Right-brain boom

01/01/1960View on timeline


Cerebral self-help bestsellers reproduced and exploited the right-brain boom that emerged during the 1960s in the context of counterculture movements [...].


As we have seen, the notion of a divided mind, embodied in a divided brain in conflict with itself, goes back to Wigan and others in the nineteenth century. After Broca, the left hemisphere came to be considered superior because it was seen as responsible for the intellectual, civilized activities predominant in white European males, while the right one was thought to dominate in women, criminals, Indians, blacks, madmen, and homosexuals (Harrington 1987).

Cerebral self-help bestsellers reproduced and exploited the right-brain boom that emerged during the 1960s in the context of counterculture movements, but they also made use of the split-brain research mentioned above, which could itself give room to Wigan (the neurophysiologist Joseph Bogen [1971, 1985] reprinted The Duality of Mind and described his own position as “neowiganism”). The self-help market is full of titles relating the right hemisphere to the most varied phenomena, from the classification of artists, musicians, politicians, and dictators according to their cerebral “orientation” to tantric sexuality, mediumistic capacities, and other paranormal activities supposedly enabled by the right brain (Capacchione 2001, Ehrenwald 1984, Spotts and Atkins 1999, Wells 1989). 

Since the late 1960s, several authors in the area of education have insisted on the countless advantages of a school that would focus on the right brain and have criticized traditional pedagogy for its emphasis on left-hemisphere capabilities (Edwards 1979, Gainer and Gainer 1977, Hunter 1976). Such proposals for a “hemispheric balance in the curriculum” that would avoid the didactic failures of left-brain educational programs hark back to nineteenth-century pedagogical crusades and revive many of the assumptions of Brown-Séquard in France and the Ambidextral Culture Society in the United Kingdom.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

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Published in 9/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 1: Genealogy of the Cerebral Subject:


Invalid DateBeyond the Brain, by David BrooksBeyond the Brain, by David Brooks
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Invalid DateThe Ethical Brain, by GazzanigaThe Ethical Brain, by Gazzaniga
Invalid DateCan neuroscience be integrated into the DSM-V?, by Steven HymanCan neuroscience be integrated into the DSM-V?, by Steven Hyman
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Invalid DateCompletion of the Human Genome ProjectCompletion of the Human Genome Project
Invalid DateNeurochemical Selves, by Nikolas RoseNeurochemical Selves, by Nikolas Rose
Invalid DateIdentity, Identification, and the Brain, by Emily MartinIdentity, Identification, and the Brain, by Emily Martin
Invalid DateThomas Insel appointed head of the new life sciences unit of AlphabetThomas Insel appointed head of the new life sciences unit of Alphabet
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Invalid DateTechnologies of the Self, by Michel FoucaultTechnologies of the Self, by Michel Foucault
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Invalid DateReal People: Personal Identity Without Thought Experiments, by Kathleen WilkesReal People: Personal Identity Without Thought Experiments, by Kathleen Wilkes
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Invalid DateHarvard Medical School landmark reportHarvard Medical School landmark report
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Invalid DateAnalytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul, by Charles Bonnet
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Invalid DatePhrenologyPhrenology
Invalid DateThe case of Tan, studied by Paul BrocaThe case of Tan, studied by Paul Broca
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Invalid DateCybernetics
Invalid DateFirst human electroencephalogram (EEG) recordedFirst human electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded
Invalid DateNeuroplasticity
Invalid DateJonathon Keats copyrights his brain
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Invalid DateFirst Book in Physiology and Hygiene, by John Harvey KelloggFirst Book in Physiology and Hygiene, by John Harvey Kellogg
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Invalid DateThe New Thought or Mind Cure Movement
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Invalid DateRight-brain boom
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