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Your Brain Essay Research Paper Your Brain

Your Brain Essay, Research Paper Your Brain Your brain has two sides. And each has a distinctly different way of looking at the world. Do you realize that in order for you to read this article, the two sides

Your Brain Essay, Research Paper

Your Brain

Your brain has two sides. And each has a distinctly different way of

looking at the world.

Do you realize that in order for you to read this article, the two sides

of your brain must do completely different things? The more we integrate those

two sides, the more integrated we become as people. Integration not only

increases our ability to solve problems more creatively, but to control physical

maladies such as epilepsy and migranes, replace certain damaged brain functions

and even learn to “thin” into the future. Even more startling is evidence

coming to light that we have become a left-brain culture.

Your brain’s right and left side have distinctly different ways of

looking at the world. Your two hemispheres are as different from each other as,

oh, Micheal Wilson and Shirley Maclean. The left brain controls the right side

of the body (this is reversed in about half of the 15 percent of the population

that is left-handed) and, in essence, is logical analytical, judgemental and

verbal. It’s interested in the bottom line, in being efficent. The right brain

controls the left side of the body and leans more to the creative, the intuitive.

It is concerned more with the visual and emotional side of life.

Most people, if they thought about it, would identify more with their

left brain. In fact, many of us think we are our left brains. All of that non-

stop verbalization that goes on in our heads is the dominant left brain talking

to itself. Our culture- particularly our school system with its emphasis on the

three Rs (decidedly left-brain territory) – effectively represses the intuitive

and artistic right brain. If you don’t believe it, see how far you get at the

office with the right brain activity of daydreaming.

As you read, your left-side is sensibly making connections and analysing

the meaning of the words, the syntax and other complex relation-ships while

putting it into a “language” you can understand. Meanwhile, the right side is

providing emotional and even humerous cues, decoding visual information and

maintaining an integrated story structure.

While all of this is going on, the two sides are constantly

communicating with each other across a connecting fibre tract called the corpus

callosum. There is a certain amount of overlap but essentially the two

hemispheres of the brain are like two different personalities that working alone

would be somewhat lacking and overspecialized, but when functioning together

bring different strengths and areas of expertise to make an integrated whole.

“The primitive cave person probably lived solely in the right brain,”

says Eli Bay, president of Relaxation Response Inc., a Toronto organization that

teaches people how to relax. “As we gained more control over our environment we

became more left-brain oriented until it became dominant.” To prove this, Bay

suggests: “Try going to your boss and saying “I’ve got a great hunch.” Chances

are your boss will say, “Fine, get me the logic to back it up.”

The most creative decision making and problem solving come about when

both sides bring their various skills to the table: the left brain analysing

issues, problems and barriers; the right brain generating fresh approaches; and

the left brain translating the into plans of action.

“In a time of vast change like the present, the intuitive side of the

brain operates so fast it can see what’s coming,” says Dr. Howard Eisenberg, a

medical doctor with a degree in psychology who has studied hemispheric

relationships. “The left brain is too slow, but the right can see around

corners.”

Dr. Eisenberg thinks that the preoccupation with the plodding left brain

is one reason for the analysis paralysis he sees affecting world leaders. “Good

leaders don’t lead by reading polls,” he says. “They have vision and operate to

a certain extent by feel.”

There are ways of correcting out cultural overbalance. Playing video

games, for example, automatically flips you over to the right brain Bay says.

“Any artistic endavour, like music or sculpture, will also do it.”

In her best-selling book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (J.P.

Tarcher Inc., 1979), Dr. Betty Edwards developed a series of exercises designed

to help people tap into the right brain, to actually see or process visual

information, differently. She cites techniques that are as old as time, and

modern high-tech versions such as biofeedback.

An increasing number of medical professionals beieve that being in touch

with our brain, especially the right half, can help control medical problems.

For examplem Dr. Eisenberg uses what he calls “imaginal thinking” to control

everything from migranes to asthma, to high blood pressure. “We have found,” he

says, “that by teaching someone to raise to raise their temperature – by imaging

they are sunbathing or in a warm bath – they can control their circulatory

system and terefore the migrane.”

Knowledge of our two-sided brain began in the mid-1800’s when French

neurologist Paul Broca discovered that injuries to the left side of the brain

resulted in the loss of speech. Damage to the right side, however did not.

Doctors speculated over what this meant. Was the brain schizophrenically

divided and non-communicative?

In the early 1960s, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Roger Sperry proved that

patients who had their corpus callosum severed to try and control epileptic

seizures could no longer communicate between their hemispheres. The struggle

can be seen quite clearly in the postoperative period whe the patient is asked

to do a simple block design. This is a visual, spacial task that the left-hand

(controlled by the right brain in most of us) can do very well but the right

hand (controlled by the language-oriented left brain) does poorly. The right

hand may even intervene to mix up the design.

Some people with epilepsy can control their seizures by concentrating

activity on the hemisphere that is not affected. In the case of left lobe

epilepsy, this can be done by engaging in a right-brain activity such as drawing.

One intriguing question is why we have two hemispheres at all? “In

biology you always have the same thing on one side as the other – ears, lungs,

eyes, kidneys, etc.” explains Dr. Patricia De Feudis, director of psychology at

Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ont. “But with the brain there is more

specialization. You can have something going on one side and not not be aware

of it in the other.”

Our knowledge of the brain is general is only beginning. We know even

less about how the hemispheres operate, Getting in touch with how the two sides

work can only do us good, if just to keep us from walking around “half-brained”.

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