So, having skimmed some studies on split-brain patients, it makes me wonder about the whole "left-brain/right-brain" dichotomy that made its rounds in public perception some time ago.

I'm not sure how much of that is really good science, but it looks like there's some real truth to the different sides taking on different roles and cognitive abilities.

One thing in particular I wonder about now, is can you map Carl Jung's concept of Anima (I'll refer to the Anima, but what I have to say applies to Animus, as well) onto the right half of the brain?

Jung's idea of Anima was essentially the male brain's mental image of "the typical woman". Thus it would posses typically feminine traits.

Since the right half of the brain is associated with creativity, emotional response to (ie, recognizing) faces, and is more typically "feminine", would it be possible to devise an experiment with MRI to see if invoking the anima fires more neural activity on the right half of the brain?

Say, have a subject describe "the typical woman" and watch activity, have them describe "the typical man" and some other controls to also invoke creativity and see how the neural activity compares? See if when men don a dress, their right-brain fires more activity than if they just don any other unfamiliar clothing (a hospital gown or a robe are gender-neutral but may also be unfamiliar enough to control for that part alone)?

It's a very roundabout way of asking, but hopefully the questions kind of highlight the underlying question;

in terms of Jungian Psychology, is it reasonable to hypothesize that you could split the hemispheres of the brain into "persona" and "Anima" as "left" and "right"? (and perhaps reversed for Persona and Animus)

The interesting thing is that this leads to a testable hypothesis perhaps some people here already know the answer to: Is there any link between gender dysphoria and right-brain dominance? If there is, that would seem to support that hypothesis that the left hemisphere generally takes the masculine identity and the right houses the Anima (in general, though I would expect if the Anima exists as a largely separate neural network (or combined set of networks) that it would probably at least share a little activity on the left hemisphere).

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    $\begingroup$ Though I would personally like to see questions about Jung closed on this forum as pseudoscience, others may wish to provide an answer. In any case, it should be noted that most of Jung's theories are not scientific and long obsolete. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 21:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg but surely you wouldn't mind questions about neurology? Perhaps it'd be better to regard Jung's work as more of a description of observed patterns in a very complex system than to disregard them as pseudoscience. After all, there are reasons he made the claims he did, and more than one way to describe a system as complicated as the brain. $\endgroup$
    – M Rob
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. One thing I think you need to do with your question is to provide links and references to info for further reading such as info on Jung's Anima and Animus. Even if it is just a wikipedia link. Also links and references to back claims made. Otherwise the question could be closed as off-topic for lack of motivation. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with Chris. Links and references would be useful; your question should allow people to see where you are coming from. I am uncomfortable with the pseudoscience attack - sadly cognitive psychology is not that much more scientific. And nowhere Rob has called Jungian psychology a science. $\endgroup$
    – r0berts
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


Perhaps a more useful way of looking at these concepts is to consider anima in terms of the hindbrain, which takes sensory inputs from both the body and external stimuli and creates a virtual model strongly colored by memories ( with associated feelings) and our conditioning. This model is then "presented" to the forebrain as images + feelings. Animus could be seen then as associated with the forebrain, which analyzes this information and determines what actions to take.

However, such a way of thinking degenderizes the concepts, so won't support your hypothesis.

Solms and Turnbull have written about the neuroscience (Solms & Turnbull 2011) [among others], and James Hillman's "Anima: An Anatomy of a Personified Notion" is a good source on anima and animus. Hillman agrees that psychology should not pretend to be an objective science as the realm of the psyche eludes traditional methods of scientific study.


Solms, M., & Turnbull, O. H. (2011). What is neuropsychoanalysis?.  Neuropsychoanalysis, 13(2), 133-145. DOI: 10.1080/15294145.2011.10773670 [Free PDF Available]

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    $\begingroup$ Solms and Turnbull have written about the neuroscience (among others); James Hillman's "Anima: An Anatomy of a Personified Notion" is a good source on anima and animus. Hillman agrees that psychology should not pretend to be an objective science as the realm of the psyche eludes traditional methods of scientific study. $\endgroup$
    – Jody Bower
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 16:11

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