Essay, Research Paper: Psychology College Paper


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The article in which I chose to examine is called Right Brain, Left Brain: Fact
and Fiction, written by Jerre Levy. In the past fifteen years or so there has
been a lot of talk of left brain and right brain people. Levy's reason for
righting this article was clearly to stop the misconceptions and show the truth
about how our brain hemispheres operate. Levy first explores the myth of the
left brain and right brain theory. She states that generally people see the left
hemisphere of the brain controlling logic and language and the right, creativity
and intuition. In addition people differ in their styles of thought, depending
on which half of the brain is dominant. She believes that most of what these
notions state is farce. Next the article explores the history of this
fascination of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Apparently the study
of this aspect of the brain traces back to time of Hippocrates. Levy weaves in
and out of the various theories and prominent people known for contributing to
the confusion. It wasn't until 1962 when Roger W. Sperry began experimenting on
certain aspects of the brain that contribute to the truth of the left and right
brain theory. Sperry studied people who had undergone surgical division of the
corpus callosum, the bridge between the two hemispheres. His studies showed
that, "an object placed in the right hand (left hemisphere) could be named
readily, but one placed in the left hand (nonverbal right hemisphere) could be
neither named nor described. Next to branch off of Sperry's studies was
psychologist Doreen Kimura. Kimura developed behavioral methods which involved
presenting visual stimuli rapidly to either the left or right visual fields.
Another important method developed was "dichotic listening" which
centered around the use of sound to study the hemispheres. Through these tests
and the continual study the theory that the left brain controlled ended. Instead
a new theory was born known as the two-brain theory. This said that at different
times one of the two hemispheres would be operating. An example of this is that
the right hemisphere is in control when an artist paints but the left hemisphere
was in control when a novelist wrote a book. This theory failed because of one
physical studies showed that people with hemispheres surgically disconnected
could operate in everyday life. Also, research demonstrated that each hemisphere
had its own functional expertise, and that the two halves were complementary.
Next, the article states its worth. The author shows the up to date agreed upon
theory of the two hemispheres in five simple points. 1. The two hemispheres are
so similar that when they are disconnected by split-brain surgery, each can
function remarkably well, although quite imperfectly 2. Although they are
remarkably similar they are also different. The differences are seen in
contrasting contributions. Each hemisphere contributes something to every action
a person takes. 3. Logic is not confined to the left hemisphere. Although
dominant in the left logic is present in the right hemisphere. 4. There is no
evidence that either creativity or intuition is an exclusive property of the
right hemisphere. Same theory as #3. 5. Since the two hemispheres do not
function independently, and since each hemisphere contributes its special
capacities to all cognitive activities, it is quite impossible to educate one
hemisphere at a time in a normal brain. Levy comes to the conclusion that people
are not purely left or right brained. There is a continuum in which the
hemispheres work together in harmony. Often the left or right hemisphere is more
active in some people but it is never the sole operator. She concludes, "We
have a single brain that generates a single mental self." Compared to what
we did in class related to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, both
what we learned and the article taught were extremely similar. Our exercise
showed that we are not left or right brained but merely somewhere on the scale
between left and right brain. Some of us were extreme left, few extreme right
and most in the middle leaning left a bit (this is where I fell). I could not
agree more with what we did in class and the article I read. The author wrote a
fabulous complete article. In my summary which probably was a little lengthy, I
feel I am not doing the author just. She had so much wonderful background that
there was no way to include it all. She introduced the problem at hand and
explored every aspect of the subject showing other's views and previously
excepted theories. After all was said she introduced her (generally accepted)
theory in a simple well thought out five point system that suited the novice as
well as the expert.
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