For years, the terms left-brained and right-brained have come to refer to personality types, with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more, while some use the left side more, researchers said. (Agencies)
Following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked the myth through identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralized functions.
Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized in one of the brain's left or right hemispheres, researchers said. Researchers analyzed resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29.
In each person, they studied functional lateralization of the brain measured for thousands of brain regions - finding no relationship that individuals preferentially use their left - brain network or right - brain network more often.
"It's absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don't tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection," said Jeff Anderson, lead author of the study.
The participants' scans were taken during a functional connectivity MRI analysis, meaning a participant lay in a scanner for 5 to 10 minutes while their resting brain activity was analyzed.
By viewing brain activity, scientists can correlate brain activity in one region of the brain compared to another. In the study, researchers broke up the brain into 7,000 regions and examined which regions of the brain were more lateralized.
They looked for connections, or all of the possible combinations of brain regions, and added the number of connections for each brain region that was left- lateralized or right-lateralized.
They discovered patterns in brain imaging for why a brain connection might be strongly left - or right-lateralized, researchers said.
For years, the terms left-brained and right-brained have come to refer to personality types, with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more, while some use the left side more, researchers said.