Reply To: Inhibitory neurons at play between L+R prefrontal cortex

  • Whit Blauvelt

    April 28, 2023 at 3:26 pm


    What jumps out to me in this research is the centrality of the inhibitory neurons. McGilchrist mentions in his books that the corpus callosum has more such connections between the hemispheres than it does excitatory. (It’s unclear from the write up here whether these long neuronal connections are through the corpus callosum, more more direct; but that’s not central to the finding.) So to learn, we need to break from habit. Evidently either hemisphere’s “executive” frontal lobes will continue on the path of habit unless the other hemisphere jumps in to inhibit it. (Frustratingly the authors aren’t differentiating hemispheres, at least in their gloss here.)

    Mindfulness, too, is at least in part learning to inhibit habituated responses, so as to look more freshly at the world. To stay on the path of mindfulness, then, may require either hemisphere to regularly inhibit the other’s tendency to settle into habit. McGilchrist argues that the RH is far better monitor of the LH that vice versa; but perhaps this inhibitory potential is potent in both directions?

    Much as I find the suggestion of “free won’t,” which follows from Libet’s claims, generally overdone, the research reported here does suggest something similar — that inhibition of one hemisphere’s “executive function” at appropriate occasions is a key to our freedom and response ability to newness in the world.