Move your right arm in a circle. Now stomp your right foot. What side of your brain is controlling these muscles? You might think that the right side of your brain controls the right side of your body. This would make sense, but it’s actually the opposite. That’s right—when you move your right arm or stomp your right foot, the left side of your brain is at work.
The left and right sides of your brain are called hemispheres. They each have different jobs and responsibilities, which is known as lateralization. This basically means one side is the main controller of certain functions. However, the hemispheres ultimately have to work together to help us in our daily lives.
Let’s take a closer look at each hemisphere. We’ve already learned that the right hemisphere controls muscles on the left side of your body, but it has many other important functions. According to the University of Washington, the right brain is responsible for spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery, and music. This means the right hemisphere helps the body recognize and understand the space around it. It helps you interpret the world in 3-D. Face recognition means that the right brain helps you to identify your friend when you see them in school. The right side also involves many creative processes like art and music. When you paint a picture, listen to your favorite music, or play an instrument, the right side of your brain is hard at work. Overall, the right hemisphere is thought of as more artistic.
The left hemisphere also has an important job that goes beyond controlling the muscles on the right. The University of Washington describes the role of the left hemisphere to be language, math, and logic. It helps you form memories. The left hemisphere helps you read a great book or write a story. It’s also hard at work when you are talking with others or even learning a new language. Math can be a tricky subject, but luckily you have the left hemisphere to help you! When you are solving a puzzle or riddle, the left brain helps you use logic to solve problems. The left hemisphere has many important jobs related to logical thought. While it has different responsibilities from the right hemisphere, the two need to be a team and work together.
So, how do the two different hemispheres communicate? They are connected by the corpus callosum. It can be thought of as a bridge that connects one hemisphere to the other. The bridge helps the two sides communicate and share information. This is important in allowing the brain to work together as a whole. In your brain, the corpus callosum probably doesn’t look like the bridge you are imagining. According to ScienceDirect, it’s really a thick band made of millions of tiny nerve fibers. Nerve fibers are part of nerve cells. Thanks to the corpus callosum, the two hemispheres can work together as a team.
Move your left arm up and down. Now stomp your left foot. What side of your brain is at work? Hopefully you answered the right side! The next time you read a book, draw a picture, or do your math homework, think about what part of your brain is helping you. Remember, both sides are a team that works together to help you in every part of your day!
Author: Grace Brolly