Brain Based: Why The Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die
Brain Based: Christian Jarrett – Psychology Today, July 5, 2012
The myth of the logical left hemisphere and the creative right hemisphere has become a powerful and useful metaphor for understanding the human brain. But while this notion is not entirely unfounded, it’s one that psychologist Christian Jarrett says we should challenge. Find out what the left-brain/right-brain model gets right — and how it misleads you about your own brain.
The left-brain right-brain myth will probably never die because it has become a powerful metaphor for different ways of thinking — logical, focused and analytic, versus broad-minded and creative. Take the example of Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks talking on BBC Radio 4 earlier this year. “What made Europe happen and made it so creative,” he explained, “is that Christianity was a right-brain religion … translated into a left-brain language [Greek]. So for many centuries you had this view that science and religion are essentially part of the same thing.”
As well as having metaphorical appeal, the seductive idea of the right brain and its untapped creative potential also has a long history of being targeted by self-help gurus peddling pseudo-psychology. Today the same idea is also picked up by the makers of self-improvement video games and apps. The latest version of the The Faces iMake-Right Brain Creativity app for the iPad, for example, boasts that it is “an extraordinary tool for developing right brain creative capabilities”.
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