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Little known facts about how your brain worksby Dr. Fred BremnerI'm going to teach you at least two new things this morning. You will be some of the few people in the world who know them. That's part of the excitement of being a scientist. In fact, sometimes when I know something that I've discovered in the laboratory I wait a day or two before I tell anyone because that makes me the only person in the world who knows it.And even some of the people who already know what I'm going to tell you this morning don't believe what it is that I am going to tell you.
When I have explained to you the two concepts about the way in which the brain works, you will intuitively know that I am right. It is so logical and so right that once I have explained it to you, you will say, "Yes, Dr. Bremner told me the absolute truth. What he found in the laboratory is, indeed, correct."In the classic research that won the Nobel Prize, a number of persons had their brains divided in half, and scientists found that the right brain and the left brain perceive the world differently.There are bridges that connect the two halves of the brain. One bridge was cut in those early experiments, in the hopes that this would help these patients overcome epilepsy.There are three things you have to remember about that data. The number of people who had that operation is considerably less than 100. Secondly, they were sick. They were abnormal. They had a serious, debilitating disease. And they were heavily on drugs of one kind or another, which were used to manipulate their brains to prevent the epilepsy. A good many of them after the surgery were still on drugs.This means that while this data is very exciting, it is from an abnormal population. It is not from normal folks.Whenever we have attempted to test that information in normal people the outcome has not been anywhere near as reproducible or reliable.For one thing it is very difficult to test that information in normal people because, contrary to the split brain cases, the two hemispheres are always talking to each other. You cannot isolate them. How quickly do they talk to each other? Probably one one-thousandth of one second. So it is very difficult to isolate left-brain phenomena from right-brain phenomena.Whenever you are dealing with any kind of information, you always use both sides of your brain. The literature has tried to lead us to believe that you only use one side exclusively. You always use both sides.Many times you don't listen to one side.Our educational system has taught us often not to listen to the right, or intuitive, side.The research that has held up is that the left side is verbal. I think you can hang your hat on that. And by and large, the left side of the brain controls the right side of your body physically.Now once you have said that the left side is verbal, and the right side is barely verbal if at all, you have said a lot of other things. That is, in order for the left side to be verbal, it must be sequential. It cannot be verbal and not be sequential. You cannot saywordsalltogether. You have to be sequential. Secondly, if you are being verbal, you must be logical.So the right side does not have that sequential and logical quality.What's the new late research? How do we try and figure out about the two sides of the brain?Here is the motif that we have used. We have taken human subjects, fastened EEG electrodes on the scalp, and we have looked at the EEG while they were doing cognitive tasks and while they were meditating, or going to level.What do you find?You find that the amount of alpha, when you are at level, is higher than the amount of alpha when you are doing a cognitive task. The cognitive task in this case was a very complicated video game - an insidious video game that you cannot beat, because the better you get, the better the computer makes the game. There is no way you can beat it. But if you try to beat it, it makes you work very strongly, using your cognitive ability.This is a typical finding: that the amount of alpha will be different, depending on the task.If you ask a straightforward question when you are doing a cognitive task, is there a difference in the EEG response between the left and the right sides of the brain? There is no statistical difference. That is the typical finding.This has been very puzzling to scientists. In the split brain people, when you put them in certain psychological tests, the left side is different from the right side. If you look at the EEG in that same kind of cognitive task between the left side and the right side, you do not find that difference.If you look in a meditational sequence, subjects at level, you don't see a difference between the right side and the left side.Let me show you what you do find, and this is what I'm going to teach you. If you don't learn anything else out of this lecture, this is an important point:If you compare the data from the EEG readings while doing a cognitive task, and while at level, looking at the readings from each brain hemisphere and comparing them to each other, you see a big difference. We call that kind of comparison, in psychology and science, an interaction.What that means is, the difference in the EEG data is caused by two things: in this case, the effect of the difference between the tasks, and the difference from which electrode you are recording.So it is the electrode location and the task. That is how you will see the laterality difference of the sides of the brain when it is processing.It is not a single event.So it turns out that you can see the laterality difference that was brought about by the split-brain research if you look at it as an interaction.Now stop and think about that. Don't you really believe that the functioning of your brain is caused by more than one thing, more than one variable?We are all different. My EEG is as different from yours as my fingerprints are different from yours.The second point is, you cannot do this research by taking my EEG and Dr. McKenzie's EEG and Jose Silva's EEG and adding them together and then saying "This is the average Silva Mind Control EEG." My EEG is my EEG, and it is as different as my fingerprints are.It would be like taking all of the fingerprints of all the criminals in the United States and adding them up, and then go looking for the "average criminal."The scientific community is just barely catching on to that. As exciting as the 1972 research that we did for Silva Mind Control was, this is one of the things that was wrong with it. We took the EEG of ten Silva trained folks and added them up and said, "Look, we found some differences."Well, we did find some differences. We were lucky, because one thing I found in that study and never published, because I didn't understand it, was that the data from the Silva trained folks was different from the folks trained in biofeedback. The reason it was different is that the Silva trained folks were more irregular as a group. I didn't know what to do with that in 1972.But again, intuitively, isn't that right? Because we are all individuals, we all have different visualizations when we go to level. Some visualize in colors, some do not. We have different places of relaxation.When you do something with biofeedback, you have a tendency to make everybody do the same thing.That is not what we want, is it? Yes, we want a technique to help us, but you don't want to all look alike. You want to preserve your individuality.The two things to remember: One, the difference in the laterality of the EEG, to show the sides of the brain, is an interaction. Two, you must do this one subject at a time. You cannot add up ten people's EEGs and say what it means.When scientists tell you that you can't see the laterality effect, or that meditation training makes no difference, it is basically because they are not doing it right.(The previous is excerpted from a presentation made by Dr. Bremner, a long time consultant to Jose Silva, to a Silva group in 1984.)