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Stroke of insight

Jill Bolte Taylor


to disintegrate or wear away

Curl up into a ball

a false belief or opinion


an grouping or occurrence of differe

nt elements or fragments in
unlikely or unexpected

Moment of transition

to sit or lie in a position with your

arms and legs close to your body


a point of change


doing something in a way that

bodily position, weight, or
movement of the muscles, tendons,
and joints are used.


intended for or likely to be

understood by only a small number
of people with a specialized
knowledge or interest.


a place of perfect peace and

happiness; the highest state that
someone can attain


a mental disorder often characterized

by abnormal social behavior and
failure to recognize what is real

I. What motivated Taylor to study neuroanatomy?
A Her undergraduate advisors stroke

B Her brothers schizophrenia

C A hefty scholarship from a benefactor in her hometown

D The death her favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Sr., from a basilar skull fracture

II. According to Taylor, what are the differences between right- and left-brain functions?

Left brain logic, details

Right brain consciousness, the big picture

The right hemisphere functions like a parallel processor, while our left hemisphere functions like
a serial processor. Our right human hemisphere is all about this present moment. It's all about
"right here, right now." Our right hemisphere, it thinks in pictures and it learns kinesthetically
through the movement of our bodies. My left hemisphere, our left hemisphere, is a very different
place. Our left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically. Our left hemisphere is all about the
past and it's all about the future. Our left hemisphere is designed to take that enormous collage of
the present moment and start picking out details, and more details about those details.

III. Whats one of the primary functions of the corpus callosum?

A It facilitates communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain

B It enables us to process idiomatic linguistic expressions, like Whats shakin, bacon?

C It produces cerebrospinal fluid

D It functions as a kind of compass inside the hippocampus

IV. In the hours immediately following Taylors stroke, she had a number of different reactions to her

situation. Did any of them surprise you? Why or why not?

V. On the morning of her stroke, what did Taylor notice about her arm?
A It was tingling

B It was paralyzed

C She couldnt distinguish its boundaries from the surrounding environment

D B and C

E A and B

VI. What motivated Taylor to recover? What thing(s) would motivate you in a similar situation?
And I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew
that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to
the right of their left hemispheres -- and find this peace. And then I realized what a tremendous
gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be to how we live our lives. And
it motivated me to recover.

VII. What happened when Taylor tried to use the telephone to call for help?
A She couldnt form intelligible words

B She couldnt recognize letters or numbers

C It took several attempts to complete the number because she had to use her chin to dial

D A and B

E A and C

VIII. How long was her recovery?

A Eight months

B Eight years

C Six weeks in the hospital, then two years of outpatient therapy

D She still hasnt fully recovered


What are some characteristics of your personality?

What makes you happy?
What are some things that make you angry?
Are you happy with your personality?
Would you like to be different?
Do you think you can change a major characteristic of your personality if you try?
Is Nirvana possible here on Earth?
What stresses you out the most?
What do you do to get rid of these stressors or to give yourself a break from feeling stressed.