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VII. Earthomo Sapiens: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

3. A Complementary Brain and Thought Process

Schore, Allan. A Right Brain Implicit Self: A Central Mechanism of the Psychotherapy Change Process. Petrucelli, Jean, ed. Knowing, Not-Knowing and Sort of Knowing: Psychoanalysis and the Experience of Uncertainty. London: Karnac, 2010. The senior UCLA School of Medicine psychiatrist and biobehaviorist strongly avers that this holistic cerebral complement, which arises earlier in evolution, history, and individual cerebral formation, is the often neglected source of palliative psychic resolve and personal unity. While the left hemisphere deals with predictable situations, the right can handle surprising, unusual occurrences. As such, the left side is bent on a single response, but the right’s “answer matrix” can generate valuable alternative solutions. Google Schore’s publications for this paper, and notably his April 2012 The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton) that promises a succinct summary of these earned insights.

The concept of a single unitary “self” is as misleading as the idea of a single unitary “brain.” The left and right hemispheres process information in their own unique fashions, and this is reflected in a conscious left lateralized self system (“left mind”) and an unconscious right lateralized self system (“right mind”). Despite the designation of the verbal left hemisphere as “dominant” due to its capacities for explicitly processing language functions, it is the right hemisphere and its implicit homeostatic-survival and affect regulation functions that truly dominant in human existence. Over the life span the early-forming unconscious implicit self continues to develop to more complexity, and it operates in qualitatively different ways from the later-forming conscious explicit self. (178)

Neuroscience authors are concluding that although the left hemisphere is specialized for coping with and assimilating novel situations and ensures the formation of a new programme of interaction with a new environment. (196)

Schore, Allan. The Development of the Unconscious Mind. New York: Norton, 2019. The UCLA sage psychiatrist (search) continues his appreciations of the role and interplay of the brain hemispheres with their right relational, emphatic, visionary and left particulate, isolate, analytic modes (two minds in one brain) to better understand and mitigate psychological maladies and behaviors. Iain McGilchrist’s 2009 volume is a prime resource and working guide about personal and social mores throughout life. (See Karen Armstrong’s 2019 for a similar avail.) A special emphasis is upon their sequential influence in the earliest years from gestation to infancy, childhood and youth. The right field of view (We) side is primary from birth to the mid twos, when the left me, mine phase cuts in, much to the plight of boys. Deeper, palliative insights are thus gained into these community and independence, cooperate or compete options. (And as would serve our polarized politics, also global strife such as Hong Kong, a best resolve is a beneficial balance of these yin and yang complements.)

Schore, Allan. The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy. New York: Norton, 2012. The veteran UCLA biobehavioral psychiatrist brings together a lifetime of finding ways to heal and advance personal and social well being, through both practice and principle. Its Introduction is “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy,” with the latter term beyond Freudian to a broad palliative and affirmative resolve. In this regard he joins Iain McGilchrist (The Master and His Emissary) to propose that the best approach is an appreciation and apply of the complementary brain hemispheres. To our great deficit, the analytic, particulate left side so dominates self and world as to exclude any contextual, empathic meaning that the right could achieve.

In regard, per the first quote, after decades it can be averred that our cerebral faculty is in fact distinguished by, and founded upon, such gender archetypes. It is now known that right brain holistic imagery, mother – child contact, graces the first three years. But these qualities are soon taken over, and set aside, by a long left brain, self-centered phase that continues through adulthood. Schore’s solution is a rehabilitation and reintegration, unto harmony and balance, of implicit, reciprocal and relational guidance. The left mode deals with familiar inputs, object seriality, but not unusual, perilous events, (like climate change) which a right wholeness can orient and respond to. This “paradigm shift” for therapeutic psychology to a “self-organizing neurological development” aligns with similar revisions across the sciences.

A further important insight, with McGilchrist, is that the left focus on isolated detail tends to a mechanistic view, while the right mode perceives and favors living systems. It is noted that neuroscientists often speak of cognitive “machinery.” As the course of history, from our vantage, runs from feminine and maternal to masculine and patriarchal, an avail of hemispheric penchants might explain why the west comes up with the wrong moribund cosmos. Here is a profound neural basis for a worldwide bilateral (woman’s) brain/mind ability, two brains in concert, to fathom, allow, and discover an organic procreative universe.

Numerous studies now indicate that the right and left human brain hemispheres differ in macrostructure, ultrastructure, physiology, chemistry, and control of behavior. Indeed, the left hemisphere of the vertebrate brain is specialized for the control of well-established patterns of behavior under ordinary and familiar circumstances. In contrast, the right hemisphere is the primary seat of emotional arousal and the processing of novel information. Furthermore, there is now agreement that verbal, conscious, rational and serial information processing takes place in the left hemisphere, whereas nonverbal, unconscious, holistic, and subjective emotional information processing takes place in the right. (7)

I agree (with McGilchrist) that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions. Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. (15)

Schore, Allan. The Self-Organization of the Right Brain and the Neurobiology of Emotional Development. Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic, eds. Emotion, Development, and Self-organization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Dynamic systems theory can bring theoretical rigor to the course of human maturation as an exemplar of a universal evolution. The right hemisphere develops first to engage the mother-infant “reciprocal interactions," which are nonlinear in kind as opposed to the more linear and discrete left brain.

A central principle of this perspective is that a dynamical complex system is assembled as a product of the interactions of the elements of the system in a particular context. The early organization of the human brain is a prototypical example of a hierarchically structured complex system that is dynamically assembled and expresses a capacity to evolve toward a state of higher organization. (155)

Siegel, Daniel. The Mindful Brain. New York: Norton, 2007. The UCLA pediatric psychiatrist and author worries that our alienated, material culture lacks a palliative moral compass and reflective awareness. A major advance would be a “bilateral consciousness” joining the “logical, linguistic, linear, and literal” output of the left hemisphere with the right’s visuospatial, nonverbal, holistic, emotional images. Such an integral balance, as female brains achieve, has a new neurological basis since the cortical columns of the right side are more cross-connected than isolated regions of the left half. An ability to take in the whole, contextual picture would do us well, imbue education, and to help truly achieve, as one might put it, united states.

Smith, Eliot and Jamie DeCoster. Dual-Process Models in Social and Cognitive Psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 4/2, 2000. The growing case for two distinct, alternative modes of thought and memory. Longer term recall is slower and more associative in kind and involves pattern completion while a rapid short term faculty uses a discrete, rule-based procedure.

Rule-based processing also tends to be analytic, rather than based on overall or global similarity. For example, a symbolic rule may single out one or two specific features of an object to be used in categorization, based on conceptual knowledge of the category. In contrast, associative processing categorizes objects nonanalytically, on the basis of their overall similarity to category prototypes or known exemplars. (112)

Spelke, Elizabeth, et al. Beyond Core Knowledge: Natural Geometry. Cognitive Science. 34/5, 2010. In an issue dedicated to the work of Susan Carey, Harvard psychologists (as Carey also) from still another aspect, identify as the Abstract avers two harmonizing phases of a relational pattern, and entrained items. See also in the same issue a companion paper “Bootstrapping the Mind: Analogical Processes and Symbol Systems” by Dedre Gentner.

For many centuries, philosophers and scientists have pondered the origins and nature of human intuitions about the properties of points, lines, and figures on the Euclidean plane, with most hypothesizing that a system of Euclidean concepts either is innate or is assembled by general learning processes. Recent research from cognitive and developmental psychology, cognitive anthropology, animal cognition, and cognitive neuroscience suggests a different view. Knowledge of geometry may be founded on at least two distinct, evolutionarily ancient, core cognitive systems for representing the shapes of large-scale, navigable surface layouts and of small-scale, movable forms and objects. (1)

Stephan, Klaas Enno, et al. Mechanisms of Hemispheric Specialization. Neuropsychologia. 45/2, 2007. Neuroimaging studies of asymmetrical degrees of connectivity amongst bilateral brain areas provide a novel approach to their understanding. In a target test to sort detail and field, the left hemisphere would notice a highlighted letter in a word and phrase, while the right tended to the overall spatial array.

Tadic, Bosiljka, et al. Functional Geometry of Human Connectomes. Nature Scientific Reports. 9/12060, 2019. Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia systems physicists (search BT) and a Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada mathematician apply sophisticated network theories to cerebral studies via an expansion to and emphasis upon inherent, generative topologies, aka simplical complexes (Bianconi). In regard, they serve to inclusion of previously unnoticed patterns and processes, which in this neural instance reveals a deeper degree of intra- and inter-hemispheric connectivities. Building on a Hungarian brain atlas (Szalkai), neuroimages of equal male and female subjects finds that women’s brains possess a denser intricacy, as the quotes note. See also Hidden Geometries in Networks Arising from Cooperative Self-Assembly by Mulovan Suvakov, et al in this journal (8/1987, 2018).

Mapping brain imaging data to networks, where nodes represent anatomical regions and edges indicate the occurrence of fiber tracts between them, has enabled an objective graph-theoretic analysis of human connectomes. However, the latent structure on higher-order interactions remains unexplored, where many brain regions act in synergy to perform complex functions. Here we use the simplicial complexes description, where the shared simplexes encode higher-order relationships between groups of nodes. We study consensus connectome of 100 female (F-connectome) and of 100 male (M-connectome) subjects that we generated from the Budapest Reference Connectome Server. These results shed new light on the functional architecture of the brain, suggesting that insightful differences among connectomes are hidden in their higher-order connectivity. (Abstract)

To summarise, our study reveals how the functional geometry of human connectome can be expressed by higher-order connectivity, simplicial complexes and induced cycles. This kind of structure is built into the anatomical communities of the brain at the mesoscopic scale in both hemispheres. In this context, new topological measures of the consensus networks quantifies the perceptive differences between connectomes. Specifically, in the studied female and male consensus connectomes, a part of connections is more natural to invoke in the female than in the male brain, where much more fibres need to be launched to identify them. Whereas the other fraction of such connections consists of edges that appear exclusively in the consensus female connectome, they have not been identified in the consensus male connectome. (9)

TenHouten, Warren. Time and Society. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. From studies of Australian Aborigines and European-Australians, the UCLA biosociologist proposes a complementarity based on bicameral brain hemispheres. As noted in the quotes, this neural basis can define two modes of time perception and subsequent social culture. A recapitulation between individual brain maturation and the course of history is tacitly evident, for both proceed from an initial holistic milieu to a later, longer particulate stage. (Now poised at the verge of a worldwide humankind, an emergent reciprocity of both phases would seem a salutary resolve.)

It is proposed that the ordinary-linear mode of time consciousness is an aspect of the logical-analytic, serial mode of information processing of the left side of the brain, and patterned-cyclical time consciousness of the gestalt-synthetic, global, and simultaneous information processing of the right side of the brain. (7) The RH maintains in the present a spatial-cognitive model of our surroundings, a global awareness of the web of life, of the patterns, processes, and oscillations of nature and culture; it is a worldview, a dynamically interrelated basic cognitive structure that is collectively held and constantly updated. (75)

Insofar as the left and right sides of the brain are involved in spatial and linear-temporal information processing, respectively, we see a process of development first of RH-dependent spatial reasoning and second of LH-dependent temporal reasoning. (79) In the development of the human, the right hemisphere develops earlier than does the left hemisphere, which is not a new phenomenon with humans but rather has a long evolutionary history and exists in other species as well. (116)

Thatcher, Robert. Cyclic Cortical Reorganization: Origins of Human Cognitive Development. Geraldine Dawson and Kurt Fischer, eds. Human Behavior and the Developing Brain. New York: Guilford Press, 1994. A discussion of the prime properties and formative sequence of the bicameral brain.

It is argued that the left-hemisphere expanding sequence reflects a process of functional integration of differentiated subsystems, whereas the right-hemisphere contracting sequence is a process of functional differentiation of previously integrated subsystems. These left- and right-hemisphere cycles are repeated throughout the life span and are postulated to represent a process that iteratively narrows the gap between structure and function by slowly sculpting and refining the microanatomy of the brain. (232-33)

Thompson, Valerie. Towards a Metacognitive Dual Process Theory of Conditional Reasoning. Oaksford, Mike and Nick Chater, eds. Cognition and Conditionals: Probability and Logic in Human Thinking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. In this chapter, the University of Saskatchewan psychologist succinctly contributes to growing realizations of these archetypal complements. But once again, and in the next chapter “A Multi-layered Dual-Process Approach to Conditional Reasoning” by Niki Verschueren and Walter Schaeken, in this approach they are yet to be connected with their obvious brain hemispheres.

Dual-Process Theories have emerged as the dominant theoretical framework for human reasoning and decision making. These theories commonly assume that reasoning and decision making are accomplished by the joint action of two types of processes: Automatic system 1 processes give rise to a highly contextualized representation of the problem and produce rapid, heuristic (experienced-based, common sense) answers. System 2 implements more deliberate, decontextualized analytic processes.

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