“Left brain/ right brain nonsense in a Mercedez-Benz ad” runs the caption at Neuroimages where this image resides. Why nonsense? Well, I expect the writer felt that the whole left-brain/right-brain dichotomy is a bit overdone, a gross simplification. I would agree. Still, it’s a nice image and reflects what has increasingly become the popular conception of brain function. It’s a useful schematic. But the real truth about the brain is that
- it is fantastically complicated and
- it is capable of regenerating and repurposing itself
Yes, repurposing itself. The brain is able to reassign functions from one part of the brain to another, within certain limits, of course. Dan Siegel, MD, has done some amazing writing on the various functions of the brain, in part making use of the left-right schematic. He also focuses on “neuroplasticity” that is, very briefly, the ability of the brain’s neurons to grow and adapt according to need. It’s work that has exciting implications for psychotherapy. I’ll be posting more about Dr. Siegel’s work in the not-too-distant future.