Left brain vs right brain or can any brain be creative?

For many years the world has believed in a right-brained people and left-brained people. Simply said, right-brained people are more creative, while left-brained people are more scientific and the two are hard to mix. In artist circles this believe is very popular, since it’s also widely believed by them that most people are left-brained, making right-brained artist more special. If you’re left-brained it will be hard to be creative, if you’re right-brained then you’re in luck, it’s easy to be creative. Whichever side of your brain is dominant, that determines your fate….. does it?

Luckily, with a lot of hard work and specialized training, you can become a bit creative if your left brainside is the dominant one and you can learn to draw and activate that right side of the brain. A book that supposedly can help you, according to many artists, is Betty Edwards, ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’. Now hold on, don’t run out to get this book, but continue reading! This book ‘scientifically’ shows how to become more right-brained. Now everyone who has read this book and is honest about it, will quickly note that there’s nothing scientific about this book at all, but it’s in fact rather hocus-pocus.

But hang on Benjamin, how can it be hocus-pocus if it’s scientifically proven that humans have a left side and right side in their brains??? Ah…. but that’s where we go wrong, that was actually never scientifically proven at all. It was just assumed, but never proven. For decades many people, including scientists, doctors, psychologists and so on just assumed that this was true. Nothing could be further away from the truth though.

Really? Yes, and we’ll start with a great article about an astronout (aka left-brained scientist) who does art in space. You can read it here if you want, Art in Space.
The article starts with that whole left-brain right-brain theory being debunked now, based on the fact that the astronaut in the article is without a doubt very left brain orientated, yet doesn’t have any issue being very creative as well. Fun article.
Going into the subject a bit more is this article, Left Brain-Right Brain Study Debunks a Decades-Old Neuromyth.
The left-brain vs right-brain theory was already thoroughly disproven years ago by neurologists, but the public seems to be slow to catch up. This article from 2014 (quite scientific) deals with it and it especially mentions the famous book ‘drawing on right side of the brain’, which is very popular amongst certain artist circles and even part of a number (perhaps many) art schools and art colleges. I’ll save you reading the whole article, but quote the part that’s important:
One popular example is Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, first published in 1979 but now in its fourth edition, which epitomizes the popular view that the right hemisphere is responsible for creativity. Brain imaging shows, though, that creative thought activates a widespread network, favoring neither hemisphere. A more recent example is Iain McGilchrist’s 2009 book The Master and His Emissary, which draws on cerebral asymmetry in a sweeping account of the forces that shaped Western culture, and provocatively declares the right hemisphere to be the dominant one (“the master”) [9]. Although widely acclaimed, this book goes far beyond the neurological facts. Polarities of left and right brain are broadly invoked in art, business, education, literary theory, and culture, but owe more to the power of myth than to the scientific evidence.
The article refers then to studies done in 2012 where they measured the brain activity of creative persons with mri and it showed that the creative process is all over the brain. As with so many things, for decades we’ve been told a myth….. there is no left-brain or right-brain at all. Kids…. don’t just believe everything school teaches you without doing a little thinking yourself.
This is another more fun article about it, going into it more broadly. Left brain vs right-brain is very popular, but a total myth and we all can be creative, no matter how our brain is wired.
If you want to see an even more complete scientific study on this matter, read this. It also has the mri images. Once again I’ll save you time with the conclusion…….
Despite the need for further study of the relationship between behavior and lateralized connectivity, we demonstrate that left- and right-lateralized networks are homogeneously stronger among a constellation of hubs in the left and right hemispheres, but that such connections do not result in a subject-specific global brain lateralization difference that favors one network over the other (i.e. left-brained or right-brained). Rather, lateralized brain networks appear to show local correlation across subjects with only weak changes from childhood into early adulthood and very small if any differences with gender.
Conclusion….. however your brain is wired, whichever phase in life you’re at and whatever gender you have….. you can be creative! Don’t let this whole left-brain vs right-brain theory fool you….. you can be creative! It’s an outdated myth that only certain people are creative and can be artists, no, everyone can. Don’t waste your money on myth based books. A better idea is to invest in a course here that will really get that creativity flowing in everyone. Why not take a moment to check out my courses at Art by Benjamin.
Adding unto this is my own experiece. I’m trained as a mechanical engineer and worked on technical drawings based on math for many years. I’m still very mathematical (left-brain) in my day to do life, yet I do doubt any of you would say I’m not creative (right-brain). I actually do find that my training as a mechanical engineer is very helpful in doing art. For example the science of how to draw lines, circles, ellipses and even more complex figures is ingrained into my brains, which is very helpful. It’s liberating to know the truth and know that we don’t have a left-brain or right-brain, but can make use of our whole brain. Whether we’re scientists, engineers, illustrators, carpenters, accountants, young, old, male, female or whatever….. we all can tap into that creative part of our brain!