Q:

What does the left side of your brain do?

A:

Quick Answer

The left side of your brain controls the muscles on the right side of your body, and it is responsible for language along with logical and mathematical thinking. Meanwhile, the right brain controls the muscles on the left side of your body, and it is associated with spatial reasoning and musical abilities.

Continue Reading
What does the left side of your brain do?
Credit: Tara Moore Stone Getty Images

Full Answer

Scientists call functions that are dominated by one hemisphere of the brain "lateralized." While the left hemisphere of the brain is specialized for functions like language and mathematical thinking, the right hemisphere also works on these functions to a lesser degree. Scientists primarily determine where brain functions are localized and lateralized through a method called "experimental ablation" in which parts of the brain are selectively damaged; when a function is hampered by damage to a specific area of the brain, it becomes evident that the function in question is performed by that area.

This practice is highly unethical in human subjects, so neuroscientists must rely on clinical studies of people who already have brain damage to determine the localization and lateralization of brain function. One famous case of this that helped elucidate the function of the left brain involved a patient studied by French neurologist Paul Broca. This patient was not physically mute, and he understood language. However, he could not speak or write. Upon autopsy after that patient's death, Broca found that a part of his left brain, now called Broca's area, was damaged. A similar process led to the understanding of a related area in the left brain called Wernicke's area. Patients who have suffered damage to Wernicke's area can speak, but they often speak in ways that do not make sense. They also have trouble understanding language. From clinical studies like these, scientists have determined that most parts of language are carried out by specific areas in the left brain. Similar findings have shown scientists that the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for mathematical and logical thinking as well as control of the right side of the body.

Learn more about Human Anatomy

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does the left side of the brain control?

    A:

    The left side of the brain is generally dominant for language and other logical tasks. This side of the brain is also used for math or various calculations, according to the University of Washington. The left side of the brain also controls muscles on the right side of the body. Sensory information from the body’s right side crosses over to the left side of the brain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the left parietal lobe?

    A:

    The left parietal lobe is the left side of one of the four lobes of the cerebrum, which is the largest portion of the brain. The parietal lobe is located directly underneath the skull at the back of the head. It processes sensory and visual input.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between the activities of the left brain and right brain?

    A:

    In general the right side of the brain controls visual and spatial information, while the left controls logic and language, says About.com. However, recent research suggests that both sides of the brain work together and that individuals do not err more strongly towards one side.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the functions of the left and right brain?

    A:

    The left brain controls the muscles on the right side of the body, and the right brain controls the muscles on the left side of the body. The right brain-left brain theory states those who identify as right-brain thinkers are expressive and creative, while left-brain thinkers excel in logic, analytical thinking and language, states About.com.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore