EXERCISE 18.3 Bridging the Hemispheres of Thought
In 1956 a researcher named Roger Sperry conducted some experiments on a handful of patients with grand mal epileptic seizures. In the procedure he created, he cut the corpus callosum, the bridge of neural fibers that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Not only did the operation reduce the number and intensity of the grand mal seizures, but it also soon gave credence to a whole new concept of how the mind, through the brain, processes information. Roger Sperry’s research led to a Nobel Prize in medicine and to the household expressions right-brain thinking and left-brain thinking.
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Left-brain thinking skills are associated with judgment, analysis, mathematical and verbal acuity, linear thought progression, and time consciousness; right-brain functioning is associated with global thinking, holistic thinking, imagination, humor, emotionality, spatial orientation, receptivity, and intuition; Western culture grooms and rewards left-brain thinking. It is fair to say that judgmental thinking is one of our predominant traits. Although it is true that Western culture is left-brain dominant in thinking skills, the truth of the matter is that to be dominant in one style of thinking is actually considered lopsided and imbalanced.
- How would you describe your dominant thinking style? Would you say that your left brain or right brain dominates?
- If you were to make a guess or assumption as to why your thinking skills gravitate toward one direction or the other, what would be your explanation?
- One of the basic themes of wellness is balance—in this case, balance of the right-brain and left-brain functions. Based on your answer to the first question, what are your dominant thinking skills and your non-dominant thinking skills? What are some ways you can balance your patterns by bridging between the right and left hemispheres of your brain?