Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Our "divided brain" - an animated tutorial.
A loyal mindblog reader has pointed me to an animated lecture, by psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist, that is quite fun to watch. It starts by briefly describing and debunking the pop-psychology about our split brains that reached a peak in the 1970s (for imagination and reason you in fact need BOTH hemispheres), and then proceeds through a lucid explanation of the evolution and function of our brain's hemispheric asymmetry, and the advanced functions made possible by the inhibitory functions of our frontal lobes. McGilchrist cites and illustrates Pascal's point that "The end point of rationality is to demonstrate the limits of rationality." The last few minutes of the 11 minute video are notably informative and hysterically funny. At the conclusion McGilchrist cites Einstein's comment that "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant," noting that we have created a society that honors the servant. (You should check out the RSA organization's website, which points to a number of lectures in this style.)