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let's talk SCIENCE

THREE KEY INSIGHTS

A solid grounding in science helps clarify why our coaching is so grounded in conceptualizing — versus analyzing — your situation and your success pictures. Working with the right brain this way helps us access new and better pathways while it progressively builds a new and better brain along the way.

 

Here's some of the research that explains why that is. Note: As you read the following, it's important to understand that both hemispheres are actively contributing something at all times. Therefore our task is understanding how and when they each contribute what they do.

1. Your right brain plays a key role in activating neuroplastic progress

Your brain is built for efficiency. It needs default settings to reference day-to-day. It also needs a system for encountering and integrating new information. This is a key principle of neuroplasticity. Here's how your brain accomplishes it:

 

Your brain has a Default Mode Network (DMN) and Salient Network (SN), which more or less represent your brain's default operations (including your thoughts, beliefs, etc). Both of these networks are highly lateralized left.(1) Your left brain stays fast and efficient by constantly referencing its own networks.(2)

 

The right brain, on the other hand, interests itself primarily in new and emerging information. To assess what is new, it networks extensively with the whole brain. This is probably why your central executive network (CEN) is mostly lateralized right(1) — its job is to help you evaluate and make decisions and it needs access to the greatest possible scope of information. It achieves this through networking. When your right brain sees or senses fresh information that is important for future reference, the right hemisphere comes alive with robust networking dynamics across the CEN, SN, and DMN. (1) The more new information you learn, the more updated the default networks in your left brain become, so you have increasing access to the insights. 

Note: Conscious exposure to the felt senses we're looking for (e.g., peace, satisfaction, confidence, ease, etc.) provide our DMN with pathways to use for future reference. 

See the research 

(1) Causal Interactions between Froto-Parietal Central Executive and Default Mode Networks in Humans (via PubMed)

(2) Two Distinct Forms of Functional Lateralization in the Human Brain (via PNAS)

2. Your right brain is a powerhouse for imagination, future thinking and solutions

To navigate future situations effectively, we have to be able to imagine scenarios, simulate outcomes and reference these simulated experiences at later times. When we take the time to see the picture we're working with, we recruit our brain's powerhouse for big-picture awareness: the right brain.

 

Research consistently demonstrates that imagination — and specifically mental imagery — is highly lateralized right.(3)(4)(5)(6) When measuring brain activity during imagination and future thinking, structures in the right cortex and hippocampus are regularly identified to have stronger networking dynamics.(3) In fact, damage to the right hemisphere directly correlates with difficulties generating detailed future simulations, suggesting the right brain is critical to executing this function.(3) 

Note: It's easy to understand why "a picture is worth a thousand words" when we understand that our picture-making software is in our right hemisphere, where our broadest networking is done.

See the research 

(3) The Hippocampus and Imagining the Future: Where Do We Stand? (via PubMed)

(4) The Right Hemisphere Maintains Solution-Related Activation for Yet-To-Be-Solved Problems (via PubMed)

(5) Hemispheric Asymmetry in Visual Mental Imagery (via PubMed)

(6) Lateralization of Brain Activation to Imagination... (via JCAT) 

3.  Your left brain is your powerhouse for narratives

For all the myths that abound about left and right brain function, the consensus understanding is that language and imagery are highly lateralized. Research demonstrates that our right brain excels at processing imagery, whether in our mind's eye or around us. (2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7) whereas our left hemisphere contributes more to language and speech. (2)(7)(8)  In fact, new research from 2022 shows that during speech, input from the right brain is actively inhibited.  

Note: The emerging research into right-brain inhibition during speech processing is super exciting and we'll be following developments!

See the research 

(1) Causal Interactions between Froto-Parietal Central Executive and Default Mode Networks in Humans (via PubMed)

(2) Two Distinct Forms of Functional Lateralization in the Human Brain (via PNAS)

(3) The Hippocampus and Imagining the Future: Where Do We Stand? (via PubMed)

(4) The Right Hemisphere Maintains Solution-Related Activation for Yet-To-Be-Solved Problems (via PubMed)

(5) Hemispheric Asymmetry in Visual Mental Imagery (via PubMed)

(6) Lateralization of Brain Activation to Imagination... (via JCAT) 

(7) An Evaluation of The Left Brain vs RIght Brain Hypothesis (via PLOS)

(8) Corpus Callosum Found to Switch off Right Hemisphere During Speech (via Neuroscience News)

WholeBrain
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William James

“The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy."

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