Given what we know about localization of function in the human brain, is it scientifically legitimate to categorize people as left-brained or right-brained?
Hemispheric lateralization, as discovered by Roger W. Sperry (1965), ascribes to the specialization of one cerebral hemisphere or the other in controlling specific functions (Passer, Smith, Holt, Bremner, Sutherland & Vliek, 2009). In recent years, there appears to be a growing phenomenon in the generalization of hemispheric lateralization as concepts of being left-brained or right-brained (Hampson, 1994). Left-brained individuals are commonly stereotyped to be systematic and logical while their right-brained counterparts are believed to be artistically inclined. (King, 2008)
Certainly, the notion of localized function in the human brain can be substantiated by the knowledge of the Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Both areas are localized in the left hemisphere thus severe damage in the left cerebral hemisphere could cause a loss in ability of speech production and comprehension, known as Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasia (Boeree, 2004). In addition, Roger W. Sperry’s split-brain studies demonstrated the ability of the cerebral hemispheres to function independently despite absence of communication between them after severing the corpus callosum in epileptic patients (Horowitz, 1997). Unfortunately, misconceptions of these findings as led to the pervasive belief that each cerebral hemisphere functions in isolation, thus attributes such as creativity can be localized in a section of the human brain. (Jung, Segall, Bockholt, Flores, Smith, Chavez & Haier, 2009)
It is scientifically illegitimate to typecast individuals as left brained or right brained as research has demonstrated the complementary nature of both hemispheres in performing a multitude of functions, such as language processing, which is typically believed to be an activity dominated by the left hemisphere....
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Hampson E. (1994) Left Brain, Right Brain: Fact and Fiction Retrieved September 15, 2011, from: http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/newsletter/archives/left.pdf.
King L. A. (2008). The Cerebral Hemispheres and Split Brain Research. The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View 2nd Edition, 80-83.
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Horwowitz N. H. (1997). Roger Wolcott Sperry. Nobelprize.org. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1981/sperry-article.html.
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