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Mental Health Center

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Study Challenges Theory About Brain Behavior

MRI scans don't indicate that one hemisphere dominates or affects personality

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Brain scans show no evidence that people are predominately right- or left-brained, researchers report.

The new findings challenge the widely held belief that people use one side of their brain more than the other, and that this influences their personality traits. For example, left-brained people are said to be logical and detail-oriented, while right-brained people are creative and thoughtful.

For the study, University of Utah neuroscientists analyzed brain scans from more than 1,000 people, aged 7 to 29. The researchers examined thousands of brain regions for indications that people are more likely to use either the right or left side of the brain, but found no signs that this was the case.

The study was published in the Aug. 14 online edition of the journal PLoS One.

"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," lead author Dr. Jeff Anderson said in a University of Utah Health Sciences news release.

These are groundbreaking findings that may change the way people think about the right-brain versus left-brain theory, said study co-author Jared Nielsen, a graduate student in neuroscience.

"Everyone should understand the personality types associated with the terminology 'left-brained' and 'right-brained' and how they relate to him or her personally; however, we just don't see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people," Nielsen said in the news release.

"It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger or more connected," he said.

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