What It Really Means If You Are Left-Brain Dominant

We've always been told we're either left-brained or right-brained. If we're logical and analytical, we're supposedly left-brained, and if we're creative and intuitive, we're supposedly right-brained. But can we really be more dominant on one side of the brain than the other?

Even though it only makes up 2% of a person's body weight, the brain uses an enormous 20% of the body's energy (via Medical News Today). Nerve fibers connect one side of the brain to the other, allowing for communication between hemispheres. While functions of the brain can cross over between the left and right hemispheres, there are key functions that characterize each side. Emotions are expressed through the right side of the brain, while language is processed in the left side of the brain.

After misinterpreting 1960s research that found the two sides of the brain were specialized for different functions, people claimed that humans were either left- or right-brain dominant, and that personality and preferences were decided by this dominance (via Healthline). People who are "left brain dominant" are said to be skilled in math and logical thinking, per Verywell Mind.

However, we now know that it's not quite as polarized as that.

Brain hemispheres work together

A 2013 study from the University of Utah disproved the theory of left- and right-brain dominance by looking at MRI scans from over 1000 brains from people between the ages of 7 and 29. They measured the activity of each hemisphere and found that there's actually not a dominant side at all, but rather both hemispheres work together in a more "whole brain" way.

According to Discover Magazine, "The pop psychology notion of a left brain and a right brain doesn't capture their intimate working relationship." It's the communication between the two hemispheres that create a healthy functioning brain. In fact, a person can get along fine with just one hemisphere of the brain, proving how plastic the brain can be. One half of the brain can rewire itself to make up for the missing half, eventually performing all of the functions of a whole brain, disproving the theory that humans must be more dominant on one side than the other.

While being left-brained or right-brained may sound accurate for your personality type, there's simply no evidence to back up the claim that one side is more dominant than the other.