25 February 2011

Novelty & the expected

  • The right hemisphere processes novelty whereas the left deals with what it knows and so the left prioritises the expected. 
  • The right hemisphere is vigilant while the left hemisphere is predictive. 
  • New skills are learned in the right hemisphere and then move to the left hemisphere when they become more well practiced. 
  • The left hemisphere is drawn by its expectations while the right hemisphere works better whenever initial assumptions need to be revised or when there is a need to distinguish old information from new material that may be consistent with it. 
  • The right hemisphere is more capable of a frame shift, which is especially important for flexibility of thought. (Damaged right hemispheres lead to preservation, a pathological inability to respond to changing situations.) 
  • The right frontal cortex "is responsible for inhibiting one's immediate response, and hence for flexibility and set shifting; as well as the power of inhibiting immediate response to environmental stimuli." (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 41). 
  • The left hemisphere fits things into an already generated schema whereas the right hemisphere is actively watching for discrepancies and plays the devil's advocate. 
  • The right hemisphere works to keep options open while the left hemisphere takes the single solution that seems best to fit what it knows and latches on to it. 
  • Efforts of will tend to focus attention, and thus efforts of will tend to favor the left hemisphere whereas relaxing the effort to produce something favors the right hemisphere, because it broadens attention and expands the attentional field. 

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