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Show 1265: The Advantages of Whole Brain Living

Show 1265: The Advantages of Whole Brain Living

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Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroanatomist who gained exceptional insights into the function of the whole brain from her stroke and recovery.

Is it true that we only use 10 percent of our brains? That seems to be a myth, along with the relegation of logic to the left brain and emotion to the right. How can we engage in whole brain living?

How a Stroke Led to Insights:

Years ago, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor suffered a devastating hemorrhagic stroke. It affected much of the left hemisphere of her brain. Although she was speechless and unable to move the right side of her body, her experience of unity with the universe was awe-inspiring.

With a great deal of effort over a very long time, Dr. Taylor made a complete recovery. That in itself is nearly miraculous. It defies conventional wisdom that recovery from a stroke plateaus after about six months and suggests doctors should not underestimate a stroke patient’s potential for recovery.

Her Perspective on the Whole Brain:

As a neuroanatomist, she has a unique perspective on her experience, and it caused her to reflect on how the various parts of our brain function separately and together. Her first book, My Stroke of Insight, is a memoir of her experience. She followed this remarkable best-seller with her most recent work, Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life.

Left Brain/Right Brain/Whole Brain:

By now, most of us have heard that the left and right hemispheres have different functions. However, our usual conceptions are oversimplified. According to Dr. Taylor, both the left and the right sides of the brain have rational and emotional aspects. They do differ, however. Getting them to work in unison is the challenge of whole brain living.

This Week's Guest:

Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., is a Harvard trained and published neuroanatomist, affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Taylor is the national spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Brain Bank). She is one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008, and her TED talk 'My Stroke of Insight' was the first TED talk to go viral on the internet. Dr. Taylor is the author of the memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientists Personal Journey. Her most recent book is Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life.

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