Are you more Left Brain or Right Brain? You probably know. The theory of the lateralisation of the brain is widely spread and there is a chance that you take it into account in your recruitment techniques, that you base teaching or coaching methods on this theory or you may have even made certain decisions in your life based on the analysis of your left brained or right brained personality.
I myself was introduced to this theory in a work-environment and honestly, this theory seemed very plausible at the time. In short this Left Brain – Right Brain theory suggests that people can be divided into 2 categories, people with a dominantly active left hemisphere and people with a dominantly active right hemisphere.
It is generally assumed that when the majority of your brain activity takes place on the right side, you are a creative person, endowed with artistic gifts, someone who’s intuitive and sensitive and loves spontaneity. If the main activity in your brain takes place in the left hemisphere, you are someone with analytical talents, you are ambitious and organised.
The right hemisphere is associated with feminine qualities and warm and empathic people, the left hemisphere is associated with masculine qualities, with leadership.
We’ve felt for some time now that something isn’t quite right about this assessment and today we are certain that this theory will not be around for much longer. The world is evolving and our theories and ideas evolve as well to adapt to a new level of understanding. Enclosed at the end of the article you will find a link to the original article that refers to the scientific research that clearly shows that there is no evidence for this lateralisation of the brain. On the contrary, the researchers noticed at every activity their test-persons were submitted to, an activation of different zones in BOTH hemispheres of the brain: there was always a paired activation, one zone of each hemisphere in the brain.
Here’s why the left brain – right brain theory is not accurate:
The theory maintains the illusion of conflictual duality:
It makes us see the both hemispheres as opposite sides of our brain, like 2 entities that have different interests, almost like one seized power over the other. In reality, the two hemispheres collaborate and it is essential to show equal importance to both, to be able to develop a harmonious personality and life and deploy your full potential.
The theory is used to accentuate the difference between people and divide them into 2 categories. Instead of reuniting and seeing a person globally, we compartmentalise their inner life and we divide people by putting them into opposing categories.
The theory slows down personal development
This theory stimulates “specialisation” and doesn’t stimulate a diversity in skills. A theory becomes dangerous when it risks limiting people in their development and we already have enough systems categorising people and putting them into boxes. This happens from the moment we go to school: we can learn this, but not that, we should further develop these aptitudes, but certainly not those. This is exactly the contrary of what we should be doing, we should transmit as wide a scope of learning as possible to people, stimulate an open mind and motivate people to see things in different ways and try out different approaches.
If we take this categorisation too seriously, we risk being dissuaded from pursuing certain ambitions or dreams. We resign to the idea we are Left Brain or Right Brain and that there are certain ambitions that we’d better let go of and others that should be developed because they fall into the category of our natural competences. We let our free will be influenced and we get pushed into a certain direction and we might even orient our life in function of the analysis of our brain activity.
I do not agree that certain capacities are out of reach of certain people. However, it is no secret that there are certain activities that procure us more joy than others, activities that nourish us, and others that empty us and these are very different for each person.
There are certain activities that please us and that we love doing and others that we dread or we don’t like, but this doesn’t mean we’re not capable of executing them. It’s not the ease with which we execute our activities, but the joy we feel during the activity that will enrich our lives. We are born to live, feel and take pleasure in our lives, not to function like automated robots. There is no secret, what you love doing and what gives you joy will always have better results than what you do because of obligation.
There are as many different personalities and life journeys as there are people on this planet and every one of these people is unique and learns things in a different manner. We cannot expect a teaching method to be efficient for everyone and no competence is forever out of reach for a specific person. Every information and knowledge is accessible to everyone, but each person has a different point of entrance for each piece of information.
For example: During many years spirituality was outside of my reach. Spirituality, as it was explained to me with its long list of dogmas and rules, was a mental issue and tried to enter my consciousness through the brain.
As a result I shut the door to spirituality. Later on, I discovered the dynamics of balance between female and masculine energies through my relationship and spirituality slowly introduced itself into my life. For me, the entrance point of spirituality was my sacred chakra, and not my brain.
Next, because of my newfound spiritual consciousness I discovered sacred geometry and quantum physics and I who had always been appallingly bad at mathematics now developed a keen interest in them. Again, I discovered that my point of entrance for mathematics was my crown chakra and not my brain. It’s like this for each person: every information passes through a different entrance point. If you never had access to a certain field of knowledge, this may mean you just haven’t found your point of entrance yet.
It’s a bit like a puzzle or a game. Your life’s mission is to find your path by listening to what you love doing, by listening to what brings you happiness and what nourishes you. These are key elements that give us valuable indications on what our soul has come to experience and learn during this lifetime on earth. And it is impossible to find all the keys to all the different doors by closing off possibilities, it is by opening up your possibilities and by exploring different paths that you will be able to open all the doors of perception.
The theory gives too much importance to the brain
Finally, the brain is not the seat of personality or talent of a person. This also explains why, when we are contacted by a deceased person, this person maintains the same energy and personality as before his death, in spite of the absence of a physical brain. They even manifest more understanding, wisdom, a larger vision and more common sense, all qualities we associate with cerebral activity.
The brain is a worker, the computer or the coordination centre of the physical action of a person, but is not the decision maker. The brain creates neural pathways that correspond to the actions you repeat the most. It’s a bit like a work out, the more you exercise certain muscles, the more you repeat certain actions, the more you will develop these neural pathways and the stronger they grow. You need your brain to communicate the impulse that will coordinate the action of your body and to activate the practical application of a certain knowledge in your life. The capacity to tap into a certain field of information is located in your brain, but the knowledge in itself is not located in your brain.
For example: A pianist needs to study musical notes to be able to translate music into matter, he needs to exercise his fingers to be able to move them swiftly over the piano keys and he needs to rehearse regularly to create steady neural pathways that will easily coordinate the correct action that is needed to transform the note on the paper to the key on the piano.
The music in itself, however, does not originate in the brain, it comes from outside of the brain, it comes through listening to your soul. Like every artist, every author, inventor and every person that innovates will tell you, inspiration is a mysterious force that resides outside of the brain.
By learning something by heart and developing our cerebral capacities we become better at the execution of certain tasks and actions. But if we want to go further than the simple performance of certain tasks, we need to look beyond the brain. Talent and virtuosity are developed by expanding our vision, listening to our soul and following our joy.
The link to the original article on the Huffington Post: Left Brain – Right Brain Debunked