Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whole Mind

From another book about the brain, “A Whole New Mind,” by Daniel H. Pink, I have culled the following: Roger W. Sperry (Cal Tech professor, Nobel Prize winner in medicine) reshaped our understanding of our brains. In the 1950s Sperry studied patients that had had surgery separating their brain hemispheres (as a treatment for epilepsy). He discovered that the established hemispheric dominance/subordinance theory of the brain was flawed. Yes, our brains are separated into two halves. But as he put it, “The so-called subordinate or minor hemisphere, which we had formerly supposed to be illiterate and mentally retarded and thought by some authorities to not be even conscious, was found to be in fact the superior cerebral member when it came to performing certain kinds of mental tasks.” In other words, the right wasn’t inferior to the left. It was just different. “There appear to be two modes of thinking,” Sperry wrote, “represented rather separately in the left and right hemispheres, respectively.”

The left hemisphere reasons sequentially, excels at analysis, and handles words. The right hemisphere reasons holistically, recognizes patterns, and interprets emotions and nonverbal expressions. Human beings are literally of two minds.
*We need both / ALL / parts of the brain to function at our best.*

Contrary to some 1980's beliefs about right brain - left brain functioning, high levels of creativity require an integration of right and left hemispheric functioning which, with repeated exercise, results in an increase of the micro neural pathways in the corpus callosum. If you think about that for a moment, then you can clearly see the benefits of an art centered approach to therapy.
I’m just sayin…

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