Left Brain Hemisphere Also Plays Big Part In Creative Thinking, Study Shows

Everyone knows that the left-brained are the logical ones, and the right-brained are the creative types. But a new study shows that while creativity is largely a right-brained task, the left hemisphere of the brain plays a part, too.

Researchers from the University of Southern California published a study in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience showing that the left brain is a crucial supporter of the right brain for creative tasks.

"We need both hemispheres for creative processing," study researcher Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, an assistant professor at USC, said in a statement.

To find this, Aziz-Zadeh and her colleagues looked at brain scans of architecture students using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). (Architecture students are known to be visually creative.)

While undergoing the brain scans, the study participants looked at the shape of a circle, the shape of a C and the shape of an 8. Then, the study participants visualized what new images could be created if they rearranged the circle, C and 8 (considered a creative task).

They also visualized piecing the three shapes together to make a square or rectangle (even though this was considered a spatial processing task, it wasn't considered a creative task).

The researchers found that during the creative task, the study participants' brains lit up in the left hemisphere mores than the right, which shows that the left brain was working to support the right brain's creativity.

Another recent study provides another kind of insight into our left- or right-brainedness -- the side of the head we prefer to use our cell phones.

That research, presented at a meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, showed that left-brained people tend to listen to their cell phones with their right ears, while right-brained people tend to listen to their cell phones with their left ears. (You can read more about that here.)