full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Elizabeth Waters: The left brain vs. right brain myth

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Behold the human brain, it's lmupy lpansdace visibly split into a left and right side. This structure has inspired one of the most pervasive ideas about the brain, that the left side controls logic and the right, creativity. And yet, this is a myth unsupported by scientific evidence. So how did this misleading idea come about, and what does it get wrong? It's true that the biarn has a right and a left side. This is most apparent with the ouetr leyar, or the cortex. Internal regions, like the stiuratm, hypothalamus, thalamus, and brain stem appear to be made from continuous tsusie, but in fact, they're also organized with left and right sides. The left and the right sides of the brain do control different body fnoinutcs, such as movement and sight. The brain's right side controls the motion of the left arm and leg and vice versa. The visual system is even more complex. Each eye has a left and right visual field. Both left visual fields are sent to the right side of the brain, and both right feldis are sent to the left side. So the brain uses both sides to make a complete image of the world. Scientists don't know for sure why we have that crossing over. One theory is it began soon after animals developed more complex nervous systems because it gave the survival advantage of quicker reflexes. If an animal sees a predator coinmg from its left side, it's best off escaping to the right. So we can say that vosiin and mevmeont control are two stesmys that rely on this left-right structure, but problems arise when we over-extend that idea to logic and creativity. This misconception began in the mid-1800s when two neurologists, Broca and Wernicke, examined patients who had pemrblos communicating due to ieujnirs. The researchers found damage to the patients' left temporal lobes, so they suggested that language is controlled by the left side of the brain. That captured the popular iaanmgition. Author Robert Louis Stevenson then introduced the idea of a logical left hemisphere competing with an emotional right hemisphere reteseerpnd by his characters Dr. jlykel and Mr. Hyde. But this idea didn't hold up when doorcts and scientists examined patients who were missing a hemisphere or had their two hemispheres separated. These ptteanis swohed a complete range of behaviors, both logical and creative. Later research showed that one side of the brain is more atcvie than the other for some functions. Language is more localized to the left and attention to the right. So one side of the brain may do more work, but this varies by system rather than by pesron. There isn't any edcineve to suggest that individuals have dmnonait sides of the brain, or to srpoupt the idea of a left-right split between logic and creativity. Some pploee may be particularly licgoal or creative, but that has nothing to do with the sides of their branis. And even the idea of logic and creativity being at odds with each other doesn't hold up well. Solving clpmeox math problems rqeeruis inspired creativity and many vibrant works of art have iictntrae logical frameworks. Almost every feat of catitreivy and liogc carries the mark of the whole brain functioning as one.

Open Cloze

Behold the human brain, it's _____ _________ visibly split into a left and right side. This structure has inspired one of the most pervasive ideas about the brain, that the left side controls logic and the right, creativity. And yet, this is a myth unsupported by scientific evidence. So how did this misleading idea come about, and what does it get wrong? It's true that the _____ has a right and a left side. This is most apparent with the _____ _____, or the cortex. Internal regions, like the ________, hypothalamus, thalamus, and brain stem appear to be made from continuous ______, but in fact, they're also organized with left and right sides. The left and the right sides of the brain do control different body _________, such as movement and sight. The brain's right side controls the motion of the left arm and leg and vice versa. The visual system is even more complex. Each eye has a left and right visual field. Both left visual fields are sent to the right side of the brain, and both right ______ are sent to the left side. So the brain uses both sides to make a complete image of the world. Scientists don't know for sure why we have that crossing over. One theory is it began soon after animals developed more complex nervous systems because it gave the survival advantage of quicker reflexes. If an animal sees a predator ______ from its left side, it's best off escaping to the right. So we can say that ______ and ________ control are two _______ that rely on this left-right structure, but problems arise when we over-extend that idea to logic and creativity. This misconception began in the mid-1800s when two neurologists, Broca and Wernicke, examined patients who had ________ communicating due to ________. The researchers found damage to the patients' left temporal lobes, so they suggested that language is controlled by the left side of the brain. That captured the popular ___________. Author Robert Louis Stevenson then introduced the idea of a logical left hemisphere competing with an emotional right hemisphere ___________ by his characters Dr. ______ and Mr. Hyde. But this idea didn't hold up when _______ and scientists examined patients who were missing a hemisphere or had their two hemispheres separated. These ________ ______ a complete range of behaviors, both logical and creative. Later research showed that one side of the brain is more ______ than the other for some functions. Language is more localized to the left and attention to the right. So one side of the brain may do more work, but this varies by system rather than by ______. There isn't any ________ to suggest that individuals have ________ sides of the brain, or to _______ the idea of a left-right split between logic and creativity. Some ______ may be particularly _______ or creative, but that has nothing to do with the sides of their ______. And even the idea of logic and creativity being at odds with each other doesn't hold up well. Solving _______ math problems ________ inspired creativity and many vibrant works of art have _________ logical frameworks. Almost every feat of __________ and _____ carries the mark of the whole brain functioning as one.

Solution

  1. requires
  2. jekyll
  3. dominant
  4. creativity
  5. vision
  6. patients
  7. outer
  8. represented
  9. coming
  10. intricate
  11. logical
  12. showed
  13. evidence
  14. logic
  15. brains
  16. striatum
  17. doctors
  18. active
  19. layer
  20. problems
  21. tissue
  22. injuries
  23. landscape
  24. systems
  25. fields
  26. lumpy
  27. functions
  28. movement
  29. imagination
  30. complex
  31. person
  32. brain
  33. people
  34. support

Original Text

Behold the human brain, it's lumpy landscape visibly split into a left and right side. This structure has inspired one of the most pervasive ideas about the brain, that the left side controls logic and the right, creativity. And yet, this is a myth unsupported by scientific evidence. So how did this misleading idea come about, and what does it get wrong? It's true that the brain has a right and a left side. This is most apparent with the outer layer, or the cortex. Internal regions, like the striatum, hypothalamus, thalamus, and brain stem appear to be made from continuous tissue, but in fact, they're also organized with left and right sides. The left and the right sides of the brain do control different body functions, such as movement and sight. The brain's right side controls the motion of the left arm and leg and vice versa. The visual system is even more complex. Each eye has a left and right visual field. Both left visual fields are sent to the right side of the brain, and both right fields are sent to the left side. So the brain uses both sides to make a complete image of the world. Scientists don't know for sure why we have that crossing over. One theory is it began soon after animals developed more complex nervous systems because it gave the survival advantage of quicker reflexes. If an animal sees a predator coming from its left side, it's best off escaping to the right. So we can say that vision and movement control are two systems that rely on this left-right structure, but problems arise when we over-extend that idea to logic and creativity. This misconception began in the mid-1800s when two neurologists, Broca and Wernicke, examined patients who had problems communicating due to injuries. The researchers found damage to the patients' left temporal lobes, so they suggested that language is controlled by the left side of the brain. That captured the popular imagination. Author Robert Louis Stevenson then introduced the idea of a logical left hemisphere competing with an emotional right hemisphere represented by his characters Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But this idea didn't hold up when doctors and scientists examined patients who were missing a hemisphere or had their two hemispheres separated. These patients showed a complete range of behaviors, both logical and creative. Later research showed that one side of the brain is more active than the other for some functions. Language is more localized to the left and attention to the right. So one side of the brain may do more work, but this varies by system rather than by person. There isn't any evidence to suggest that individuals have dominant sides of the brain, or to support the idea of a left-right split between logic and creativity. Some people may be particularly logical or creative, but that has nothing to do with the sides of their brains. And even the idea of logic and creativity being at odds with each other doesn't hold up well. Solving complex math problems requires inspired creativity and many vibrant works of art have intricate logical frameworks. Almost every feat of creativity and logic carries the mark of the whole brain functioning as one.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
left side 4
side controls 2
examined patients 2

Important Words

  1. active
  2. advantage
  3. animal
  4. animals
  5. apparent
  6. arise
  7. arm
  8. art
  9. attention
  10. author
  11. began
  12. behaviors
  13. behold
  14. body
  15. brain
  16. brains
  17. broca
  18. captured
  19. carries
  20. characters
  21. coming
  22. communicating
  23. competing
  24. complete
  25. complex
  26. continuous
  27. control
  28. controlled
  29. controls
  30. cortex
  31. creative
  32. creativity
  33. crossing
  34. damage
  35. developed
  36. doctors
  37. dominant
  38. dr
  39. due
  40. emotional
  41. escaping
  42. evidence
  43. examined
  44. eye
  45. fact
  46. feat
  47. field
  48. fields
  49. frameworks
  50. functioning
  51. functions
  52. gave
  53. hemisphere
  54. hemispheres
  55. hold
  56. human
  57. hyde
  58. hypothalamus
  59. idea
  60. ideas
  61. image
  62. imagination
  63. individuals
  64. injuries
  65. inspired
  66. internal
  67. intricate
  68. introduced
  69. jekyll
  70. landscape
  71. language
  72. layer
  73. left
  74. leg
  75. lobes
  76. localized
  77. logic
  78. logical
  79. louis
  80. lumpy
  81. mark
  82. math
  83. misconception
  84. misleading
  85. missing
  86. motion
  87. movement
  88. myth
  89. nervous
  90. neurologists
  91. odds
  92. organized
  93. outer
  94. patients
  95. people
  96. person
  97. pervasive
  98. popular
  99. predator
  100. problems
  101. quicker
  102. range
  103. reflexes
  104. regions
  105. rely
  106. represented
  107. requires
  108. research
  109. researchers
  110. robert
  111. scientific
  112. scientists
  113. sees
  114. separated
  115. showed
  116. side
  117. sides
  118. sight
  119. solving
  120. split
  121. stem
  122. stevenson
  123. striatum
  124. structure
  125. suggest
  126. suggested
  127. support
  128. survival
  129. system
  130. systems
  131. temporal
  132. thalamus
  133. theory
  134. tissue
  135. true
  136. unsupported
  137. varies
  138. versa
  139. vibrant
  140. vice
  141. visibly
  142. vision
  143. visual
  144. wernicke
  145. work
  146. works
  147. world
  148. wrong