We’ve all heard the meme of “Right Brained=Creative vs Left Brained=Analytical.” We’ve also heard how it’s become a favorite ‘punching bag’ topic for popular science writers, who are always fond of reminding us how the left/right hemisphere dichotomy is as fallacious as the notion that we humans only use 10% or less of our total brain capacity –sorry, Lucy.
British psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist, author of ‘The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World’ [Amazon US & UK] does not intend to refute those arguments. What he proposes instead is that our current civilization has favored the ‘focused and descriptive’ faculty of the left brain, while disregarded the more ‘holistic’ view of the right brain –something we might want to restore into a more balanced state, which he explains in this lecture brilliantly illustrated by RSA Animate:
“The right hemisphere gives sustained, broad, open, vigilant alertness, whereas the left hemisphere gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail. People who lose their right hemispheres have a pathological narrowing of the window of attention.”