A widespread and stubborn myth: left-handed people, with a dominant right hemisphere of the brain, are more creative. Want proof? Just think of all the left-handed celebrities like Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Charlie Chaplin and Paul McCartney. But you and your child have the bad luck of being right-handed? No problem! Creativity isn’t exclusive to the right-brained. Read on for explanations and tips for developing your creative side!
By Marie-Josée Roy
It’s been a long-standing belief that the brain prioritizes one hemisphere over the other, making a person right- or left-brained depending on their disposition. But for optimal performance, both structures actually work in close collaboration. The human brain is a complex organ, and researchers are still working at understanding it better. While its two hemispheres might have their own specific roles, they don’t go it alone. Whether adult or child, both sides of your brain share and process the same information—it’s simply the way they spin it that’s different.
The role of the hemispheres
In the 60’s, American neuropsychologist Roger W. Sperry shone light on how the brain works, assigning imagination, intuition, interest in the arts, visualization and daydreaming to the right hemisphere. Ergo, creative people were those with a more active right brain. As the right hemisphere of the brain controls the motor functions of the left side of the body, people have long and falsely believed that left-handed children must certainly be more innately artistic.
However, the results of a study published in 2013 revealed that the brain uses both hemispheres equally. They operate very differently, but they complement each other marvelously. For example, language might be the left hemisphere’s wheelhouse, but the right hemisphere makes it easier to grasp the context in which the words are expressed. Researchers also demonstrated that human personality traits and interests couldn’t be ascribed to just one side of their head. When a child is being creative, both sides of their brain are stimulated and work closely together so they can successfully accomplish their task.
A healthy, creative mind!
According to a recent American study at Duke University, creative people have brains with the best side-to-side communication. So here are some ideas for stimulating your child’s creativity:
Motivate them to take up a hobby they’re interested in, like painting, paleontology or learning a new language.
Encourage your child to break out of their comfort zone and try a new activity.
Get them a journal for noting or drawing all the creative ideas and thoughts that come to them.
Stimulate their creativity by exposing them to different forms of art. Visit a museum, go to a concert, try a children’s theater program—the possibilities are endless!