Re-discovering the Intuitive Mind
There was a time, not too long ago, when the right hemisphere was not only regarded as non-dominant, but almost of lesser neurological importance than the dominating left hemisphere. But all this has changed.
In a nut-shell, the dominant left hemisphere is the rational measurement-based engineer while the non-dominant right is the big picture, creative architect. The non-dominant right hemisphere emerges as the seat of creativity and out-the-box innovation, nuance, big picture sensitivity and the strong connection to emotional centres. To boot, individuals with unfettered non-dominant hemispheres obtain higher scores with chance experiments (guessing/willing numbers) than us mere mortal left hemisphere dominants – in the region of 80% versus 50% respectively.
Based on several studies, it appears that the rational left fronto-temporal area dominates and suppresses the right non-dominant. It is only when the left is suppressed, that the eloquence of the right non-dominant flourishes. This situation is seen in individuals with pathology in the dominant left area as well as in individuals whose dominant left function has been temporarily compromised through transcranial stimulation studies (Snyder et al). As expected, right dominance manifests as increased creativity, out-the-box thinking, subtlety, innovation and heightened emotion.
The dynamic in regard to right and left hemispheral co-operation appears to be based upon the right ‘getting a hunch’ and urging the left to question this. Thereby the ‘hunch’ becomes activated and the ‘hardcopy’ emerges.
Heterosexual males seem to have the highest incidence of left dominance. Females have the higher left-right communication and thus parity of hemispheres. This is endorsed by increased sizes of bridging structures – the corpus callosum and commissures. Gay males appear to have increased commissural volumes as compared to heterosexual males (but smaller than females). This may be relevant in providing an explanation for the high level of creativity/innovative indices seen in gay males (Shlain).
It makes sense therefore (especially for hetero-sexual males) to quieten down that obsessively driven, rational dominant left, allow the right some space, connect to emotions and innovate! Mindful meditation is one solution, failing which you could always pop along to your nearest neuropsych lab and have your dominant left de-functionalised, even for twenty minutes, with a transcranial stimulator!
Snyder A, Bahramali H, Hawker T, Mitchell DJ (2006) Savant-like numerosity skills revealed in normal people by magnetic pulses. Perception 35: 837-845.
Schore AN (2010) Chapter in T. Baradon (Ed.), Relational trauma in infancy (pp. 19-47). London: Routledge.
Copyright reserved - Ian Weinberg 2016
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