Left/right brain theory is bunk

Creativity isn’t a right-brain function. Logic isn’t a left-brain function. Left/right brain theory is bunk, writes cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham on The Answer Sheet.

In the usual mythology, the left hemisphere of the brain is logical, ordered, and analytic, and it supports reading, speech, math, and reasoning. The right hemisphere is more oriented towards feelings and emotions, spatial perception, and the arts, and is said to be more creative.

We have known for at least 30 years that this characterization is incorrect.

It takes a whole brain to read or listen to music or think sequentially or do just about anything. Educators who try to teach to one side of the brain or the other are wasting their time, Willingham writes.

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Comments

  1. I want to meet the person trying to teach out of one side of her brain and ask what she’s doing with the other side.

  2. As Willingham points out, however, “left brain” and “right brain” can be harmless and useful shorthands (just like the “rising sun”). I, myself, have been known to make use of this shorthand.

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