[ExI] The Chattering Hemisphere
lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Apr 16 19:39:32 UTC 2009
Jill Taylor, PhD (in brain science, no less), wrote
some very interesting passages in her book, "My
Stroke of Insight".
Here is a publisher's description:
On the morning of December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a
thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist, experienced a
massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her
brain. A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind
completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read,
write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief
hours. As the damaged left side of her brain--the rational, grounded,
detail- and time-oriented side--swung in and out of function, Taylor
alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric
nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt
a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential
left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her
to seek help before she was lost completely.
However, on page 32 she wrote
Via our left hemisphere language centers, our
mind speaks to us constantly, a phenomenon I
refer to as "brain chatter". It is that voice
reminding you to pick up bananas on your way
home and that calculating intelligence that
knows when you have to do your laundry.
There is vast individual variation in the speed
at which our minds function. For some, our
dialog of brain chatter runs so fast that we
can barely keep up with what we are thinking (!)
Others of us think in language so slowly that
it takes a long time for us to comprehend.
So she says here and in a couple of other
places that before her stroke this chatter
was virtually non-stop.
Now I'm not that way, and have never been,
(although I become more so with age). Since
both hemisphere are necessary (I gather)
for almost all thought, the left one is doing
something that doesn't involve words when I
work on chess problems and often when I do math.
I think that there are many other situations
too that go non-verbal, but haven't pinned
them down yet.
Is what she's relating partly a woman thing?
What about you? Are you hearing brain chatter
virtually all the time? (My guess is that some
very, very verbal people, e.g. many Ashkenazi
highly Orthodox Jews, somehow do almost all
their thinking with words strongly involved,
while non-visualizers (of every persuasion)
do so less, e.g. Feynman did a lot of visual
thinking, and most extremely smart people use
*all* brain modes).
Love to hear what you think, or what you hear. :)
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