WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how ‘left brain vs right brain’ is making us stupider

Science popularizer and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is sick of hearing about people being “left-brained” or “right-brained.” He said such categorizations are a convenient way for people to avoid thinking.

“I’m disappointed with some aspects of civilization,” Tyson said in a recent interview with FastCompany. “One is our unending urge to bypass subtlety of character, thought, and expression and just categorize people — you’re this or you’re that. Do you realize what that does? It minimize how much thought you have to put into it. It’s intellectually lazy… If you want to understand who and what a person is, have a conversation with him.”

The one label he is willing to accept? Scientist.

“I’m a scientist. It says a lot about how my brains is wired, how I think, my curiosity, my wonder… I’m ‘brained.’ Not right brained or left brained. I have a brain.

“When I want to judge what it is I can accomplish, I look to, ‘What have human beings accomplished?’ That’s what I use as my reference for what I’m capable of as a human being. Don’t call me left brain, right brain. Call me human.”





1 Comment

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    Uh, so he didn’t stomp the ‘notion’ of the left brain / right brain dichotomy, or even discuss a single point about it. He simply expressed distaste for the idea of people applying either label to him. It’s obvious Tyson’s primarily left-brained (that’s why he’s a brilliant scientist rather than a brilliant artist), and it’s equally obvious watching this that he hasn’t spent much or perhaps any time learning about the dichotomy.

    It’s true there’s an enormous degree of complexity even in this arena, and Tyson’s one of the better examples of a scientist with an unusually large amount of right-brain influence. But those facts aren’t going to make the brain’s two hemisphere’s stop existing separately.