Chapter 42 RIGHT BRAIN


Mind making “appears to be a function of the right hemisphere.”  (siegel/tdm/199)

“…creative, synthetic, emotional, intuitive, and nonconscious patterns…(siegel/tdm/178)”

”In contrast, the right hemisphere is proposed to be more “acceptive” – that is, receptive and self-regulatory….[and]… mediates “withdrawal” in social situations and is more involved in attentive and reflective states, mediated by activity of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline.  (siegel/tdm/175)”

“…the dorsal stream of information (dominant on the right side) involves spatial and context representations that rely on a “feedforward” or projectional mode of motor control, which activates arousal of attention and memory processes in response to novel situations and favors “impulsive” or spontaneous behavioral output.  Such a projectional mode is also thought to involve representations of the future.  This dorsal stream incorporates information from the body itself (autonomic activity and the state of viscera and smooth muscles), which makes it “well suited to evaluate stimuli for their motivational significance in relation to internal states. (quoting someone)”  (siegle/tdm/176)”

“…the right hemisphere plays a dominant role in autonoetic consciousness, which involves a sense of self (internal states, state of the body), context and time as these can be represented in the past and projected into the future.  The predominance of the dorsal stream in the right hemisphere in this way establishes the motivational formation that drives the creation of autonoetic representations of the self through time.  (Siegel/tdm/176)”

“In the right hemisphere are fast-acting, parallel (simultaneously active), holistic processes.  The right side specializes in representations such as sensations, images, and the nonverbal polysemantic (multiple) meanings of words.  These nonverbal representations are often called “analogic.”  Visuospatial perception is an example of such an analogic function specialized on the right side.  (siegel/tdm/179)”

“The right hemisphere is dominant [in infancy] for the prosodic aspect of “motherese” and appears to be more involved in acceptive, receptive, and self-regulatory motor activity.  (tdm/179)”

“…the right is motivated for internally focused attention and action…. (tdm/180)”

“On the right is the internal world of the mind – both of the self and of the other – as the primary subject of memory representations within episodic memory and social cognition. The “theory of mind,” or capacity for “mindsight” and for representing mental states of others and the self, is the stuff of right-hemisphere representations.  Intentions, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, memories, and feeling are represented in analogic forms that are not easily reduced to digital packets of information.  (siegl/tdm/180)”

“…the right hemisphere appears to be primarily responsible for the reading of social and emotional cues from other people, and for the (siegle/tdm/181) external expression of affect by the individual.  For example, the left side of the face, controlled preferentially by the right side of the brain, has been shown to express more emotion that the other side.…attentional mechanisms may be dependent on the right prefrontal cortex….Anatomically, the right side has a slightly higher density of neuronal interconnections that the left….what is particularly fascinating is that the right cortex also contains a more integrated somatosensory representation of the body, including the state of tension of the boy’s voluntary muscles and positions of the arms and legs.  This finding, plus the presence of representational input from the body’s viscera (heart, lungs, intestines) – the somatic markers – in the right orbitofrontal cortex, suggests that the right hemisphere is more capable of having a sense of the body’s state.  It may indeed be the right hemisphere that is capable of sensing a “gut reaction” to something.  Emotions are directly influenced by the right brain’s representations of the body’s changing states.  The sensations experienced as visceral representations in the right hemisphere may be quite difficult to translate into the words of the left hemisphere.  The “language of the right hemisphere,” the nonverbal representations, may be a more direct means of both being aware of and expressing primary emotional reactions.

The right hemisphere, via the orbitofrontal cortex, also appears to be more capable than the left hemisphere of regulating states of bodily arousal.  This suggests that whatever factors directly impinge on right-hemisphere processing, such as bodily input or nonverbal emotional expressions in the voices, body signals, and facial reactions of others, may have a direct impact on a person’s own emotional state before the involvement of a linguistically based consciousness or a rational, linear analysis of an ongoing experience.

The right brain will thus be more immediately involved in the registration of the somatic markers that make up part of an emotional experience.  Control of the body’s response will also be located primarily on the right side.  For these reasons, primary emotions – the textured emotional states resulting from initial orientation, appraisal, and arousal – are likely to be experienced more immediately and intensely on the right than on the left. (siegel/tdm/182)”

“…the right hemisphere is able to generate and experience more intense emotion than the left.  States of high arousal, ranging from intense joy to rage, are thought to be products of the right hemisphere.  (siegel/tdm/183)”

“Studies have suggested that negative, uncomfortable emotions are the products of the right hemisphere.  For example, patients with overactive right-sided functioning may experience intense sadness, anger, or anxiety.  ….”  “might call the right hemisphere pessimistic…” (siegel/tdm/183)”

“…emotions producing avoidance are processed on the right.”  Tdm/183

“…basic emotions include both primary and categorical emotions…are the value responses to internal or external events and are (siegle/tdm/183) thought to be products of the right hemisphere.  In this view, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise, interest/excitement, enjoyment/joy, and shame are all part of the right hemisphere’s processing….the right is biased toward internal mental experience.  Spontaneous motor output, the direct expression of internal states via affective signals, is a product of the right hemisphere.  (siegelt/dm/184)”

“Facial recognition centers are primarily in the right hemisphere.  What this suggests is that right-hemisphere “reality,” its constructed representational world, will contain the information derived from the emotional states of others.  The right hemisphere’s language is one of nonverbal sensation and images.  In sum, the general impression of the right hemisphere as being “more emotional” is somewhat oversimplified; it is more accurate to state that the emotional experience in the right hemisphere may be more attuned to the emotional states of others.  The right hemisphere’s nonverbal representations involve the essence of affect….(siegel/tdm/185)”

“…right hemisphere, which has been proposed to mediate withdrawal behavior.  In the face of novelty, such activation may lead to a turning inward and avoidance of engaging in the world.  Recall that the dorsal corticolimbic pathway is dominant in the right hemisphere, and that this pathway is involved in orienting to novel stimuli, the activation of internal self-regulatory mechanisms, the representation of the self and the body, and the “feedforward” representation of the future.  As we put these elements together here, we can propose that an individual with an overly active dorsal pathway/right hemisphere early in life may experience not only increased attention and reactivity to novel situations, but also representations of the self in distress, which may create further caution and withdrawal.  As such a child matures, the active representation of the future within the dorsal stream may extend such a cautious stance as the mind attempts to anticipate the world of uncertainty by matching actual experiences with well-elaborated expectations…. (siegel/tdm/196)”  [he is talking about shy children]

Once we gain language ability, which is slower, the right brain preserves and retains the ability to rapidly process information from the body and the external world while the left brain can develop its more complex processing abilities (siegel/tdm/196 – not direct quote)

“The right brain appears to be able to perceive patterns within a holistic framework, noting spatial arrangements that the left is unable to sense.  The right brain is able to create the gist or context of experiences and the overall meaning of events.  The nonverbal “language” of the right hemisphere is based on sensations and images.  These rapidly associated images give us a more direct and immediate representation of the world and of ourselves.  This gives us a perceptual advantage:  We can perceive the world for “how it is” from a bottom-up perspective. (siegel/tdm/197)”

“…the right hemisphere is better equipped to deal with interregional integration.  That is, the right hemisphere has more associational links, integrating information within the right brain in a “horizontal fashion” across modalities and attaining a contextual pattern of the world.  The right hemisphere has a greater capacity for dealing with context and informational complexity and for integrating across various modes of representations (such as sight, sound, and touch) within a single effort or task.  Some consider that the right hemisphere is in this way better equipped to perform parallel processing.  (siegel/tdm/198)”

“the right hemisphere…is designed for newly assembled responses to novel stimuli. (siegel/tdm/198)

timeless, nonverbal mode of constructing reality” (siegel.tdm.199)

“The right hemisphere…is filled with polysemantic images of the world, perceptions of others’ emotions, sensations of the body, and holistic patterns of intuitive insights that often defy words.  These mental representations are context-dependent, filled with horizontal, multilayered associations to a wide array of bodily sensations, sense of self and other, autobiographical memories, and emotional meaning.  There is often no easy way for the right hemisphere to “speak,” especially if only the left hemisphere of oneself or another is listening.  (siegel/tdm/204)”

“The right hemisphere specializes in the representation of context and of mentalizing capacities.  It is therefore uniquely capable of registering and expressing affective facial expressions, developing a “theory of mind,” registering and regulating the state of the body, and having autobiographical representations.  (siegel/tdm/205)”

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