-picture thinkers. Left-brained people tend to be more quantitative and analytical. They pay attention to details and logic.

Although these ideas are widespread, they may also be wrong.

Location

Some brain functions reside more on one side of the brain than the other. The left side of the brain control language and the right half control movement of the left arm and leg (and vice versa.)

But for more individual personality traits, such as creativity or a tendency toward the rational rather than the intuitive, there is little or no evidence supporting the claim that these reside in a specific area of the brain.

The right-brain/left-brain myth

The idea of right-brain/left-brain may be a myth as evidence is mounting against the idea.

A 2013 study demonstrated that activity is similar on both sides of the brain regardless of one's personality. The study concluded that the notion that some people are more left or right-brained is more a figure of speech than it is anatomically accurate.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Using 10% of our brains

The source of this figure isn't entirely clear.

People's capacity to develop any skill is a combination of practice and talent. A person can get quite good at almost any skill if they practic...

Left-brained or right-brained

People used to speak of being left or right-brain dominant (where the left brain is more logical and algorithmic, and the right brain more artistic and intuitive).

However, both hemispheres of your brain are involved in all of the complex work you do. The most effective thinkers are the ones who learn to rely on both their intuitive judgments as well as their reasoning.

Emotions and rational thinking

The theory goes that emotions reflect a more primitive form of thinking and that good thinking is only logical.

However, when faced with risky decisions, it is possible to talk yourself into almost anything. But, even a little anxiety in that situation can provide information too valuable to ignore.

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Early History

The connection between genius and possible insanity was first documented in 1891 in the Italian physicians’ book The Man Of Genius.

In 1869, this was taken up by the cousin of Charles Darwi...

Genius and Heredity

In a 1904 study by English physician Havelock Ellis, a list was made of 1030 individuals through extensive research, examining thoroughly the intellectual distinction people had by the various factors like heredity, general health, and social class.


These works established that genius minds are often hereditary.

Genetic Studies Of Genius

A body of work of Stanford psychologist Lewis M. Terman, was an in-depth multi-decade study of gifted individuals, and an attempt to improve the measurement of genius and its association with the degradation of mental stability. This also included an enhanced version of the French IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test.

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The genius

Genius is too elusive and too subjective to be easily identified. It requires too many traits to be simplified.

However, we can try to understand it by looking at intellige...

Intelligence as a yardstick

Lewis Terman, who helped pioneer the IQ test, tracked over 1,500 Californian schoolkids with IQs above 140, which is the near-genius or genius mark.

40 after the study began, the researchers noted that a number of the study's participants struggled to thrive, despite their high IQ scores. Others tested for the study that did not have a high enough IQ, grew up to become renowned in their fields.

Creativity and genius

Creativity is a part of genius that can't really be measured, but that can be explained to a certain extent. One sign of creativity is being able to make connections between seemingly different concepts.

The 'aha moment' that arises at unexpected times, like in a dream or the shower, often emerges after a period of contemplation. Information comes in consciously, but the problem is managed subconsciously, resulting in a solution when the mind least expects it.

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The Flow State

Flow happens when we hit a rhythm and our work hums optimally; when we find "the zone" of productivity. It’s a state that’s easily disrupted by distractions but can be achieved and sustained...

Tactics To Get Into Flow
  • Separate some time to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Channel your inner monastic for a limited stretch of time. Afterwards, return to regular accessibility.
  • Remove the obstacles of “when” and “where” by setting a time and a place for deep work, and making it a habit.
  • When you need to do deep work on demand: fit it into your schedule whenever you can. Developing the ability to "switch on" your deep work muscles is less challenging than dedicating the free time to purposeful work.
Definition of Creativity
Definition of Creativity

Creativity is the process of generating new ideas, possibilities, or alternatives that result in outcomes that are original and of value. Characteristics:

  • It is not ...
"Naturally creative" people

Myth: "Some people are naturally creative and other people aren’t."

It’s true that some people spend more time on creative activities than others. But brain science is clear about the fact that there are creative brain states that can be turned on by some fairly simple actions. This means that everyone can learn how to be more creative.

Creativity and art

Myth: "Creativity means creating works of art."

Creativity is not just about being artistic. There are many ways to be creative, and creating works of art is just one way. Creativity includes many things, for example, cooking, programming, interface design, and problem solving.

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Creativity
Creativity

While some people are born creative, it is possible to acquire this skill. The right conditions and the right training can make everyone creative, in their own unique way.

As we move from t...

Traits Of Creative People
  • In various studies, it is found that creative people tend to be more driven, impulsive, and self-confident.

  • They are less conventional and unorthodox in many aspects of life.

  • Openness to new ideas, curiosity and disagreeableness comes as common traits of creative individuals, as they are opposite of normal or popular, and like Steve Jobs, are a prickly personality.

Steps Of The Cognitive Process

Creativity can be learned as a cognitive skill using the following steps:

  • Preparation: The basic rules, languages, and instructions in any skill.
  • Incubation: When ideas wander in your brain's neural network, lost in the wild.
  • Illumination: This is the Aha! Moment, the light bulb coming on.
  • Verification: Where it is verified that the idea is real or just a random dream without legs.

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Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

The fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to ge...

Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, which is our more relaxed, daydreamy mode when we’re not thinking so hard.

The mind solves its stickiest problems while daydreaming—something you may have experienced while driving or taking a shower.

Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. 

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Nightmares

Nightmares are broadly defined as frightening dreams that result in some degree of awakening from sleep. 

Nightmares themselves contribute to disrupted sleep not only by waking th...

Night terrors

Night terrors are very intense episodes of fright during dreams. These frightening episodes are often accompanied by screaming or yelling, as well as by physical movement such as leaping out of bed or flailing in panic. 

Research suggests that sleep terrors occur during non-REM sleep dreaming, while nightmares tend to happen during REM sleep. 

Recurring dreams
Recurring dreams are dreams that re-appear with some pattern of regularity. 

Studies suggest that recurring dreams may contain more threatening content than regular dreams. Research suggests links between recurring dreams and psychological distress in both adults and children.

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The Way We See The World

Each of us looks at things differently, and it's largely based on our thinking patterns, education levels, inherent bias, self-identity, and real, first-hand experiences.

Higher Mind Vs Primitive Mind

Human beings tend to have two kinds of conflicting mindsets:

  • The Higher Mind, the conscious truth-seeking mind, has made human beings an advanced civilization.
  • The Primitive Mind is our hardwired, thousands-of-years-old survivalist part, the one that's still stuck in the dark ages.
The Psych Spectrum

Our Higher Mind and the Primitive Mind always have a tug-of-war like conflict. The degree of the conflict can be placed in a spectrum, which is called a Psych Spectrum.

If the Higher mind is in control, we are placed higher in the Psych Spectrum and have the Primitive Mind under check. If we are placed at a lower degree in the Psych Spectrum, then the Primitive Mind is under control.

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An introvert

... is someone who enjoys solitude and focuses more on internal thoughts and feelings. 

Unlike extroverts, who gain energy from social interaction, introverts often expend energy ...

Be who you are

We really do well when we connect with others, even for brief periods. You don't need to change your nature in order to socialize more.

Instead of fighting your personality, work with it, and focus on the type and level of interactions you can do and enjoy.

Find social opportunities that work for you
  • Know your boundaries. Introverts are often not comfortable with uncertainty about when something will end. 
  • Control the setting. If going out is not easy, have people come to you.
  • Focus on activities, as a class at a local college or community center. Sometimes just being around people is enough.
  • Join a club based on your personal interests or hobbies.
  • Socialize from afar. Social media is another way for introverts to stay connected.