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Sample Essay – Brain Dichotomy 

Words 2,340

This essay The Truth of the Left-Brain/Right-Brain Dichotomy as Represented in Popular Psychology. In 1962 the two American treated a man experiencing worsening and drug resistant epileptic seizures with an experimental procedure; they severed the nerve connections between the two hemispheres of his brain, splitting it into two.

The operation cured the man of epileptic seizures and left him with not one but two functional brains. The splitting of the brain allowed researchers to conduct various experiments to find out more about the brain, specifically to find out what computational tasks were delegated to which hemisphere of the brain (Gazzaniga, 2005).

The splitting of the brain did not cause anything like a dramatic change in a person’s personality that had been noticed in other brain surgeries such as frontal lobotomies, instead the changes in brain performance were subtle and only visible through clever tests of cognition.

It was known that the left eye and ear are connected to the right hemisphere of the brain and the right eye and ear to the left hemisphere of the brain. When a person with a split brain was presented with information only to the right hemisphere of the brain, they were unable to verbalize it.

Brain Dichotomy

Early studies of hemispheric functions reported that there was a clear cut functional difference between the two hemispheres of the brain, the left brain was where the language and logical ability of the brain resided, while the right brain had a more ‘gestalt’ function; it dealt with emotions, image processing, spatial relations, and holistic ideas. The specialized functioning of the two halves of the brain was dubbed ‘brain lateralization’ (Devinsky and Laff, 2003; Gazzaniga, 2005).

Research indicated that for nearly everyone, one hemisphere of the brain is dominant, though some people appear to use both hemispheres of the brain equally. The dominance of one hemisphere of the brain was termed ‘cerebral dominance’ or ‘hemisphericity’ or ‘hemispheric laterality’ of the brain, in popular culture; it became common to describe people as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’.

It was posited that over 95% of the population was ‘left-brained’, people who were organized, verbal and logic oriented whereas a 5% minority were the quiet creative geniuses whose minds were geared for imagination, abstract ideas and artistic endeavors (Ornstein 1997).

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