VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality
3. A Complementary Brain and Thought Process
Keenan, Julian. The Face in the Mirror. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. A neuroscientist expands upon Gordon Gallup’s mirror recognition test as a measure of self-identity by adding neuro-imaging studies along with other recent findings. From this synthesis the conclusion is drawn that the right brain, rather than of minor account, is the seat of self-awareness and consciousness. The condition of autism whence a child is unable to develop a “Theory of Mind” that other persons have their own thoughts is then attributed to an absence of this faculty. Keenan goes on to propose a recapitulation between the ontogeny of how a child’s motor skills and cognitive abilities such as the 2nd year onset of self-recognition develop and the evolutionary phylogeny of their acquisition by primates, hominids and human beings.
Kokis, Judith, et al. Heuristic and Analytical Processing. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 83/1, 2002. Studies of the “dual-process model” of distinct heuristic (holistic) or analytical (serial, discrete) cognitive styles with regard to their sequential appearance in children appear to confirm this hypothesis. Although the twin faculties are not equated with brain hemispheres their alignment with right and left is evident.
Thus, it is assumed in dual-process theories that the heuristic system is an older evolutionary product. A corollary of this assumption is that the heuristic system is also ontogenetically earlier developing – and that the analytic system is both a phylogenetically and ontogenetically later developing system. (27-28)
Kong, Xiang-Zhen, et al. Mapping Cortical Brain Asymmetry in 17,141 Healthy Individuals Worldwide via the ENIGMA Consortium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115/E5154, 2018. A report from this newly formed European, American, and global collaboration (see second quote) which stands as the most comprehensive neuroimaging study of human cerebral asymmetric hemispheres to date. While the emphasis has been mainly on brain anatomies, the complementary archetypes of linguistic detail and contextual field complements remain broadly constant.
Hemispheric asymmetry is a cardinal feature of human brain organization. Here, the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium presents the largest-ever analysis of cerebral cortical asymmetry and its variability across individuals. Cortical thickness and surface area were assessed in MRI scans of 17,141 healthy individuals from 99 datasets worldwide. Results revealed widespread asymmetries at both hemispheric and regional levels, with a generally thicker cortex but smaller surface area in the left hemisphere relative to the right. The structural asymmetries identified and their variabilities and heritability provide a reference resource for future studies on the genetic basis of brain asymmetry and altered laterality in cognitive, neurological, and psychiatric disorders. (Abstract)
Kosslyn, Stephen. Where is the “Spatial” Hemisphere? Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia, et al, eds. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Mind. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010. The Harvard University psychologist provides for this Gazzaniga festschrift a synthesis of his years of research upon asymmetrical cerebral attributes, with this unique insight. Our visual perception of global patterns is actually composed of two aspects – discrete categorical or integrally coordinate – which then align with the left or right hemispheres. So once again, as so many endeavors coalesce upon and affirm circa 2010, these archetypal modes and their relative lateral locales indeed gains real confirmation.
Kraus, Nina. Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021. A senior Northwestern University neurobiologist writes her comprehensive opus about how the soundverse we abide in effects every aspect of our lives. Akin to bifocal vision, it is binaural with ear modulations that favor either discrete phonetics or rhythmic, tonal pitch. Once again, nature’s universal sensory system is found to ever recur in kind. (See Brainstem Origins for Cortical ‘What’ and ’Where” Pathways in the Auditory System by NK and Trent Nicol in Trends in Neuroscience. (28/4, 2005.)
Laland, Kevin, et al. The Evolution of Dance. Current Biology. 26/1, 2016. Senior behavioral scholars Laland, University of St. Andrews, with Clive Wilkins, and Nicky Clayton, Cambridge University contribute to later 2010s realizations of the long, intertwined reciprocal occasion of rhythmic motion and linguistic content. A constant, vital interplay of an integral reciprocity of motion and message can now be filled in and traced across the array of Metazoan animals.
Senior behavioral scholars Laland, University of St. Andrews, with Clive Wilkins, and Nicky Clayton, Cambridge University contribute to later 2010s realizations of the long, intertwined reciprocal occasion of rhythmic motion and linguistic content. A constant, vital interplay of an integral reciprocity of motion and message can now be filled in and traced across the array of Metazoan animals.
Levitin, Daniel, et al. The Psychology of Music Rhythm and Movement. Annual Review of Psychology. 69/51, 2017. As studies of life’s vital duality of movement and communication advance, they lately merit this Annual Review chapter by psychologists Levitin, McGill University, Jessica Grahn, Western University, Ontario, and Justin London, Carleton College. Section headings such as Tempo and Temporal Structure, Synchronization, Embodied Cognition, Groove, and Cross-Modal Correspondences convey scholarly features as they explain life’s score and script.
The urge to move to music is universal among humans. Unlike visual art, which is manifest across space, music is manifest across time. When listeners get carried away by the music, either through movement (such as dancing) or through reverie (such as trance), it is usually the temporal qualities of the music — its pulse, tempo, and rhythmic patterns — that put them in this state. In this article, we review studies addressing rhythm, meter, movement, synchronization, entrainment, the perception of groove, and other temporal factors that constitute a first step to understanding how and why music literally moves us. The experiments we review span a range of methodological techniques, including neuroimaging, psychophysics, and traditional behavioral experiments, and we also summarize the current studies of animal synchronization, engaging an evolutionary perspective on human rhythmic perception and cognition. (Abstract)
Li, Mike, et al. Transitions in Information Processing Dynamics at the Whole-Brain Network Level are Driven by Alterations in Neural Gain. PLoS Computational Biology. Online October, 2019. University of Sydney, Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, and Stanford University systems neuroscientists including Joseph Lizier provide another window upon how and why cerebral cognition proceeds by way of an active sequence and balance of bringing together and moving apart, which conceives a one and/or many optimum complementarity.
A key component of the complex flexibility of the brain is its ability to adapt its functional network structure between integrated and segregated brain states. Integrated states are prevalent for tasks such as maintaining items in memory, consistent with models of a global workspace architecture. Recent work has suggested that the balance between integration and segregation is under the control of ascending neuromodulatory systems, via changes in neural gain. In this study, we show that the gain-mediated phase transition involves the dynamics of the subcritical (segregated) regime for information storage, whereas the supercritical (integrated) regime is associated with information transfer. Operating near to the critical regime with respect to modulating neural gain parameter appears to provide computational advantages which offer flexibility in the information processing. (Abstract excerpt)
Luders, Eileen, et al.
Parasagittal Asymmetries of the Corpus Callosum.
UCLA and University of Zurich neuropsychologists including Eric Zaidel avail 21st century MRI imaging methods and enhanced computer analysis to gain novel insights into the central role of this significant bundle of fibers connecting complementary brain hemispheres. Among the results reported, additional proof is stated for the gender tendencies of a main left side emphasis in males, while female brains tend to balance left and right modes. We add that this increasingly verified finding ought to be appreciated as a major scientific discovery and distinction. It is commonly held that men deal in dots, but miss connections. But women do not employ, as long defined, only a right bias of sensitive, “irrational,” holistic emotions, rather both competitive entity and cooperative empathy are equally integrated.
The present study revealed distinctive and extensive asymmetries in the anterior body and additionally in a small and less significant region in the anterior third of the CC of males. In contrast, asymmetry in females was less significant in general and applied to smaller callosal regions in the anterior body, in the anterior third and additionally at the border between the isthmus and splenium. (352) Our findings are of particular interest considering previous results which indicated that right-handed males show significantly different depths of the central sulcus in the two hemispheres, whereas no interhemispheric asymmetry was found in females. Similarly, functional imaging revealed sex differences in peri-rolandic asymmetries in a tactile discrimination task, where females predominantly activated both premotor cortices but males showed an asymmetric activation. (352)
Macchi, Laura, et al. Dual Process Theories of Human Thought. Mind & Society. 11/1, 2012. An Introduction to a special issue about this paleo-psychological school which avers that two alternative, sequential styles of cerebral cognition distinguish primates and people. Due much to Jonathan St. Evans, who has a concluding paper, an earlier Type or System 1 rapid, associative, intuitive mode is paired with a subsequent Type or System 2 of a more reflective, serial awareness. While I have only seen Chris Collins’ Paleopoetics (search) match them with obvious brain hemisphere complements, this active approach opens still another window on these ubiquitous gender archetypes.
Martin, Ingerith and Skye McDonald. Weak Coherence, No Theory of Mind, or Executive Dysfunction? Solving the Puzzle of Pragmatic Language Disorders. Brain and Language. 85/3, 2003. With regard to cases such as autism and right hemisphere damage, the RH is seen to play a role in creating coherence and situational integration. The RH is engaged with forming gestalts of information from multiple domains and deficits of this kind cause these disorders.
McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019. This is a second edition of the magisterial 2009 volume by the Scottish psychiatrist because 10 years later it has become a best-selling, luminous exposition of the awesome bicameral brain that evolution has endowed us with. The first edition is extensively reviewed in Current Vistas and cited elsewhere. Today its deep analysis is well proven and its message even more imperative. Our human cerebral faculty is graced with asymmetric hemispheres that are distinguished by complementary archetypal attributes and purposes. The long litany of entity/empathy, particle/wave, dot/connect, fire/love and so ever on is familiar (see also Jonathan Rowson herein for a 2013 interview with Iain). His prime point is that through history and especially now the mechanistic, objects only, left side sans any right contextual meaning and guidance has reached a terminal planetary crisis. One may add in April 2019, this is why American politics polarize, Brexit is intractable, small and large gang wars rage (Sri Lanka), all the while that Antarctica melts.