The article in which I chose to examine is called Right Brain, Left Brain:Fact and Fiction, written by Jerre Levy. In the past fifteen years or sothere has been a lot of talk of left brain and right brain people. Levy’sreason for righting this article was clearly to stop the misconceptions andshow the truth about how our brain hemispheres operate. Levy first explores the myth of the left brain and right brain theory. She states that generally people see the left hemisphere of the braincontrolling logic and language and the right, creativity and intuition. Inaddition people differ in their styles of thought, depending on which halfof the brain is dominant. She believes that most of what these notionsstate is farce. Next the article explores the history of this fascination of the left andright hemispheres of the brain. Apparently the study of this aspect of thebrain traces back to time of Hippocrates. Levy weaves in and out of thevarious theories and prominent people known for contributing to theconfusion. It wasn’t until 1962 when Roger W. Sperry began experimentingon certain aspects of the brain that contribute to the truth of the leftand right brain theory. Sperry studied people who had undergone surgicaldivision of the corpus callosum, the bridge between the two hemispheres. His studies showed that, “an object placed in the right hand (lefthemisphere) could be named readily, but one placed in the left hand(nonverbal right hemisphere) could be neither named nor described.
Next to branch off of Sperry’s studies was psychologist Doreen Kimura. Kimura developed behavioral methods which involved presenting visualstimuli rapidly to either the left or right visual fields. Anotherimportant method developed was “dichotic listening” which centered aroundthe use of sound to study the hemispheres. Through these tests and thecontinual study the theory that the left brain controlled ended. Instead anew theory was born known as the two-brain theory. This said that atdifferent times one of the two hemispheres would be operating. An exampleof this is that the right hemisphere is in control when an artist paintsbut the left hemisphere was in control when a novelist wrote a book.
This theory failed because of one physical studies showed that people withhemispheres surgically disconnected could operate in everyday life. Also,research demonstrated that each hemisphere had its own functionalexpertise, and that the two halves were complementary.
Next, the article states its worth. The author shows the up to dateagreed upon theory of the two hemispheres in five simple points. 1. The two hemispheres are so similar that when they are disconnected bysplit-brain surgery, each can function remarkably well, although quiteimperfectly2. Although they are remarkably similar they are alsodifferent. Thedifferences are seen in contrasting contributions. Each hemispherecontributes something to every action a person takes.
3. Logic is not confined to the left hemisphere. Although dominant in theleft logic is present in the right hemisphere.
4. There is no evidence that either creativity or intuition is anexclusive property of the right hemisphere. Same theory as #3.
5. Since the two hemispheres do not function independently, and since eachhemisphere contributes its special capacities to all cognitive activities,it is quite impossible to educate one hemisphere at a time in a normalbrain. Levy comes to the conclusion that people are not purely left or rightbrained. There is a continuum in which the hemispheres work together inharmony. Often the left or right hemisphere is more active in some peoplebut it is never the sole operator. She concludes, “We have a single brainthat generates a single mental self.” Compared to what we did in class related to the left and right hemispheresof the brain, both what we learned and the article taught were extremelysimilar. Our exercise showed that we are not left or right brained butmerely somewhere on the scale between left and right brain. Some of us wereextreme left, few extreme right and most in the middle leaning left a bit(this is where I fell). I could not agree more with what we did in class and the article I read. The author wrote a fabulous complete article. In my summary which probablywas a little lengthy, I feel I am not doing the author just. She had somuch wonderful background that there was no way to include it all. Sheintroduced the problem at hand and explored every aspect of the subjectshowing other’s views and previously excepted theories. After all was saidshe introduced her (generally accepted) theory in a simple well thought outfive point system that suited the novice as well as the expert.
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