Our Divided Brains Might Be Making Us Unhappy: A Plea for a More Right-Brained World

This video just blew my mind, kind of literally. I will never look at my own brain the same way again.


Iain McGilchrist, psychiatrist, author, and my new favorite person, tells us that so many of the left versus right brain arguments from the '60s and '70s have been disproven—for example that emotion and language are controlled by the left hemisphere and that the right hemisphere controls visual images and reason. All of those things are important throughout the brain. So, "in a fit of despair," as McGilchrist says, people have given up talking about it.

But despite those disproven theories, the brain is actually very divided, just in a completely different way than neuroscientists previously believed. There's even a part of the brain called the corpus callosum that has evolved to inhibit the opposite hemisphere. "This organ, which is all about making connection, is profoundly divided," McGilchrist says. It has even evolved to be asymmetric. The left front part juts out as does the right rear part, as if someone gave it a twist.

The video is well-worth watching all the way through. As a left-handed writer who plays sports right-handed, it was especially fascinating. The payoff is that this seemingly clinical take on the brain, delivered with a very academic and posh British accent, is actually a plea for a better world in which people are happier and have less mental illness. I won't spoil it for you any further, just watch.

[The Daily What]

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Les Mikesell

Sort of misses the point that when the sides disagree they are probably both wrong. And maybe sometimes even when they do agree...