Thursday, December 18, 2008

What if... #18

What if the left and the right side of the human brain were considerably better connected?

This post is part of the 2008 advent series "What if..."

18 comments:

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

We would loose the intricate and unique balance that has been struck between having a sense of self and a sense of also being part and being joined to our overall environment. Actually I believe Jill Bolte Taylor that lady you meet at SciFoo camp this summer explains it best.

Georg said...

Hello Bee,
the understanding of the functions of
our brain is much too bad to know whether
the two halves can be connected in a "better" way, or if they are connected
in the best way already.
The hype caused by medicin men due to
some coarse clues based on lateral NMR
is a hype!
Regards
Georg

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Georg,

I'm not sure what theories you are referring to yet to insist that something proposed as being hype while not being able to offer an alternative explanation certainly could not be considered as science.

Best,

Phil

Georg said...

Hello Phil,
wahi I speak about is the gist in (popular) science
since some years, reporting on NMR brain
studies. It is that " real breakthrough
around", but it is just correcting
some errors of the old "brain map",
which
relied on brain damages or animal studies.
A real understanding of brain function
is still far off.
The tenor of the papers reminds me somewhat
of the papers on AI and brain 20 years ago, almost forgotten now.
Regards
Georg

Arun said...

My math. would be in exquisite calligraphy and with a literary quality.

Anyway, Bee, I'm pretty certain that your brain hemispheres are better integrated than mine!

Rae Ann said...

I think that women's hemispheres are better connected than men's already. But it comes at a price of sometimes having trouble distinguishing which side to listen to more, the emotional or the rational. Well, at least I have trouble with that. ;-) I suspect there is a general variation among all people in how well-connected their hemispheres are and how well they can process the combined information. Could be some aspect of intelligence that isn't quite measured by typical IQ tests, but who knows? But as we continue to evolve, maybe the corpus callosum will further develop. Or has this hemisphere separation become more pronounced in humans than other species? I'll have to look that up.

Low Math, Meekly Ineracting said...

Most of what I've read suggests hyperambilaterality is not an especially good thing, and appears to be associated with a kind of "hemispheric indecision" where consciousness may range from sub-clinically delusional (excessive "magical thinking") to full-blown schizophrenia (hyperconnectivity in at least some regions of the corpus callosum, where interhemispheric communication is routed). I suppose if excess communication between the hemispheres was sufficiently dysregulated, you might wind up with severe epilepsy, and it's well-known that some severe and refractory cases can only be treated by bisecting the corpus callosum, leading to bizarre effects like "alien hand syndrome".

Unless you changed hemispheric neurophysiology to cope with the increase in stimuli, the impact might be be so overwhelming as to decrease functioning, sort of like increasing traffic between cities without improving the infrastructure of those cities to handle the load.

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Rae Ann said:“ I think that women's hemispheres are better connected than men's already. But it comes at a price of sometimes having trouble distinguishing which side to listen to more, the emotional or the rational. Well, at least I have trouble with that. ;-)”

Assuming that your empirical (self-) observation is correct, it leads right to the opposite conclusion: you have the difficulty of choice between too well separated “processing unit” results, just because they are so well separated, while we, men, have no such problem because our hemispheres and their functions are inseparably entangled (no choice thus): emotions serve as energy driver for logic, while the latter takes control of emotions, self-consistently. [To see why it's true, apply rather your left hemi-sphere, this time :).] The inevitable disadvantage we obtain for men is a higher probability of spontaneous chaoticity or “unreasonable” behaviour: hence men's relatively easy tendency for violence (often logically unjustified) - but also for a “discovery” (having equally “inexplicable” origin!) - and women's “conservation” qualities. It all corresponds well to respective “biological” and “social” functions. If I can remember properly, such higher hemisphere connection for men is even confirmed by medical research. Which provides a remarkably concise answer to the above question posed by a woman: “if...” in your case, then you'd feel like a man (I mean how difficult and honourable it is to bear that noble function :)). As modern women had a strange idea to borrow everything from men (which devil's hemisphere is used for that violation of Nature's wisdom?!), there is also the relevant advice from the theory: when you want something, try to estimate it “reasonably” (without stopping wanting it), and when you calculate something, ask yourself whether you really want it (staying within calculation). Difficult?! So it is to be a man, baby...

andy.s said...

maybe ew would trats typing ekil this :) (:

Arjen Dijksman said...

This seems to be related to cross-wiring of left and right brainfunctions. People would be emotionally touched by looking at a complicated differential equation. Instead of going to a musical show, they would enjoy a good abstract lecture on quantum gravity. Artworks in museums would represent mathematical symbols. Poor guys...;-)

Arun said...

The proper feminist retort to Andrei Kirilyuk is probably that "Everyone knows men don't think with their brains". :)

Neil' said...

I think the consensus is, we'd be a lot better off.

Uncle Al said...

Awareness is by contrast. Homogenization disappears the world,

http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/cycle.gif
(browser permission for animated gifs)

When your eyes follow the moving grey hole the dots remain pink. Stare at the center black '+' and
the moving hole is green.

Concentrate on the center black '+'. Soon the pink dots disappear.
Only a single moving green dot remains.

A camera does not care - but cameras are flummoxed by morning glory blue.

Bee said...

Hi Andy,

I ekil this noitseggus! Would ew also evah right- and tfel- leaning syelims? (-: :-)

Best,

BeeeeB

Plato said...

Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.Stroke of insight:Jill Bolte Taylor


Phil mentioned Jill Bolte Taylor earlier to me as well. I took great interest in the way she approached her science. I watched her on Oprah, with Doctor Oz. She still maintains her science, but with a little more compassion for the world around her. Not so robot like:)

Arjen Dijksman raises a interesting subject as well.

Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch, and saturation with the volume of sound. He even claimed that when he saw color he heard music.Kandinsky, Wassily

See:Wholeness and Creativity" under the Guise of Synesthesia

Along the way, we also found new clues to some of the most mysterious aspects of the human mind, such as the emergence of abstract thought, metaphor and perhaps even language.Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes By Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Edward M. Hubbard

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

"Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading."

It seems you were the only one that caught my point about the reason behind the hemispheres being so loosely connected. What Jill didn’t explain and what continues to be explored is how or what serves to be the arbitrator of the mind. The fact is the whole concept of consciousness or self lays somewhere between the two. So its not really having them being better connected, for they don’t actually understand one another. The question that continues to be explored is what does or should we actually ask who does?

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

So its not really having them being better connected, for they don’t actually understand one another. The question that continues to be explored is what does or should we actually ask who does?

Any visualization has it's effect, and it's like preceding the evolution of the brain, as an extension of our focus precedes our journeys into the world. There is a gathering force, I believe in reality, that is not unlike the principle of those that gather around the doctor as s/he crosses the room. So this has it evolutionary effect in materiality?

So where is that located in the brain? Frontal?

Such projections are not uncommon when you trace the expressiveness of the mind's position in face of, what shall transpire as the "next step" is set before you.

All of it gathers most appropriately in the form of information/energy?

Best,

Rae Ann said...

Andrei, thanks!