The Right Mind: Making Sense of the Hemispheres


Twenty-five years after his bestselling "The Psychology of Consciousness", Robert Ornstein gives new insight into how the brain really works. In a brilliant and short book, the psychologist makes sense of the right brain/left brain controversy. Ornstein maintains that differences between left and right are not unique to humans--they occur even at the molecular level and turn up throughout evolution.
Library Journal (06/01/1997):
The author of 25 books, including the best-selling The Psychology of Consciousness (LJ 5/1/73), Ornstein here sums up what we know about the brain today.
Most of the popular literature instructing readers to draw on the right side of their brains in an attempt to improve creativity lacks sound scientific foundation, according to Ornstein (The Psychology of Consciousness) in this compact volume. While the brain's two hemispheres indeed have different strengths, the dichotomy that is usually depicted is a gross overstatement. Instead, contends Ornstein, the hemispheres complement one another, and well-adjusted people need to utilize both. In an extended metaphor, Ornstein argues that the left hemisphere helps us understand the text of our lives while the right provides the context. Both are crucial: "Bear right!' means something different in the woods than in the suburbs." By relating snippets of case studies in an attempt to demonstrate how the brain functions, Ornstein's work resembles that of Oliver Sacks, especially when discussing how language is processed and misprocessed. Elsewhere, Ornstein investigates the relationship of handedness (left or right) to brain organization. Ironically, given his subject, Ornstein does not provide ample context for some of his thoughtful explorations. The book's brevity comes at the price of a paucity of explanation and an incomplete picture of the "hemisphere debate" to which it is a direct response. Patient readers, however, will find his first-person observations and researched material food for thought--on both sides of nature's most magnificent organ. (Oct.)

Marc Notes:
Includes bibliographical references (p. [185]-194) and index.

Publisher Marketing:
In this accessible and provocative book, (Kirkus Reviews), the author of The Psychology of Consciousness cuts through the confusion around the right brain-left brain theory. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations.

Review Citations:
Library Journal Prepub Alert 06/01/1997 pg. 82 (EAN 9780151003242, Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly 09/08/1997 pg. 68 (EAN 9780151003242, Hardcover)
Kirkus Reviews 08/15/1997 pg. 1287 (EAN 9780151003242, Hardcover)
Wilson Public Library Catalog 01/01/1999 pg. 10 (EAN 9780151003242, Hardcover)
Library Journal 06/01/1997 (EAN 9780151003242, Hardcover)

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