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Can You Really Be Left Brained or Right Brained?

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The brain, of course, is split into two hemispheres. But is there such a thing as being right-brained or left-brained?


Whether you’re a “right-sided” creative type or a “left-leaning” number junkie, one hemisphere doesn’t dominate the other to determine your personality. In fact, most neuroscientists never accepted the idea in the first place. Your brain is too smart for that. It’d be wasteful to have one side work harder and better than the other.

Still, the left-right theory has survived for years. It became popular when Nobel prize winner Roger W. Sperry started studying epilepsy. He discovered that snipping the corpus callosum—a band of fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres—could curb seizures. But it also caused some strange behavior, leading Sperry to believe that different halves of the brain controlled different activities. (Before this, scientists believed that the left side was all that mattered, and the right side of the brain was merely "a sleeping partner.")

Sperry warned us not to treat his findings as dogma. He said the theory was “an idea in general with which it is very easy to run wild.” But run wild it did. Media outlets went nuts over Sperry’s story, perpetuating a myth that both halves of your brain work in isolation.


Here’s the truth: No matter what your personality type may be, you use both parts of your brain almost all the time. Researchers at the University of Utah found that brain activity in both hemispheres is basically the same. One side of your brain does not compete with the other. If anything, it complements it.

Of course, brain mapping studies show that different regions of the noggin do control different activities. But one side is rarely stronger than the other—and one side rarely owns a monopoly on certain skills. Math skills, for example, are a hallmark “left brained” talent. Both sides, though, have a hand in making you a math whiz (the left side helps you count while the right side helps you estimate numbers). Meanwhile, in the language department, the left side helps you understand syntax while the right side helps you understand nuanced cues, like speech inflections. The hemispheres work together for efficiency.

According to the American Physiological Association, there's evidence that more creative people tend to have less lateralized brains—meaning that the two hemispheres share more of the processing. But even then, the left brain/right brain issue isn't simple: Some people have their brains reversed or are missing half of their brain and still do OK.

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Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
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From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.


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