Continued from Part 2.A side view of the brain reveals the top and bottom parts, which are demarcated largely by the Sylvian fissure, the large crease named for Franciscus Sylvanus, the 17th-century Dutch anatomist who first described it. The top brain consists of the parietal lobe and the top (and larger) part of the frontal lobe. The bottom brain includes the remainder of the frontal lobe and the occipital and temporal lobes. Until the 20th century, the importance of this division went largely unnoticed.
Continued from Part 1. In writing Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights Into How You Think, we invested time in exploring the reasons for the enduring popularity of the left brain/right brain story, which holds that that individuals are either are either logical/analytical or artistic/intuitive based on the “strength” of the brain’s cerebral hemispheres. We knew from daily life that the story was deep-rooted in popular culture -- but were surprised by the astounding selection of books, stories, videos, tests, self-help programs, toys and even “essence therapy” devoted to left brain/right brain story. Try a Google search to see for yourself. You could spend hours on the results.
It will come as no news to those with an interest in neuroscience and psychology that misconceptions and myths about the brain have proliferated since time immemorial (and persist in the modern era, as we will discuss in Part 2). The ancient Egyptians thought so little of the brain that they discarded it when mummifying the body in preparation for eternal life. Aristotle believed the brain existed only to cool the blood. Hippocrates got a bit further -- but only a bit -- with his general observation in “On the Sacred Disease” that the brain is the seat of emotion, pain and anxiety.
Modern medicine struggles with understanding and treating dementia and many other ailments of the mind. Mounting evidence now suggests that music may be the key to unlocking the mysteries and memories of the mind.
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