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The right versus left brain question: where does creativity come from?

Posted by on February 23, 2014

This is day 25 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 24: “Parenting through the smell of dead sewage”


Most of us have heard about people being “left-brained” or “right-brained,” but I don’t think there’s much to that. I know the right side of the body is controlled by the left brain hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean that when you are using your right hand to write (and we use both to type) you can’t be creative. I’ve heard that left-handed people are supposedly more creative because the “creative” side of the brain is the right side. To me, that just says the while drawing an image the “creative” brain is too tied up to think of an imaginative image.


An article by Christopher Wanjek, published in September, 2013, claims that left versus right brain is a myth. And I tend to agree. For one, the optical illusion of the “spinning dancer” will not yield consistent results. Some days, if you are more tired or more alert, she will start different ways. If you watch and she starts off spinning clockwise, she will turn and spin counter-clockwise after your brain gets tired and “switches.”



More in-depth responses about this optical illusion are available in videos as well as online, but to me it confirms the myth of right and left-brained people. Especially because creativity comes in many forms, which are controlled by different parts of the brain. The ability to connect dots and transform ideas across mediums makes individuals most creative in my mind.


I tested out my own right/left brain dominance in two separate online tests. They both gave me about an even balance of using both sides of my brain. I am curious as to what other people think about the results or if there really is such a thing as a link between creativity and being left-handed.


My brain on online quizzes

My brain on online quizzes


The second test, from, involved different types of questions. Where the above text showed me my preference for visual designs and the power of reading the correct color as opposed to viewing it, the test below asked more about how I reason through situations.


My results were again pretty even:

Studies on patients with brain damage have allowed scientists to determine how each side of the brain controls different functions. The left hemisphere, for example, specializes in language skills and logic. The right hemisphere allows us to recognize shapes and faces and express and read. Most people are not likely to be strictly left-brain or right-brained – we use each side of our brain depending on the task we’re dealing with. However, some theorists and researchers believe that there may be one side of the brain that we draw on more, which can in turn make the personality traits characteristic of that side of the brain to be more dominant than others.How to read your results: If you score closer to the right side of the graph, your personality is more characteristically right-brain. If you score closer to the left side of the graph, your personality is more characteristically left-brain. If you score somewhere in the middle, you share characteristics of both sides of the brain.
Overall Result
Both your right and left hemisphere seem to have reached a level of perfect harmony – rather than trying to dominant each other, they work together to create a unique and well-balanced “you”. Your spontaneous, impulsive, and free-flowing right brain creates an exciting and adventurous world, while you left brain helps you make sense of it and keep track of everything.When faced with a problem or a tough decision, you’re not only able to break things down and make an informed and sensible choice, but you’re also not afraid to go with your gut when necessary. You tend to express your individuality both in words and actions, and although you’re perfectly comfortable running on a schedule or planning things ahead of time, there are occasions when you love to throw in a little spontaneity.Your balanced outlook and approach to life creates a desire in you to not only understand the world, but to also take it in your hands and mold it as you see fit. With both your right and left hemispheres working together to guide you, you are able to understand yourself and life in general from so many wonderful perspectives.


Maybe my brain is balanced because I’m a Libra (ha ha)!


I  retook the first test test a full 24 hours (almost exactly) later (I just finished it when I went to get the link for this post). I got “right-brained” by 62 percent! I know I changed my first opinion of which image most pleased me and I automatically chose a different hand to raise first. Last night, I used my right side for all the hand raising, leg-crossing tests. So, maybe my sense of rationality or logic is currently working harder because I am actively writing this post!


So, what do you think? Can creativity shift depending on what tasks we are actively doing and thinking about? I think this is the key to how we perform on these tests. Take them and let me know how you did!


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