Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stroke of Insight....

While I've been basically housebound, I've been reading an interesting book. It is "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor.

What I found so interesting is the way Dr. Taylor spells out exactly the way our brain works and the differences between the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. She describes what it is like to have a stroke that basically knocked her left brain out of commission. The left brain is the logical, detail-oriented, factual side of the brain.

The right brain uses feelings, intuition, is "big picture" oriented and receives information in symbols and images.

I am right-brain dominant. Obviously. But I still love science.

(If you're not sure whether you are right- or left-brain dominant, you can take this little test. )

As I was reading her book which is a chronicle of her experience as she lived almost totally in her right hemisphere and how her perceptions changed as she regained left brain function, I was thinking about all sorts of possibilities.

What if left brain or right brain dominance is influenced by culture and education? Or perhaps we are born with a certain inclination and that is why some of us truly struggle with our environments. There are a thousand different ways to look at this. The rationalist view would probably suppose that we are merely slaves to our biology. (Of course, I don't believe that.)

This book will make you think about many new things.

If you'd prefer to not read the book, (even though it's really short at 180 pages and I highly recommend it), you can watch this video and get a synopsis.

All in all, truly fascinating stuff. We really are amazing creatures when you think about it.

Let me know what you think. :)



Anonymous said...


So I'm sitting at this seminar this morning, waiting for the amazing guest lecturer, and in walks a colleague I haven't seen for a while. She sits down and we start talking. I tell her about this great exhibit I saw yesterday, one I KNOW she'd lovem and she proceeds to tell me how she just started reading this book that sounds similar to some data I've just shared.

And it's the book you mentioned.

So, what? (looking at watch) It's been ten hours, tops? Pretty cool synchronicity I'd say.


I LOVE it when that happens!

Yeah, yeah, buying the book.


meno said...

Wow, i'm left brain dominant, but not very much.

I need to check out that book. I love stuff like this.

flutter said...

I am way right brained and kind of surprised....maybe I shouldn't be

Olivia said...

Ok, so now I'm getting the book too. I've been vacillating, but I've heard about it so much from Rick at Hamguin's Hide-Not that I've been "planning" on doing it. Now I'm ordering it, Chani. And I'll tell you what I think. Namaste, O

Suki said...

Seems like I'm fairly right-brain, but a few years ago I'm sure I would have been right on the line between left and right.

Brain chemistry for me is really dodgy. I believe the mind and body influence each other reciprocally - it's not a one-way thing. Environment influences both body and mind, which means that absolutely nothing is irreversibly decided at birth.

I've heard of cases where an entire side of the brain went dysfunctional, and the other side just picked up those functions. In the end, we are humans and our systems are extremely adaptable.. I can't think of compartmentalizing brain function in any way!

Anonymous said...

I watched this video recently - fascinating stuff. I took the test and there was only a one point difference between right and left for me, which didn't surprise me.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm absolutely going to read this. I was completely, totally, absolutely right-brained as a child and young adult, and am now much more left-brained. I've always wondered about that. I've been very interested in all this for a long time as I've found it to be the best indicator of how I can best work with individual students.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

OH! And have you read Howard Gardiner's work on multiple intelligences? If not, you might like it.

hele said...

I watched the video a while ago after which I went out with a friend who meditates a huge amount - so much so that she has abandoned many left brain activities such as reading.

Interestingly many of the problems she described to me - loosing a sense of self, struggling to concentrate, no longer being able to read, strongly reminded me of some of the things that happened when the left hemisphere was no longer functioning.

Anvilcloud said...

Just got and started reading that book. There are also four interviews with her somewhere on Oprah (I guess you need to sign in). The test tells me I'm 2:1 left brain. Seems about right.

velvet said...

Hmmm, looks like I'm right brain dominant...

I've always believed that it was nature and nurture combined where we're born with certain traits and then they're added to or developed by our life experiences. The brain is such a complicated and mysterious organ. After having two kids who are hardwired so differently right from birth, I'm thinking that a lot is born into you.

Sounds like a really interesting book and I've got to pick this one up!

slouching mom said...

i'm equally dominant, which i'd always suspected, because i'm left-handed but fairly ambidextrous.

how boring of me.

Mariposa said...

Somebody told me if you are left handed then you are right brain dominant? Or something inclined to what the right brain has...more on intuitions...feelings...etc. I can't remember, so I took that test, 8 for left...11 for right, so I'm right dominant. As I go through the questions, I realized my answers would have been different had I took it weeks ago, last year...or years back. So with that said, maybe yes, our inclinations do change through time depending on our enviroment...and experiences. And yes, maybe that could be a reason why we, for instance my job is more on a left brain dominant job, but I'm more the on the creative I need to balance it with alot of other things to do else, boredom and frustration at work will kill me.

I will check that book at Amazon...I can't find it in our bookstore here.

Thanks for sharing this one!

womaninawindow said...

Wow, I just watched that video. I feel WOW. What an enlightening video...can I say enough? Brilliant. thank you for that!
Funny, I just had a very right brained day and how rewarding it is! You feel that energy come right back at you when you let it!

MsLittlePea said...

Took the test-right brain dominant. surprises surprise :O)

But then I watched the video and wow. Yeah, it's definitely something to think about. I'll have to buy the book, I looked for it in my library catalog and they don't have it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am right-brain dominant by 4 points, but I'm not really sure which way I turn my head when someone asks me a question so it may not be accurate. (I guessed left.)

The book sounds very interesting and I'd love to read it.

yertle said...

Wow, I just heard about this book today myself. It sounds very interesting. I think I am going to have to read it.

SUEB0B said...

I am right in the middle!

Anonymous said...

holy crap, Chani. What she describes in her talk is almost exactly what I was struggling to get at in my last post.

I'm floored.

Defiantmuse said...

I, as well, am extremely right brained oriented. I watched the video, very interesting stuff. I'd like to read the book but maybe in a few years when a)I actually have the time to sit down and read a books and b) my child stops EATING books. Yeah. I guess it's good fiber? I dunno.

JCK said...

Fascinating video. I'm always interested in other people's stories and how they found their work. Also, after a major life event - like a stroke, how someone comes back and what they do with their life.

Thanks for sharing and also love your new header!

Susan as herself said...

I have always been interested in this subject. I think people can chane their brain dominance, depending on environment and repeated stimuli, but I also think we are all born a certain way, and it serves us and the world best if we use our natural skills and talents.

Oh, and I am slightly more right brained---but only by three points.

Rebecca said...

Her TED video is amazing - she was also on Oprah's Soul Series on XM - you can watch it from I'll have to check out the book. I'm slightly left-brain dominant, which doesn't surprise me (or Tracy). With only 1 point difference between the 2, I think I'm fairly balanced.

Blessed be! Life is good.

Angela said...

I scored a 6 on both sides. Off to work, but will be back later to watch the video. Hearing a lot about this book.

Laurie said...

Ten on both sides for me. I am going to get the book and read it, it sounds fascinating.

Thanks, Chani.

I hope you heal up soon. Sun/heat stroke is nothing to take lightly. Please take care of yourself.


RKK said...

I just read the book on a plane trip this weekend; I'd been intending to read it since I saw the video you also mention awhile back.

I found the book incredibly fascinating, I've always been interested in neuroscience, and much of what she talks about resonates intensely with the spiritual searching I've renewed in the past few years.

What an incredible perspective she has added!