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senior lecturer in psychiatry Tel Aviv University.


From my point of view, the most stimulating discoveries in brain science during the last decade are new data about the development and function of the right frontal lobe. It is the last region to be matured and it means that this structure is responsible for the highest human mental functions, like the formation of self-image, creativity, polysemantic thinking, empathy. These functions, even more than verbal communication, discriminate humans from the great apes and are at least on the same level of importance as consciousness. A comfortable integration in the polydimensional world as the main condition for mental and somatic health is based on these functions of the right frontal brain, and its functional deficiency is a pathogenetic mechanism of many mental and psychosomatic disorders.

The right frontal and prefrontal integrative structures may be responsible for the extremely high compensative skills of the brain. It was shown that congenitally blind subjects display almost similar performance in tasks on visual imagery as sighted subjects. Spatial knowledge and metric properties are preserved in congenitally blind subjects. They have capabilities to generate visual-spatial images. Dream reports of the congenitally blind subjects are vivid with visual content and they are able to carry a drawing of dream scenes. Such visualisation without previous visual experience indicates the existence of visual imagery independent of visual perception, and suggests the formation of the alternative functional brain system for integrating other sensory modalities to produce images capable of graphical representations. I suppose that such brain system is related to the peculiarity of the right frontal brain functions.