Iain McGilchrist: The divided brain

Please note, the whole “left side right side” brain thing is WRONG and we’ve known it has been WRONG for a very long time. Very. Long. Time. The reality is complex and interesting, but it is probably not what you think.

The following video on this topic is pretty good:

Comments

  1. #1 GregH
    October 25, 2011

    Thanks Greg – that was fascinating. I’ve never been clear exactly why the Left/Right brain stuff we were taught in Psych 162 (1981) was WRONG, but this is a pretty great, if somewhat denser-than-the-norm RSA lecture.

  2. #2 https://me.yahoo.com/a/PxckwTE5h.aX2IKVBbVpSwG7pnzF1A--#8e772
    October 25, 2011

    It sounds like just another Dualist manifesto.

  3. #3 Matt Bright
    October 27, 2011

    It’s entirely the opposite. McGilchrist’s thesis is based on the absolutely materialist stance that neural structure determines how humans behave individually and collectively.

    It’s a really, really interesting book, and ironically mirrors its subject matter in that it’s divided into two very clear halves, the first of which is based on absolutely solid neuroscience while the second uses rather sketchy, circumstantial evidence to extrapolate that neuroscience into overly sweeping generalisations about Minority World culture.

  4. #4 Knightly Q. Blowguns
    November 7, 2011

    Interesting talk, but from personal experience I’m not sure how much I’m feeling it. I’m a market analyst, which means I need to focus on hard facts very intensely and then write about them cogently. Yet I had a very large portion of my left frontal lobe removed, and it doesn’t really seem to have impacted my work all that much. Then again it was a slow-growing cancer and my oncologist thinks my body may have healed around it over the years, so the part they removed wasn’t doing the heavy lifting anymore.

  5. #5 Jon Tomas
    November 9, 2011

    Actually, McGilchrist’s observations are spot on. The reason for the surge in ADHD diagnoses has nothing to do with actual prevalence of an actual disorder; instead, the epidemiology of attention deficit disorder mirrors the overwhelming predominance of “left brain thinking” in modern society. It has now gotten to the point that individuals who experience the world through predominantly “right brain” processes must be medicated to become “productive” members of society. Can’t see the forest for the trees mentality is destroying the human race, and you have only to look around you to find the evidence for the phenomenon in every aspect of modern life. Fascism, as McGilchrist alludes, is a wholly “left brain” institution.

  6. #6 Jesse M.
    November 10, 2011

    The reason for the surge in ADHD diagnoses has nothing to do with actual prevalence of an actual disorder; instead, the epidemiology of attention deficit disorder mirrors the overwhelming predominance of “left brain thinking” in modern society. It has now gotten to the point that individuals who experience the world through predominantly “right brain” processes must be medicated to become “productive” members of society.

    I’m not so sure McGilchrist would agree–there seems to be a fair amount of overlap between ADHD and high-functioning autism (both are sometimes considered disorders of “executive function”), and McGilchrist says that there is evidence that autism involves some kind of unusual pattern where mental processes normally more exclusive to one hemisphere or the other may instead be processed by both hemispheres, or by the “wrong” hemisphere. So, it may not be so simple as the idea that they “experience the world through predominantly right brain processes”.

  7. #7 Adam K
    November 13, 2011

    I’m preaty sure they will still teach that the same way in all pop-psychology seminars anyway.

  8. #8 Anne McGinnis Breen
    January 5, 2012

    I found this very interesting reading, I have had the lower wing of my left temporal lobe totally compressed by a large low grade brain tumor that had moved the centerline of my two hemispheres over an inch and a half before it was discovered and removed in 1986, I had to have it debulked again in 2000 but it still gradually stole vision in my left eye. SO I may be one of the few people still in my right mind. LOL I still struggle to stay on task and to avoid distractions in my environment. Or perhaps I really enjoy the small moments of pleasure observing the birds and the plant life in my own yard. Good music is good, brisk walking is good, and reading and writing are still enjoyable, my personal enjoyment of social relationships and crowd situations with others seem to have suffered and I have become something of a loner, and perhaps I was always a bit of a loner and an independent creative thinker who didn’t blindly follow the crowd. I feel like a hopeless rebel and I often resent powerful male domination in our culture and society from right wing church and state goverment authority figures. I wish ordinary women’s issues around the world were more fully realized and more equally represented in our state and national government by more female leaders. I know I’m rambling, if a bit labile, but I am frustrated that especially young womens right to modern reproductive health care and their desire for a safe place (without war or poverty) to raise and educate children and protect the disabled and elderly are being ignored and forgotten by current internnational leaders. I usually support the poor underdog, yet I can be very critical of others and my own expectations of others can be too high. I even know it is not all about me, LOL but I am very sensitive and aware of others peoples pain and suffering around the world, especially those less fortunate living in poverty, when I do not think everyone else and people like me are doing enough to save the world, lol Lol LOL We ought to be able to feed the world. if we could focus our funding on human health care and education services for others instead of bombs, missles, war machines and guns for soldiers. You get my point, thank you for reading this far, please visit my blog to read more