“Whole brain” politics and brain laterality research

  • Anne Harrington
  • Godehard Oepen
Original Articles


The paper discusses a recent international conference in Munich (FRG) on brain-laterality research. An open letter on the goals of the conference is considered. In this letter, the “automatic” moral and intellectual decay of “left brain” modern society was predicted, and a clarion call for the reinsertion of “whole brain” values into our over-mechanized culture was sounded. Discussion of the conference itself focuses on the political and social risks involved in selling irrationalist ideologies — even well-meaning ones — in the name of science. The paper calls for a more responsible attitude among modern brain-laterality researchers who would participate in scientific conferences that blur the distinction between description and social prescription.

Key words

“Whole brain” politics Brain-laterality research Right hemisphere Irrationalism Ideology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Harrington
    • 1
  • Godehard Oepen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of the History of ScienceHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Psychiatrische UniversitätsklinikUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgFederal Republic of Germany

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