Our Brains Are Divided, But Not the Way Most of Us Think They Are

by Jason Tougaw

It drives neuroscientists crazy that so many people believe our “right-brains” are all about creativity, imagination, and emotion and our “left-brains” about reason and language. You can’t blame the neuroscientists, because the beliefs are false. But the two hemispheres of our brains do serve some different functions–which aren’t easily captured in a soundbite people can repeat and pass around like a meme.

With his animated manifesto, “Our Divided Brains Might Be Making Us Unhappy: A Plea for a More Right-Brained World” (published on gizmodo.com and YouTube) Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist has proven that the tools of the graphic novelists and web animator are ideal for offering a gorgeous, brilliant, and compassionate explanation of how our left and right hemispheres work and how their work might shed light on some of the pros and cons of modern life–how we live now. Watching this is an eleven minutes well spent. (Thanks to Yulia Greyman for bringing McGilchrist’s video to my attention.)

(By the way: stay tuned in the coming weeks for some juicy posts I’ve got in the works, including “How Does It Feel to Be an Electric Fish?,”Is He Human, or Is He Dancer,” and “Junky.”)


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