Friday, June 17, 2005

The grass is greener on this side of the brain

A podcast of "Studio 360" the other day drew my attention to a fascinating recent study of the brain: Some U.S. scientists believe they've located a place in our heads that is the main player in helping us to understand human metaphors and proverbs -- things that may have a literal meaning, but also have a universal one. The researchers say that some stroke victims they questioned were unable to understand, say, that "all that glitters is not gold" can mean much, much more to us than mere jewelry shopping advice, and that "reaching for the stars" doesn't require stretching out your arms at night.

Apparently, only a small place in these subjects' brains was affected by the stroke -- a small area above and behind the left ear -- and as a result, they offered very basic, literal interpretations of these sayings that can be important elements of our human world, our art and culture, our literature and language, our heritage.

1 comment:

Zuzu said...

The same is true for victims of severe emotional trauma...people who have experienced repeated abuse or violence have similar damage in their brains.

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