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Unread April 29th, 2008, 12:08 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia area
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Smile Re: Roles of the Left and Right

Dr. Goldberg,

I've ordered the Wisdom Paradox and should have the book by May 8th and, with it, more questions. Meanwhile, the L/R distinction is something of a Cheshire cat as I go down the road and have to reach for a pad to capture a thought for later.

Here is the key piece from rebellion:

"2nd Quarter: Pattern-Makers—Brains Are Made to Read
"A child collects not random objects but similar ones and makes them into one arrangement. An old man with glasses scribbles on a stack of Post-Its at 3 am and later turns them into one arrangement. With a different side of the brain, mothers, teachers, and scientists regularly tell familiar stories and a copyeditor scans manuscripts for proper use of the em dash.

"'To produce something both novel and meaningful one must have a period of preparation. This involves acquiring a large fund of information. Next comes a period of incubation during which time the information is rearranged, typically while one is unaware of the process. Then follows illumination. Almost everyone is familiar with the cartoonist's use of a lightbulb to symbolize the instant illumination of an idea. There is then necessary a phase of deliberate reorganization and refinement, readily describable by the creator, to test and refine the final product.' Joseph Bogen (2000, 30)

"My latest preoccupation had been Arthur Wigan's conviction that two personalities live inside one head, one in the left cortex and a different one in the right. Wigan (1944) anticipated by more than a century very similar thoughts from Joseph Bogen, Peter Vogel, Roger Sperry, and Michael Gazzaniga—four near-geniuses and not one of them mad!1

"Their gist was: 1) your two minds often get along with but sometimes contradict each other, 2) your right is not heard but inferred when you manage math, geometry, music, and the visual arts, 3) your left arranges language for you and generates new combinations of words. Your left also explains to you, and helps you explain to others, what you already accomplished. It doesn't lead your conduct but follows along behind by 300 milliseconds. Similarity and influence achieve adaptive outcomes but injure either partner and the remaining one becomes noticeably erratic even in its specialties. (Kandel, Schwartz, and Jessell, 1991; Gazzaniga 1998)

"Of course, grand, simplifying theories light me up and the dual personality metaphor tugged at my leash until recently when a different animal took over. That is, if you can be said to have dual minds, they handle different phases of your experience. Elkhonon Goldberg and his associates described your right half as an architect that assembles regularity from novelty, your left is an engineer that applies solutions that were derived last week. (Goldberg, 2001) Goldberg's ideas also line up with what you already know of Kaufmann's on chaos and order and with important concepts you will soon meet from 1) Rudolf Raff (1996) about the pivotal role of exploratory systems in evolution and, 2) those of David Haig and Robert Trivers about genomic imprinting! According to Goldberg:

'The two hemispheres are functionally different in ways not adequately captured by the classic distinction between linguistic and nonlinguistic processes. The right hemisphere is critical for processing novel cognitive situations. The left hemisphere is key to the processes mediated by well-routinized representations and strategies. The left frontal systems appear to be critical for the cognitive selection driven by the content of working memory and for context-dependent behavior, the right frontal systems for cognitive selection driven by the external environment and for context- independent behavior. The crucial role of the right hemisphere in processing cognitively novel situations underscores the importance of the right frontal systems in task orientation and in the assembly of novel cognitive strategies.' (Goldberg, Podell, and Lovell, 1994, 371)

"This analysis 1) incorporates past data from auditory, visual, and verbal tests, from the results of head injury, and from brain scans, 2) accounts for orphan data that did not fit into the language-non language descriptions of the cerebral cortex, and 3) predicts new findings. (Goldberg, 2001; Goldberg and Costa, 1981) For example, Goldberg (2001) points out that infants are more impaired by damage to their right cortex, adults to their left. (Infants need to develop routines, adults need to apply routines they already have.) Another example: not only familiar language but also familiar music and familiar faces are managed by your left. New tunes, new faces, and new language fall to your right. The popularity of a linguistic-non linguistic dichotomy and our emphasis on the left side may have been a miscue from sexual selection: that is, language is something of a crab's claw, a conspicuous adaptation, noticed by nearly everyone, but the claw is not the whole reason there is a crab.

"There is more: the human cerebral cortex exhibits "Yakovlevian torque." That is, in primates, humans, and fossilized human ancestors, the frontal right pole is larger than the left and the left occipital pole is larger than the right! (Yakovlev and Rakic, 1966; Lemay, 1976; Goldberg, 2001; Bruner, 2003) If morphology and its timing reflect environmental demands, then the right keeps you in step with changing environments and may lead to your changing those environments. These effects are more pronounced in adults than infants (infants usually have a larger left cortex), more in right- than in left-handers, and more in males than in females (Goldberg, 2001; Toga & Thompson, 2003), and their absence has been implicated as a developmental factor in schizophrenia. (Petty, 1999; Hornea et al, 2005; Mitchell & Crow, 2005)

"Along these lines, dopamine, a "get started, get finished, and enjoy" substance that is of considerable focus in scientists's attempts to understand distractibility and impulsive behavior, occurs in greater amounts on your left side; norepinephrine, a stress hormone also made in the adrenal glands, is found more in your right cerebral hemisphere than in your left. If your left is injured, you become despondent and sometimes suicidal. Injure your right and the left chatters as if it were C3PO…a likeable but annoying market analyst, disconnected from reality but, nonetheless, with quick explanations for everything.

"The term "pattern-maker" popped to my consciousness about 3 am on a Sunday and the idea took control of me later that rainy afternoon, helped along by a cup of latté and my walk through a busy mall. Nature explores with a gambit of duplicate, copy, vary, and select (Raff, 1996) The brain's two halves do one thing but for different classes of events: your right appears to manage novelty and your left keeps house for what you already know.

"The left is not only a pattern-maker but also a "patter-maker." It matches data with stories but has problems with either new data or abandoning an old story. The left manages sync between what you say, find, and already believe. The left will also lie and become indignant when contradicted. (The right probably lies just as much when it invents arrangements that can be neither repeated nor extended. For reasons related to your left and right, beware of what you read and what you think you want to find!)

"My wonderful right half often surrenders its insights at 2 am and I have no clear sense of what my pen will write. Far-fetched? Yes. Unique or mad? No! Such are the moments of "illumination" mentioned by Bogen and they occur when painters, sculptors, and composers talk about their work but only after it is finished: their verbal apparatus is idled or given other things to do while their fingers, following a different master, push clay or move paint.

"Pattern-making, fortunately for human accomplishment, is consistent with Geoffrey Miller's concept of an evolved adaptation: easy to learn, fun to do, seen in every normal human, and most evident when men and women advertise for friends and mates. Pattern-making creates from whatever is at hand, whether a collection of symbols or a deck of cards. Poker, canasta, backgammon, and Monopoly all require that you make orderly arrangements from the random ones of cards or rolls of dice.

"Musicians make patterns, so do painters, novelists, mathematicians, and code-writers for computers. So do small children when they draw on cement walks; adolescents when they paint railroad cars, trucks, and walls; and so do old men who tell stories about God or gods. Adolescents who fight wars on computers win not by reacting to each event in isolation but by finding the patterns in what the electronic enemy does. Fortune tellers make patterns and scientists give prizes to finders of a new pattern. The distinguished biologist, Edward O. Wilson, is only one in many tens of thousands who take messy collections and "…put things right, so to speak." (Wright, 1988, 138) Bottom line: brains make arrangements and put them to work. Gazzaniga (1998, 6) remarked that brains are not built to read. He is one of our premier neuroscientists but, in this case, he's wrong!"

Thanks for your good is woven into several sections of rebellion....

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