When I was on 7th grade, our math teacher asked every one of us to draw a duck. In the class of 34 students, a large portion of the students drew a left-facing duck.

doodle of the duck

The teacher said that it’s a simple test to figure out if a person is either right or left-brain dominant. So the people who drew a duck facing to left is a right-brainer, and vice versa. Apparently this Duck-test was quite popular in middle school.

Some even say, people who often draw a duck who faces left side is a left brain (instead of right). Although some says it's just muscle memory/ tendency.

My question is- is this mini test legit? Can you get a glimpse of someone's brain dominance by drawing a duck?


What is the dominant hemisphere in the first place? I found the following definition (source: Medical Dictionary):

[The] dominant hemisphere [is] [t]he left half of the brain in almost all right-handed people and 85% of left-handed people. This is the hemisphere concerned with language and logical thought and containing the motor areas for voluntary use of the right side of the body. In 15% of left-handed people, the right hemisphere is dominant and subserves speech.

Now, your ducks facing left or right hardly seem to reflect either language, logic, motor lateralization or handedness. Instead, often questionnaires or inventories are used, for example to tease out whether a person is logical, rational and verbal (left-sided); or emotional, manipulative/spatial and creative (right-sided). However, the meaning, relevance, and possible use of hemispheric dominance is debated.

Note that brain lateralization is certainly true for a number of functions, including speech and motor control, but the more dramatic examples of brain lateralization should be interpreted with caution, and I quote from Corballis (1980):

Since ancient times, right and left have been associated with different fundamental classifications, including male and female, good and evil, day and night, straight and crooked. [...] Interpretations of cerebral asymmetry that emphasize a fundamental duality in cognitive processing between the two sides of the brain, or that locate consciousness in the left side only, are probably modern manifestations of the age-old mythology of left and right.

- Corballis, American Psychologist (1980); 35(3): 284-95


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