Neuroscientists and psychologists worldwide have put considerable effort into investigating the characteristics and functions of the left and right sides (the technical name is hemispheres) of the brain.
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Though the two sides of a human’s brain look alike, they process information very differently. Over the years, studies have consistently shown that there are many differences between the left brain and the right brain. However, although the two halves work in two contrasting styles, they are very much interconnected.
In this Custom Writing article, you will learn everything about the left and right brain hemispheres, including the differences in how they function.
🖼️ Left & Right Brain Functions: Infographic
📜 Right Brain & Left Brain Functions List
|👈 Left brain:||Right brain: 👉|
Based on hundreds of experiments, scientists have made a list of features that are typical for each of the two hemispheres. The list above features just some of the everyday skills that the brain shows a left or right hemisphere preference for.
However, in everyday life, we use both hemispheres equally. How do we know? Neuroscientists have been studying brain injuries for many years. We know that if the left hemisphere is damaged, it leads to speaking, understanding, and coordination problems. When the brain’s right hemisphere is damaged, the patient has difficulties with visual perception, impulsiveness, and slow learning.
👈 What Does the Left Side of the Brain Control?
There is still not enough evidence to determine the exact functions of this side of the brain. Because of this, hundreds of scientists are dedicated to finding answers.
This doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t know anything; the facts we know are still impressive! The left side of the brain is responsible for processing and accomplishing hundreds of operations.
First of all, we should mention the various language skills that the left brain is responsible for, like forming words, understanding phrases, and constructing sentences. Almost every action connected with language—both spoken and written—is a function of the brain’s left side. For example, writing is a typical left-brain trait for both left- and right-handed people. Did you know that the left brain controls the right side of the body? It’s true! Yet studies have shown that both left-handed and right-handed people use the left hemisphere when they write.
When discussing the left brain vs. right brain, it’s essential to talk about logic and analytical thinking. Analytical thinking is a mental process that starts when you investigate a problem by logically breaking it down into smaller issues or steps. By doing so, you begin to develop solutions not by intuition but instead by logic.
Typical left brain questions are:
|❔||How can I solve this problem?|
|❔||What evidence can I use?|
|❔||How should I break down this complex issue into manageable pieces?|
This also means you are relying on your left analytical brain when you make any calculation, even an easy one. Whether it’s addition, subtraction, or division, every math skill depends on the left brain’s work.
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Try to remember how old your best friend is. Did you remember correctly? Congratulations, you’re a great friend! But more importantly—you’ve just activated your left brain’s thinking process. When you retrieve facts, statistics, or other information from memory, it’s the left side of the working brain.
So let’s sum things up. The left hemisphere is the math side of the brain. It is responsible for calculations, logic, reasoning, puzzle-solving, spoken language, writing, and criticism. But what about the other side? Read on to find out who’s the winner in the right vs. left brain game!
👉 What Does the Right Side of the Brain Control?
Right-brain activities are diverse and just as significant for everyday living as those mentioned in the previous section. One of the essential right-brain functions is perception and visualization. People whose right side of the brain is damaged sometimes have trouble evaluating the distance between objects—some seem to be far away when they’re near and vice versa. That is how much our vision of reality relies on the right hemisphere. With its help, we can understand what we see—including every object, its traits, and the distance from it to any other item in the room.
Without the hard work of your brain’s right side, you couldn’t even tell your mom from your best friend. Why? Because face recognition capability also lies in the right hemisphere.
If you’re looking for creativity, the right brain will be there to help. Your right brain controls creativity and imagination, including any task that is deeply connected with visual perception. Whenever you create stories or imagine new characters to draw, the brain’s right side starts to work.
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You may be thinking—that’s all? Can the creative side of your brain do math or anything? Actually, it can! Though calculations aren’t a regular activity of this hemisphere, it does make great estimations and comparisons. But it’s up to you to improve these skills.
When it comes to language, the right and the left brain make an excellent pair. While most of our written language functions depend on the brain’s left side, the right hemisphere makes our spoken language informative and beautiful. Here’s why: the right hemisphere helps us recognize intonation, tone, and pitch. It also helps us understand metaphors and idioms. That’s why people with damage to the right side of the brain can have difficulty understanding figures of speech.
Let’s move on to another part of right-brain processing — intuition. Intuition is the ability to make decisions instinctively without reasoning or thinking. It may seem like a useless skill for a logical person, but think how often you have to use intuition in your daily life. Every time you need to make a rapid decision or get used to new circumstances, it’s intuition that helps. It’s the right hemisphere’s responsibility to make decisions and help you adapt to new circumstances. This way you’re not frozen to the spot whenever you’re in an unexpected situation.
So, what are the best words to describe the right brain? Artistic, creative, emotional, and holistic. Now everything is clear, right? Each hemisphere has its own set of important responsibilities.
🧠 Right-Brain vs. Left-Brain Dominance
You’ve probably heard about left-brained vs. right-brained people—this is a popular theory that allows you to determine your type of thinking. Have you ever asked, “What side of your brain do you use?” Well, there are lots of left brain vs. right brain tests out there that will tell you whether you’re a logical or artistic person. Just answer some simple questions like “Do you easily remember names?” or “Do you often make impulsive decisions?” and the quiz will tell you which side of your brain you rely on most. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Take the test with your friends and then argue about the left vs. right brain to uncover which one is the best.
What does it really mean to be left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant? According to popular tests, a right-brained person is an emotional and artistic individual who is excellent at playing music and visualizing things. On the other hand, a left-brain person is a logical thinker who makes precise calculations, always wins arguments with strong evidence, and has strong talents in criticism.
But is this just a myth or a stereotype? Can you really be left or right-brained? Brain dominance theory is absorbing and enjoyable, plus it allows people to think about stereotypes and labels. In reality, though, psychology is complicated, and the truth is that there are very few people who have the traits of only one of these descriptions. More often, we have an intricate combination of both.
Think about it—is there a typical “left brain” artist among your friends? Or have you ever met a musician with excellent analytical skills? There is no doubt that everyone has specific talents, but they don’t come from some fundamental aspect of our personality. It’s always up to you to decide whether to improve your analytical thinking or learn how to play the guitar. So don’t put yourself into a box!
🤸 Right-Brain & Left-Brain Exercises
Look at this picture and name the colors. Try to answer as quickly as possible!
We bet you found that difficult—and we can explain why. This mini-experiment shows how the left and right brain can sometimes come into conflict. Your right hemisphere tries to call out the color, while your left side of the brain focuses on the words’ meanings.
If you practice a little, this funny task will become much more manageable. Practice makes perfect for every skill! That’s why we have collected some useful exercises that will help you develop both your left and right brain. You will find them beneficial, so try some of them right now.
🔢 Left-Brain Hobbies
|🧩||Puzzles & crosswords. These are hobbies that your math brain side adores. It is a scientific fact that when we’re working on a solution, electrical and chemical impulses go from neuron to neuron in your left hemisphere. So, download a word search game on your smartphone or buy a crossword! Sudoku, puzzles, and math games will keep your left hemisphere fit.|
|✍️||Writing. Writing has always been considered a beneficial activity for speech, logic, and your brain. When you write, you activate many left-brain processes. Spelling itself is a typical function of the left brain hemisphere. Moreover, many types of writing include various logical tasks. For example, when you’re working on an essay, you have to develop a clear structure, prove your point of view, evaluate information, and choose evidence. Careful planning starts the left-brain thinking process. Next time you get an assignment, remember that academic writing can be a beneficial activity for your mind.|
|🎠||Changing your routine. Taking a logical approach to your routine is a great way to turn boring everyday tasks into a puzzle. Don’t use the same tools over and over again. For example, to create an engaging task for the left side of the brain, develop a new way to get home from work. Or think about how to change the way you accomplish a normal task.|
|🧮||Calculations. There are many situations in which you need to use numbers and make calculations—in a supermarket, at work, when cooking, and many more. Next time you need to add or multiply something, don’t use the calculator in your phone; instead, make all the calculations in your head. This will train your left hemisphere and improve your math skills.|
|🕊️||Twitter. Twitter is an exciting way to present information concisely; the point is to express each thought in no more than 140 characters. This is the perfect chance to train the left side of the brain every day—just spend less than five minutes on each tweet!|
🎵 Right-Brain Hobbies
|🕺||Dancing. The right side of the brain likes new exercises. Dances, fitness training, or yoga stimulate this hemisphere. Learning some new dance moves or yoga poses will activate the right side of your brain and make you healthier. Plus, they are a great stress reliever.|
|🧘||Listening to audiobooks and meditation programs. Visualization is excellent training for the right brain. For example, when you listen to audiobooks, you imagine characters, backgrounds, and scenes. Meditation also makes us visualize what we hear. Imagination is a significant part of our lives that can help with both left and right brain learning.|
|🎤||Music and singing. Music awareness is one of the right brain’s functions. To stimulate the auditory cortex, learn to sing or play a musical instrument. If you already play an instrument, try to find a new musical hobby, like developing electronic tracks or finding a new genre to listen to.|
|🎨||Painting and drawing. Have you ever wanted to create a picture? Or maybe you’ve thought of an exciting plot for a comic strip? Even when you doodle, the right brain is activated. Take a masterclass to express your ideas and boost your creativity.|
|🧵||Other creative hobbies. Don’t like to play music or paint? No problem! There are many creative hobbies, and everyone can find an inspiring and relaxing activity to exercise their creative side of the brain. Knitting, wood-carving, crocheting, sewing, and making pottery can help you develop your right brain. Plus, it’s a pleasant way to spend your evenings!|
Is there a name for someone who uses both sides of their brain very effectively and can communicate with everyone? I heard that this is a very rare ability and there is a name for it.
Maybe you mean the ability to use both the right and left hand equally well, then it is called ambidexterity🙂
Would you say that making a list of “to do” items is a left brain activity, and checking off the items when they have been completed is right brain because it triggers positive emotions?
Lana that is a totally Left -side of the brain question. Analytical.
Such a witty question! You are right, our right-hemisphere is responsible for emotions.
Which side of the brain controls running a marathon?
Both I believe.
This is a wonderful resource. Thank you!
Thank you for your kind words, Connie!
Nice update on an old concept. I’m writing on this subject myself, and I think you got some old stuff still in there.
It is unfortunate that I can neither click on the references at the end of the poster nor cut and paste them.
Thank you for the feedback!
While the article is informative about the different tasks performed by each side of the brain, and that both sides of the brain are necessary for human functioning, it goes astray by saying the brain dominance theory is wrong because everyone uses each side of their brain “equally.” Research and frankly common experience shows that is not the case, and people seem to show significant individual differences in the degree they say, analytical vs. say, artistic. No shame in either side, of course.
I got your thoughts, Dale. Indeed, brain functions is pretty individual.
Thank you for the kind words and feedback. I really appreciate you!
Jack, Nice graphics!
Writing is interesting to me, and usually when I begin the activity is more meditative, illogical and a form of a stream of consciousness play, which I suspect is more right-brained, but then, to edit and review it becomes more left-brained.
Extremely glad that you liked it. And thanks for taking a moment and writing such great feedback. Much appreciated, Holly! 🙂
The content of this article is reasonably accurate. However, all diagrams need verbal labels. Also, if the diagram is an abstraction of a three-dimensional form, then the view has to be indicated (and whether it is a generalization or derived from a section).
To be accurate, the terms ‘left’ and ‘right-brain’ should be, left and right hemispheres of the human brain. The role of the eyes as extensions of the brain should not be overlooked nor the spinal cord. However, the most important aspect for inclusion is the massive nerve bundle, the corpus callosum, which joins together and provides for exchange between the two hemispheres – this was omitted.
As it carries confusing connotations, the term “Art” is better replaced by visual output (that can be varied according to intention, means of transmission, age, degree of creativity …).
Research indicates that emotions are not lateralized simply to the right hemisphere, rather than the left hemisphere is associated with emotions of ‘approach’ (happiness and anger) and the right with ‘withdrawal’ (sadness).
Similarly, music is shared across hemispheres with notational aspects and the transmission skills of instruments (other than voice) processed by the left hemisphere but expressive aspects by the right.
There is no mention of ‘daydreaming’ as a valuable brain function – this can be tapped for creative ideas.
Overall, the article omits to state how knowledge of brain function can apply to education.
Thank you for stopping by and writing such profound feedback. I find your thoughts and remarks pretty interesting. I will definitely consider updating my material.
Thanks again and all the best!