More Evidence For Brain Lateralisation, WOOOP!

brain lateralisation

OK, so not the most sexy blog title in the world.  In fact, it was so dire, I added in the sound slang simply to try and curry favour with you, and to express my nerdish pleasure at the topic.

I’ve always believed that the fact our brains are split in two tells us something profound about our world.  There’s the rhythmic right and the logical left.    This is a standard starting-point for training in creativity or emotional intelligence.  But even those who use it nowadays – Daniel Pink for instance – are at pains to point out that it is only a metaphor.  The whole of the brain is involved in our reasoning and emoting; these functions are not divided up into neurological parts.

Then I came across the work of Iain McGilchrist, a former Oxford literary scholar, now a doctor, psychiatrist and writer.  His book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is a groud-breaking work that not only provides scientific evidence for the left-right split – technically called ‘brain lateralisation’ – but also draws out implications for weaknesses of Western society.  Perhaps his most thought-provoking insight is that each hemisphere produces a distinctive worldview!

Iain McGilchrist was recently on the BBC Radio 4 show Start the Week.  He will also be giving a keynote speech for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on the 17th Nov 2010; 13:00 (i.e. today).  Entitled The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, you can listen to it live here.

Exciting, isn’t it?!?  Yeah…

P.S. The title of McGilchrist’s book is taken from Nietzsche.  Isn’t everything these days?

Image credit: croush.

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3 comments

  1. sorry for the late reply!!
    Jon Kabat Zinn has researched and practised mindfulness meditation for years and is is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.No TED talk, but viewable on youtube.

  2. Thanks for your comment and interest Robert. These are guys I need to research more deeply. Who else would you recommend?

  3. His book really is groundbreaking; the great thing about Iain McGilchrist us that he knows his art as well as his science; Matthew Ricard is another. I discovered both of them via Dan Pink and Ken Robinson. These guys are showing us how we are and what we could be.

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