You may have heard in the past that people are either left-brain or right-brain dominant, meaning that one side of their brain shapes their personality and things that they do more than the other. Although more recent research has shown that that might not actually be the case, it's still fun to think about the things that people associate with being right-brained. There are some unexpected characteristics all right-brained people have in common, or, at least, that people tend to associate with right-brain dominance, about which you might want to know more.
If you've heard that left-brained people are all about the numbers, while right-brained people are more creative types, you might not be totally wrong, but your thinking might not be exactly right either. In a post that he wrote for Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Robert H. Smerling, M.D., said that the idea that people are or aren't numbers people might be true, it just might not have as much to do with what side of the brain is more dominant as people used to think. Essentially, there's a dearth of proof that shows that personality traits and one side of the brain or the other are conclusively linked.
Still, people are always looking to learn more about their personality, their brain, and why they might be the way that they are, so looking at the traits that people associate with being more right-brained is still interesting. While I can't tell you definitively that you have these traits because you're right-brained, these are some of the traits that have traditionally been associated with the right side of the brain in the past.
Emotional intelligence and empathy are sometimes cited as skills that right-brained people have in spades. VeryWell reported that people associate high emotional intelligence with right-brain dominant people. That means that you're able to pick up on nonverbal cues, read how another person is feeling, and express understanding and empathy without having had to have gone through the exact same thing yourself.
Are you a dreamer? That's a quality that a lot of people think goes along with being right-brained as well. Healthline reported that in the 1960s, psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry found that the right brain, which is a bit less organized with its thinking, is connected to imagination. Though that research is, of course, pretty dated, it's often cited when discussing the idea that you might either be left-brained or right-brained.
Because being right-brained is often associated with being less analytical and more subjective, things are thought to be less black and white in these people, as the previously-mentioned article from VeryWell noted. For you, things are more complicated than they may appear to others.
You might not be surprised to hear that those right-brained people with all of that emotional intelligence are also sometimes thought to be very intuitive. The aforementioned article from Healthline also noted that Sperry found a connection between the right brain and intuition, which also might help explain why some people now associate those two things.
Facial recognition is another skill that's been associated with being right-brained in the past, as noted in the aforementioned article from VeryWell. If you're good at remembering the faces of people you meet, even just briefly, some people think that that could mean that you're right-brain dominant.
Between expressions of creativity and emotion, right-brained people are often thought to be quite expressive. The previously-mentioned piece from Healthline noted that Sperry found that the right brain is more associated with creativity. However, this is partially where things get complicated. As Quartz reported, more recent research has found that both sides of your brain work together when it comes to creativity. It's not just one side of your brain that works when you're taking part in the creative process.
The aforementioned Healthline article also noted that Sperry's research connected the right brain and rhythm together, meaning that people who were more right-brain dominant might have better rhythm, which might be why rhythm and being right-brained are still associated together today.
Ultimately, take anything that definitively links sides of the brain with specific personality traits with a grain of salt. The brain is a super complicated part of the body and scientists are still learning more about it all the time.
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